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The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) educational system is accredited by the Tennessee Department of Education.  A team of dedicated, highly qualified teachers who hold valid Tennessee teacher’s licenses, some of whom are also certified and licensed by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), provide instruction for offenders in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Career and Technical Education (CTE).  The Commissioner serves as the Superintendent of the system, supported by the Education staff in TDOC Central Office.

The TDOC school system provides students with comprehensive academic programs, career and technical programs, college programs (in partnership with THEI and Lipscomb University), and library services.  The Adult Basic Education program improves the competency of offenders in basic learning skills and general literacy and numeracy levels, as well as preparing offenders for successful completion of studies to earn a high school equivalency diploma.  The Career and Technical program identifies occupational aptitudes of offenders and teaches skills and techniques for mastery in trade and craft fields of expertise.

All facilities offer Adult Basic Education and high school equivalency test preparation.  Career and Technical Education is offered in 12 of 14 facilities with courses in craft and trade fields of expertise including: Automotive Mechanical Technology, Barbering, Carpentry, Cosmetology, Construction, Culinary Arts, HVAC & Refrigeration, Landscaping/Horticulture/Groundskeeping, Small Engine Technology, Masonry, Plumbing, and Welding. In addition, offenders have the opportunity to participate in the Career Management for Success (CMS) class.  CMS classes are 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral instruction presented in a real-world context, emphasizing the basic practical skills and knowledge students will need for successful reintegration into society.  All career and technical programs follow a curriculum approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and provide a Department of Education certificate upon completion.  College programs leading to a general education certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree are offered at two male facilities and one female facility.

Each facility maintains a library which provides access to leisure reading materials, including fiction and non-fiction books, and magazine and newspaper subscriptions; audiovisual equipment; academic and career and technical material; and personal enhancement reference materials.  The libraries also maintain the necessary legal volumes required by federal and state laws and TDOC policy.

Tests for qualification to take the high school equivalency exam and tests for offenders to show mastery for industry certification are administered regularly in TDOC facilities; a description of all tests administered may be found here.


  HSE Certificates CTE Certificates
2015-2016 499  
2014-2015 329  
2013-2014 365  
2012-2013 618 3,672
2011-2012 652 3,869*
2010-2011 806 1,476
2009-2010 710 1,585
2008-2009 727 1,468
2007-2008 786 1,342

*This number increased due to the addition of a 12-week Introduction to Career Management For Success/Release For Success class.

Duplicate copies of a diploma may be requested at