Special Education Opportunities at UTC

Financial Support for Future Special Education Teachers

Good news for persons interested in becoming special education teachers!

Like most states, Tennessee has too few special education teachers. Moreover, in 2001, the Southern Regional Board found that special education is a critical area in Tennessee's educational system not only because at present Tennessee has too few special education teachers, but also because it is projecting a growth in the number of its students with disabilities over the next decade. Although a teacher shortage is not good news for Tennessee and its students, it is good news for those seeking a career in this rewarding field. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Education, Division of Special Education, offers a program, BASE-TN, which supports persons seeking licensure in special education to teach in the state of Tennessee.


The central purpose of the Become A Special Educator in Tennessee is to support persons who currently are working in other fields or careers and who meet the eligibility requirements to pursue licensure or endorsement in special education. Some of these persons may be teachers in areas other than special education, but many come from outside the educational world. A second purpose of BASE-TN is to support persons employed as instructional assistants in special education classrooms and who already have two years or more of college coursework towards special education to complete coursework for licensure.
BASE-TN provides financial support in the form of tuition remission and books for either part-time or full-time study. This financial support involves a commitment to serve students with disabilities (ages birth through twenty one) in a Tennessee public school for two years for each academic year of support received.

  • Eligible applicants include graduate and post-baccalaureate students who have been admitted to UTC and who are pursuing licensure or endorsement in special education and undergraduate students working as classroom aides who have been admitted to UTC and who have at least two years of coursework towards a degree in exceptional learning.
  • Applications and assistance are available from

Dr. Barbara Ray 
301C Hunter Hall 
(423) 425-4538  
Fax number: (423) 425-5380  
Mailing address for Dr. Ray;  
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga  
615 McCallie Ave.   Chattanooga, TN 3740

  • Applications must be accompanied by
    • A copy of your letter of acceptance to graduate or undergraduate school at UTC
    • Your official college transcripts
    • Four letters of recommendation
    • Your program of study
    • A letter stating your intent to teach in Tennessee
    • A copy of your letter of acceptance to TEP (if previously accepted)
  • The deadline for application is June 20, 2009 for Fall 2009, November 10, 2009 for Spring 2010, April 9th, 2010 for Summer 2010 and June 18, 2010 for Fall 2010. Applications may be submitted to Dr. Ray. Applicants will be notified of acceptance status prior to the beginning of the semester. Accepted applicants will be required to complete a Student Service Agreement Form indicating their agreement to teach for two years in Tennessee public schools for each academic year (equivalent to 30 hours) of support under BASE-TN.