FAQ for Educators

Professional Development Points (PDPs)

Educator Licensure Policy 5.502 describes the use of professional development points (PDPs) for educator licensure advancement or renewal. Once educators staffed in a Tennessee public school enter their PDPs into TNCompass, appropriate district staff approve or deny PDPs based on state guidelines. If an educator is not staffed in a Tennessee public school at the time of application, the Department will review all PDP submissions.

In most cases, professional development activities result in issuance of a certificate of completion that is then submitted for PDPs.  Educators who complete qualifying activities that do not provide certificates of completion for documentation purposes may have the PDP Verification Form completed to meet this requirement.”.

Earning PDPs

To earn PDPs, an activity must be related to improving educator effectiveness by:

  1. developing content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, or pedagogical content knowledge;
    2. enhancing educator effectiveness (e.g., world language courses for those working with students for whom English is a second language, or coursework that supports understanding and use of data); or
    3. developing competency in student social and emotional health and well-being.

The following table provides information about how PDPs may be earned and identifies acceptable PDP options, number of PDPs awarded, and required documentation.

Option PDPs Awarded Required Documentation
Professional Learning 1 clock hour = 1 PDP
Certificate, transcript, or verification
signed by the director of schools (or designee)
Professional Learning 1 micro-credential earned = 6 PDPs Digital certificate provided by the micro-credentials provider
Continuing Education 1 continuing education unit (CEU) =
5 PDPs
Certificate or transcript
1 semester hour credit = 10 PDPs or 1 semester credit hour audited = 5 PDPs   Official Transcript
Overall level of effectiveness rating (approved TN model) Overall Score of 5 = 20 PDPs
Overall Score of 4 = 15 PDPs Overall Score of 3 = 10 PDPs
Information is maintained by the department. No additional documentation is required; points may be accrued annually.
LOE rating for educators employed at a priority or focus school

Overall score of 5 = 25 PDPs

Overall score of 4 = 20 PDPs

No documentation is required. Information is maintained by the Department
National Board Certification Initial Certification = 30 PDPs Renewal Certification = 15 PDPs Official documentation from the national professional board for teaching or school services.   

To be valid for renewal or advancement of a Tennessee license, PDPs must be earned during the validity period of the license. For example, if a license is valid from Sept. 1, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2021, only PDPs earned during that time can be used to renew or advance a license.

Yes, you can receive PDPs while attending learning activities for which you receive compensation as long as the activities are related to improving your effectiveness as an educator (see question 1).

Yes. If the topic of the in-service is related to improving educator effectiveness and is approved by your district, these in-service hours may be used for PDPs.

Additionally, PDPs for such activities may be awarded for school services personnel (e.g., school counselor, social worker or psychologist), provided the district determines participation in these learning activities will enhance the educator’s effectiveness based on current job duties.

No. Time spent presenting at a conference, at school or district in-services, or other learning events cannot be used to earn PDPs.

Tracking PDPs

Educators submit their own PDPs into TNCompass. Instructions are located here. PDPs only count towards renewal requirements if they involve activities that were completed during the current validity period of an active license.

PDPs earned from evaluation scores will be automatically issued in TNCompass once your level of overall effectiveness (LOE) is finalized. Sometimes this does not happen until the fall after the completed school year, so educators whose license will expire on Aug. 31 should not count on their last year of evaluation scores for PDPs to renew or advance a license. PDPs from evaluation scores must be present in TNCompass to be accepted.

PDPs submitted by educators currently staffed in TNCompass will have their PDPs approved by one of the district’s designees for approving PDPs. Districts may have their own guidelines regarding submitting PDPs and documentation in TNCompass. Please check with your district staff to see if they provide any specific PDP guidelines for district educators.

Using PDPs for Licensure

To advance to a professional license, educators must have

Educators may apply to advance the license as soon as requirements are met.

To renew a professional license, educators must either earn 60 PDPs during the validity period of their license or complete 2 years of qualifying educator experience during the current validity period.

Educators who are not currently staffed in a Tennessee public school but wish to maintain an active professional license must attain the appropriate number of PDPs or renew with 2 years of qualifying experience on the most recent validity period of their license. The educator must submit their PDPs and related documentation directly into TNCompass. The Department will review and approve these PDPs.

Educators who are currently teaching in a private or charter school that does not use a state-approved evaluation model submit their PDPs and related documentation directly into TNCompass. The department will review and approve these PDPs.

Different PDPs require different documentation. Please see the table under Earning PDPs for a complete listing of required documentation. Educators may also use the PDP Verification Form to document eligible activities for which a certificate of completion has not been made available

Administrators in a TASL-mandated positions or serving as directors of schools may use this experience in lieu of submitting PDPs to renew their professional teaching or school services personnel license.

When submitting the application in TNCompass, educators should indicate in the Submission Notes section that they are serving in a TASL-mandated position.

Educators with an active administrator license who are not in a TASL-mandated position must meet all renewal requirements for any other licenses held. See Licensed Educators (tn.gov) for more information.

For more information or with questions, contact Educator.Licensure@tn.gov .