The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) educational system is approved by the Tennessee Department of Education.  TDOC School District's Adult Education Program includes three educational career paths that helps students get the essential skills and credentials they need to be productive workers, family members, and citizens.  TDOC provides Adult Basic Education (ABE), Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Post-Secondary Education (PSE), along with library services at each of the state correctional facilities.   Exemplary instructions are led by a team of dedicated, highly qualified instructors 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).  The mission is to provide students with education and career training as part of the broader effort to include public safety and impact recidivism.

Adult Basic Education (ABE)

Adult Basic Education (ABE) is designed to serve students in improving their basic skills in reading, mathematics, writing, social studies, and science in preparation of taking the high school equivalency exam.  To advance or promote from one level to the next, students must show competence of the College and Career Readiness Standards and/or achievement of an applicable Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) score.  As students 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 student as a prerequisite for taking the state recognized High School Equivalency (HSE) test.

Assessments Administered:

  • Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) is used to determine the initial placement of each student 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 five-part practice test used in the process 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 students to show they have the same academic knowledge and skills as a high school graduate.

Career Technical Education (CTE)

Career Technical Education (CTE) is a post-secondary program that offers rigorous and relevant instruction to prepare individuals for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers.  For CTE and post-secondary programs, students mut have a high school diploma or equivalency, except for Career Eploration and Career Management for Success.  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:

Automotive Mechanical Technology
Carpentry Core and Phases I & II
Computer Aided Design and Drafting
Computer Applications and Literacy
Construction Core
Electrical Core and Phases I & II
Foundation of Culinary Arts Phases I, II, & III
HVAC and Refrigeration Core and Phases I & II
Landscaping/Horticulture/Grounds Keeping
Leisure Craft/Small Engine Technology
Masonry Core and Phases I & II
Painting Core, Phases I & II
Plumbing Core and Phases I & II

*CTE Courses of Instruction, Non-Post-Secondary:
Career Exploration
Career Management for Success


Post-Secondary Education

TDOC’s Post-Secondary Education is committed to providing and promoting a full landscape of educational opportunities to incarcerated students in Tennessee.  Post-Secondary Education empowers every Tennessee incarcerated student with the opportunity to attain their educational goals and realize their academic and career potential.  Post-secondary educational opportunities currently exist in four male facilities and two female facilities with plan for expansion.

As part of this initiative, the TDOC Post-Secondary Education Liaison works collaboratively with organizations who support equity and excellence in education. Current partnerships include but are not limited to:

Universities and Colleges

• Austin Peay State University
• Belmont University
• Carson-Newman University
• Chattanooga State Community College
• Dyersburg State Community College
• Lane College
• Lipscomb University
• Nashville State Community College
• Northeast State Community College
• Rhodes College
• Roane State Community College
• Tennessee College of Applied Technology

State and Local Organizations

• Reentry Services
• Tennessee Board of Regents
• Tennessee Higher Education Initiative
• Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
• Tennessee Higher Education Commission

Through these partnerships, the TDOC Post-Secondary Education Liaison works to ensure a quality education is delivered and incarcerated students are enrolled in degree and certification pathways that will provide credit-bearing courses, programs, or certifications.  Additionally, TDOC encourages program offerings that are responsive to community and industry needs and that prepare incarcerated students to obtain educational and career goals.   Currently, general education certificates, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and industry certifications are awarded or conferred.

Essential to student success and academic achievement, Post-Secondary Education ensures current programs have advising and support service models of care that are student-centered and meet the unique needs of incarcerated students or students who have been released.

Post-Secondary Education further advances this initiative by building workforce capacity through recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce of trained faculty, staff and correctional professionals.


A library, maintained in each state correctional 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.

Duplicate copies of a diploma may be requested at or by calling 855-313-5799.