We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Teacher Tenure?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Teacher tenure varies by region but generally guarantees that an educator cannot be fired without just cause. Some elementary and high school teachers gain tenure after working a predetermined number of years for a school district. At the college level, instructors or professors might earn academic tenure or permanent tenure. Academic tenure guarantees promotion opportunities and protects faculty from unwarranted lay-off or sanctions. Permanent teacher tenure preserves a job for life.

The number of years an educator must work for a school district before he or she earns teacher tenure varies by region. In the United States, each school district sets requirements for teacher tenure during formal negotiations with teacher union representatives. Teachers who work in some areas might earn tenure in as little as two years after serving a probationary period.

Academic tenure might require a longer probationary period as an educator applies for promotion at a university. Generally, faculty members start off as instructors before they come under consideration for teacher tenure. Instructors commonly undergo regular performance reviews before they are re-appointed to their position as a probationary employee.

It takes eight to 10 years before university administrators make a decision on tenure in some areas. An educator typically moves up as an assistant professor and associate professor before earning the title of professor. As a professor, the educator typically has permanent tenure.

This means a professor cannot be fired except under extraordinary circumstances. He or she enjoys job security until retirement, resignation, or death. Contracts in most areas provide exceptions to lifetime teacher tenure for incompetence or neglect of duty. A professor might also be terminated for misconduct or unethical or criminal behavior.

Typically, a teacher who has tenure is given preference over educators who are probationary employees if layoffs are necessary. This is referred to as a reduction in force prompted by declining enrollment or other factors. Some school districts opt to offer buyouts to poorly performing teachers or teachers nearing retirement age to avoid due process procedures spelled out in teacher tenure contracts.

Typical union contracts between teachers and school districts provide protections to educators who face dismissal for poor performance. They are usually entitled to a hearing before the union and school district officials, and the hearing may sometimes be held in court. Some regions eliminated tenure guarantees in contracts by tying job security to student test scores. These provisions often include rehabilitation for ineffective teachers.

The National Education Association was formed in 1887 to provide a bargaining unit for teachers. Teacher tenure was first granted to college professors in 1910, but was extended to elementary and high school teachers in the 1920s as a result of the women's suffrage movement. Before then, a teacher could be fired for getting married, becoming pregnant, or wearing pants to work.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.