The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) educational system is fully accredited by the Tennessee Department of Education to ensure the highest level of education. TDOC provides an array of academic and career technical programs, as well as library services at each of the state correctional facilities. 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 incarcerated offenders in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Career and Technical Education (CTE).
TDOC partners with Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) and Lipscomb University to offer classes at two male facilities and one female facility leading to a general education certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or master's degree. TDOC also partners with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) to provide high school equivalency testing for incarcerated individuals.
The goal is to provide incarcerated offenders with education and career training as part of the broader effort to increase public safety and reduce recidivism.
A library, maintained in each facility, provides incarcerated individuals access to leisure reading materials, including fiction and non-fiction books, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, audio visual equipment, academic, career and technical materials, personal enhancement reference materials, and necessary legal volumes required by federal and state laws and TDOC policy.
Adult Basic Education (ABE)
Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs offer incarcerated individuals opportunities to acquire academic skills through an emphasis on mathematics, language arts, writing, reading, science and social studies. Classes are specifically designed whereby teachers provide interactive, engaging, relevant and high-interest instructions aligned to the College and Career Readiness Standards. To advance or promote from one level to the next, individuals must show competence of the College and Career Readiness Standards and/or achievement of an applicable Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) score. As individuals matriculate through the ABE program levels, classes become more rigorous and an increase in the depths of knowledge is expanded. Classes are designed for the incarcerated individual as a prerequisite for taking the state recognized High School Equivalency (HSE) test.
- Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) is used to determine the initial placement of each incarcerated individual into an appropriate grade level/class and track individual performance. TABE measures reading, math and language skills.
- Official Practice Test (OPT) is a half-length 5 part practice test used in the proces of determining readiness to take the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam.
- High School Equivalency (HSE) is a five part test used in the process of issuing a high school equivalency credential. The test allows incarcerated individuals to show they have the same academic knowledge and skills as a high school graduate.
High School Equivalency and Career & Technical Education Certificates Earned
|HSE Certificates||CTE Certificates|
*This number increased due to the addition of a 12-week Introduction to Career Management For Success/Release For Success class.
**Due to the transition from GED to HiSET, there were fewer exams administered in the last of FY 2014 and the first of FY 2015.
Duplicate copies of a diploma may be requested at www.diplomasender.com or by calling 855-313-5799.
Career Technical Education (CTE)
Most Career Technical Education (CTE) programs offer the opportunity to earn National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certification by TDOC teachers who are certified to provide the required training for this industry-specific and widely recognized credential. Some programs offer the opportunity for incarcerated individuals to take state board exams for licensure in their area of specialty. Career Management for Success Programs offer cognitive behavioral instruction presented in a real-world context, emphasizing the basic practical skills and knowledge incarcerated individuals will need for successful reintegration into society.
CTE programs are aligned with a positive employment outlook within the State of Tennessee, providing industry-recognized certification and an employment pathway to a livable wage:
Adult Basic Education (ABE) is an academic program for offenders which is remedial in nature, is required for literacy training, or is a prerequisite for taking the state recognized high school equivalency test.
Automotive Mechanical Technology (AMA) provides training in current methods of serviing and repairing automobiles. Students are taught the use of manuals, the utilization of available resources to assist diagnosis and correction of auto problems, and the proper use of equipment and tools.
Phase I, II and III
Barbering I is the first level of barbering, and it prepares students with work-related skills for advancement into the Barbering II course. Content provides students the opportunity to acquire basic fundamental skills in both theory and practical applications of leadership and interpersonal skill development. Content stresses safety, environmental issues, and protection of the public and designers as integrated with principles of haircutting, skin, nails and scalp care, chemical and barbershop management. Laboratory facilities and experiences simulate those found in the barbering industry. Upon completion and acquisition of 340 hours, students are eligible to take the Tennessee Board of Barbering Examination for a Tennessee Barbering Technician License.
Barbering II is the second level of barbering and prepares students for work-related skills and advancement into Barbering III. Content provides students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in both theory and practical application. Advanced knowledge and skills in hair design, haircutting, shaving, nail care, and cosmetic applications will be enhanced in a laboratory setting, which duplicates industry standards.
Barbering III is the advanced level of barbering, and it prepares students with work-related services for employment and entrepreneurship in the barbering field. Content provides students the opportunity to acquire foundation skills in both theory and practical applications. Advanced knowledge and skills in haircutting, scalp care, chemical, and barbershop management, which duplicates barbering industry standards. Laboratory facilities and experiences will be used to simulate those found in the barbering industry. Upon completion and acquisition of 1500 hours, students are eligible to take the Tennessee Board of Barbering examination for a Tennessee Master Barbering License.
Career Exploration is an introductory course designed to assist students in (a) discovering their personal strengths and abilities, (b) understanding opportunities available to them in different career areas, and (c) practicing skills necessary to excel in the workforce and in postsecondary learning.
Career Management for Success (CMS) is a 360-hour systematic program of instruction, within the Office of Education, presented in real-world context that emphasizes the basic practical skills and knowledge needed for employment success upon release. The program prepares inmates for release and successful reintegration using a cognitive behavioral approach. Hands-on training and job-related theory within the framework is also designed to train offenders for job acquisition and retention.
Carpentry Core and Phase I prepares students for careers in residential and commercial carpentry. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and skill in framing buildings. Students will be able to frame floors, walls, ceilings, roofs, and stairs while safely employing tools and interpreting construction drawings to complete projects. Emphasis is placed on demonstrating proper measurement and application of mathematical concepts.
Carpentry II is an advanced level course that builds on the skills learned in Carpentry Core and Phase I. This course will explore advanced framing, the physics of structural loads, and the coverings and finishes of structural systems. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to install interior and exterior finishing, including roofing, siding, termal and moisture protection components, drywall, doors and trim. Throughout the course, student will interpret construction drawings to complete projects, implementing material estimating procedures and safe working practices. Standards in thie course also expand on principles of the construction industry and delve deeper into business and project management strategies.
Computer-Aided Design & Drafting (CAD) is a subfield of engineering which deals with the design and drafting of objects and materials throughtheuse of specialized software that visualizes designs as modular 3D computer models. CAD is being used to design and create products such as that from the aeronautical industry, architectural industry, civil industry, electronic industry and just about any industry or field which requires detailed design of hardware and structures. Drafters are tasked to prepare technical drawings, models, and plans which are used by construction and production workers to build everything from manufactured consumer goods, industrial machinery, space and aircraft, to structures such as houses, office buildings, or gaas and oil pipelines.
Computer Applications and Literacy is a foundational course intended to teach students the computing fundamentals and concepts involved in the use of common software applications. Upon completion of this course, students will gain basic proficiency in word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentations. In addition, students will have engaged in key critical thinking skills and will have practiced ethical and appropriate behavior required for the responsible use of technology.
Construction Core is a foundational course in the architecture and construction cluster covering essential knowledge, skills, and concepts required for careers in construction. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to describe various construction fields and outline the steps necessary to advance in specific construction careers. Students will be able to employ tools safely and interpret construction drawings to complete projects demonstrating proper measurement and application of mathematical concepts. Standards in this course also include an overview of the construction industry and an introduction to building systems and mateirals.
Cosmetology is designed to prepare students for careers within the personal care industry, including hairstylist, colorist, and nail technician. The courses in the program of study cover the safety procedures in salon environments, principles of hair design, nail structures, and chemistry of color application. Students may acquire hours to transfer to a post secondary institution to complete the requirements needed to be eligible to take the Tennessee State Board of Cosmetology examination for a Tennessee Cosmetology licents. Students will be able to take the Tennessee State Board of Cosmetology examination for a Tennessee cosmetology license while incarcerated.
Culinary Arts Phase I prepares students for gainful employment and/or entry into post secondary education in the food production and service industry. It is designed to introduce students to food preparation concepts, terminology and practices in the modern commercial kitchen, the content provides student with the opportunity to acquire marketable skills by examining both the industry and its career opportunities and by developing food preparation and servie and interpersonal skills. Fundamental techniques and skills are taught with an emphasis on safety, sanitation, and proper equipment operation and maintenance. Laboratory facilities and experiences, which stimulate commercial food production and service operations, offer school-based learning opportunities.
Phase II prepares students for gainful employment and/or entry into post secondary education in the food production and service industry. Content provides students for opportunity to acquire marketable skills by demonstrating the principles of safety and sanitation, food preparation skills, teamwork to manage an environment conducive to quality food production and services operations, and offers school-based and work-based learning opportunities.
Phase III serves as a capstone course. It, too, prepares students for gainful employment and/or entry into post secondary education in the food production and service industry. Content provides students the opportunity to apply the marketable culinary arts skill they have acquired by assuming increasingly responsible positions, including participation i a cooperative education experience.
Electrical Core, Phase I and Phase II prepares students for careers as electricians across a variety of residential and commercial environments. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to implement safety procedures and tools to perform operations with device boxes, conduit, raceway systems conductors, and cable. Students will read and interpret the National Electrical Code, drawings, specifications, and diagrams to determine materials and procedures needed to complete a project. Students will calculate residential loads to recommend electrical hardware. Standards in this course also introduce basic troubleshooting procedures and power systems, and expand on principles of the construction industry, delving deeper into business and project management.
HVAC and Refrigeration Core, Phase I, and Phase II prepares students for careers in residential and commercial heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and skill in performing basic operations with HVAC systems, with emphasis on safety, tools, and equipment specific to HVAC. In addition, students will be able to explain the functions and components of heating, cooling, and air distribution systems. They will demonstrate basic techniquesto prepare piping and tubing for HVAC systems including performing soldering and brazing. Students will understand proper refrigerant management in preparation for EPA Section 608 Technician Certification. They will read and interpret drawings, specifications, and diagrams to determine materials needed to complete an HVAC project. Standards in this course also introduct basic troubleshooting and maintenance procedures and alternate power systems, and expand on principles of the construction industry, delving deeper into business and project management.
Landscaping and Turf Science is an applied course designed to provide challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed for further education and careers in landscape design, maintenance, and turf management. Content includes site analysis and planning, principles of design, and plant selection and care techniques. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be prepared to pursue advanced study of Landscaping and Turf Science at a post secondary institution.
Horticulture Science prepares students for future careers in the management of greenhouse operations, horticulture production, landscape design and maintenance, and turf managment. Content covered includes principles of plant health, growth, reproduction, and biotechnology, principles of hydroponics and aquaponics, greenhouse structions, growing media, site analysis and planning, principles of design, and plant selection and care techniques. Upon completion, students will be prepared to pursue careers or further study in the Horticulture Science.
Leisure Craft/Small Engine Technology provides students with a working knowledge of the basic operation of small engines; understanding of technical terms, tools, and safe work methods associated with small engines; how to idenitfy the parts of a typical small engine; the theory and operation of the cooling, lubrication, and fuel of a typical small engine, how to disassemble, rebuild, and reassemble a typical two-stroke and four-stroke engine; and how to identify the types of drive trains found in outdoor power equipment and summarize how to service lawn and riding mowers, as well as garden tractors.
Masonry Core and Phase I prepares students for careers in modern masonry. Upon completion of this course students will be able to describe the materials and methods used in modern masonry, distinguish between masonry units made of clay products (i.e. brick) and masonry units made of concrete (i.e. block), analyzing the composition and structure of common units. Differentiate between the types of masonry construction, such as solid masonry walls, cavity walls, and veneer walls, citing examples of when each is used. Apply the knowledge to examine two different masonry constructions found in the school or community. Create a visual display with supporting text comparing the composition and construction method of each.
Masonry Phase II prepares students to describe and demonstrate the procedures and techniques of basic brick laying, including preparing mortar, laying a mortar bed, and laying bricks. Apply the appropriate tools, equipment, and procedures to safely mix mortar and properly use a trowel to spread and furrow bed joints and butter head joints.
Painting I and II prepares students for careers in painting across a variety of residential and commercial setting. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to implement job site and surface preparation (e.g. cleaning, plastering, caulking, sealing), proper primer application, deriving colors and textures, as well as decorative and faux finishes, and aesthetic enhancement through stippling, sponging, distressing, and color blocking. Students will study how to select the appropriate tools and materials for a specific property or structure, develop an understanding of color theory and schemes, and are able to identify material applications for floor, wall, and ceiling coverings.
Plumbing I and II prepares students for careers in plumbing across a variety or residential and commercial settings. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will be able to implement safety procedures and tools to perform operations with plumbing systems. Students will be able to explain how drain, waste, and vent systems, water distribution systems, and plumbing fixtures work and apply proper tools and procedures to perform operations with plumbing piping, including measuring, cutting, joining, supporting, and hanging various types of pipe. Students will read and interpret drawings, specifications, and diagrams to determine materials needed to complete a plumbing project. Standards in this course also introduce basic maintenance and troubleshooting procedures and expand on principles of the construction industry, delving deeper into business and project management.
Welding is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge to effectively perform cutting and welding applications used in the advanced manufacturing industry. Proficient students will develop in fundamental safety practices in welding, interpreting drawings, creating computer-aided drawings, identifying and using joint designs, efficiently laying out parts for fabrication, basic shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), and mechanical and thermal properties of metals, and quality control. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will understand the requirements to pursue the American Welding Society (AWS) Entry Welder qualification and examination and will be prepared to undertake more advanced welding coursework.