Apply for a New Administrator License

The department issues the Instructional Leadership License, the Aspiring (ILL-A) and the Beginning (ILL-B), to educators seeking to become administrators.

Requirements for the ILL-A

The ILL-A is issued to an educator who is admitted to and enrolled in a Tennessee college/university Leadership Program and a Tennessee school system wishes to employ them as an assistant principal while they are still completing the program. Once the educator completes the Leadership Program, they are advanced to the ILL-B license.

To earn the ILL-A, educators must meet the following requirements:

  • After September 15, 2009, enrolled in an approved graduate program in school leadership at a Tennessee college/university with acceptable accreditation
  • Hold a valid Tennessee educator license
  • Have a minimum of three years of successful education work experience

Requirements for the ILL-B

To earn the ILL-B, educators must meet the following requirements:

  • After September 15, 2009, enrolled in and complete an approved graduate program in school leadership at a Tennessee college/university with acceptable accreditation
  • Hold a valid Tennessee educator license
  • Have a minimum of three years of successful education work experience

The BAL is no longer issued as an initial license. However, educators who hold a BAL license can renew it. After 2015, a BAL license will be converted to the ILL-B license.

Restrictions on Out-of-State Administrator Licensing Programs

The following text was approved for the "Tennessee Learning Centered Leadership" Policy at the October 29, 2010 State Board of Education meeting:

Those holding or earning administrator credentials from another state issued after July 1, 2011 may be granted a Tennessee administrator credential if the person seeking the credential has demonstrated at least three years of successful school leadership within the last ten years, OR are recommended directly from a Tennessee Institution of Higher Education (IHE) with an approved leadership program.

Other states may make application to the State Board of Education (TN) for recognition of their credential in Tennessee. States making application must show significant alignment to the State Board of Education's 'Learning-Centered Leadership Policy'.

Point of clarification: Non-licensure candidates completing advanced degrees in school administration for salary supplement purposes (only) can still use regionally accredited out-of-state/online programs for that purpose. (After July 1, 2012, they cannot obtain the license, but they can be credited with the degree.)

Application Process

  1. Download and complete the application.The signature of the Dean of Education and Certification Officer for the Tennessee college/university is required on the application form for both the ILL-A license and the ILL-B license.
  2. For ILL-A only: Obtain a signature of superintendent/Director of Schools.
  3. Mail the ILL-A application to the address below.
  4. Mail the ILL-B application along with required Praxis Score Reports/and official transcript(s) reflecting the courses completed for the ILL-B to the address below.

Mailing Address:

Office of Educator Licensing

Tennessee Department of Education

12th Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower

710 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN 37243-0377

Administrator License Types

  • BAL
  • ILL-A
  • ILL-B
  • PAL
  • ILL-P
  • ILL-E

The BAL was issued to educators who met the following requirements:

  • Prior to September 15, 2011, completed an approved graduate program in school administration at a college/university with acceptable accreditation
  • Had at least one year of successful teaching experience
  • Completed all requirements for the license prior to September 1, 2011

The BAL is no longer issued as an initial license and has been replaced by the Instructional Leadership Licenses (ILL). However, educators who hold a BAL license can renew it. After 2015, a BAL license will be converted to the ILL-B license.

The ILL-A is issued to an educator who is admitted to and enrolled in a Tennessee college/university Leadership Program and a Tennessee school system wishes to employ them as an assistant principal while they are still completing the program. Once the educator completes the Leadership Program, they are advanced to the ILL-B license.

The ILL-B is a beginning admnistrator license. Educators must meet the following requirements to earn an ILL-B.

  • After September 15, 2009, enroll in and complete an approved graduate program in school leadership at a college/university with acceptable accreditation
  • Hold a valid Tennessee teacher license
  • Have a minimum of three years of successful education work experience

The PAL is a professional-level administrator license issued to educators who have advanced from the BAL. After 2015, when the BAL license is converted to the ILL-B license, educators employed as administrators can only advance from the ILL-B license to the ILL-P.

The PAL will be phased out in 2022, and educators holding this license will have it automatically converted to the ILL-P.

The ILL-P is a professional-level administrator license. The ILL-P is earned after an educator advances from the ILL-B by fulfilling the advancement requirements.

The ILL-E is an optional level license for all educators employed as an administrator (i.e. assistant principal, principal, or instructional supervisor). The State Board of Education has not yet established the guidelines by which educators can seek advancement to the optional level license. The Exemplary level of the ILL license is envisioned to recognize an accomplished administrator who has already attained the professional level administrator license (i.e. PAL or ILL-P) and performed for a period of time as a school administrator at the exemplary level of the Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards. In addition, the educator will likely have to demonstrate leadership in and/or contributions to the development of school administrators beyond their individual school and/or school system. How this will be documented and evaluated has not been established at this time.

Last Update: June 5, 2014