How to Become a Teacher in Virginia
If you’ve been considering a career in education, now is the perfect time to turn that dream into a reality. According to the Virginia Department of Education, there’s a significant teacher shortage, with nearly 4000 vacant positions across the state as of 2023.
Virginia’s classrooms need dedicated educators who can contribute to personalized learning and community engagement. Before you can ignite young minds and make a lasting difference, there are a few hurdles to clear:
- Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
- Complete an Accredited Educator Program
- Pass Required Assessments
- Apply for Teaching Certification
This article will help you navigate these steps. We’ll walk you through each requirement, helping you obtain your teaching certification and set yourself up for a fulfilling career.
So why wait? The Commonwealth of Virginia needs educators like you. Read on to learn how to take the first steps toward nurturing the next generation of learners!
Get Your Virginia Teacher Certification
Becoming a teacher in Virginia requires obtaining a state-issued teaching certification. The journey to certification consists of multiple stages, each designed to prepare you for the diverse challenges you’ll face in the classroom.
By committing yourself to this rewarding yet demanding path, you pave the way for a fulfilling career that can make a genuine difference in the lives of your future students.
1. Meet Educational Background Requirements
The first critical step toward becoming a teacher in Virginia is obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Virginia mandates that you maintain a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher as part of the qualification process.
If you’ve already earned a graduate degree, the GPA requirement shifts upward, and you’ll need to keep a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Meeting these educational standards is crucial for advancing your journey to teaching in Virginia.
2. Complete a Teacher Certification Program
Once you have your Bachelor’s degree, the next step is enrolling in a state-approved teacher education program. Virginia offers a comprehensive list of approved educator preparation programs that have received regional accreditation and have undergone state approval.
When choosing a program, selecting one that has been recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) may be beneficial.
While CAEP accreditation is not a strict requirement for Virginia teacher certification programs, it is a sign of curriculum excellence and comprehensive teacher preparation, making it a wise choice for future educators.
3. Pass Required Tests
After completing your educator preparation program, you’ll need to embark on writing and passing competency exams. Virginia requires aspiring teachers to take and pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test, which evaluates basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills.
Also, you will also be required to pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test, which assesses your teaching methodologies and classroom leadership capabilities.
Finally, you must pass content-specific exams for your chosen teaching field or endorsement areas. These exams, known as the Praxis Subject Assessments, are tailored to ensure you have the expertise required to effectively teach your subject area.
By fulfilling these requirements and passing the necessary exams, you affirm that you are well-prepared and qualified to enter Virginia’s education system as a certified teacher.
Renewing Your Teaching Certification
Here’s everything you need to know for renewing your teaching certification in Virginia:
1. Application Form
Begin by obtaining the Application for Renewal form from the Appendices of the Virginia Licensure Renewal Manual. Fill out all questions on the form, sign and date it, and don’t forget to notify the Department of Teacher Education and Licensure in writing if your mailing address changes.
2. Nonrefundable Application Fee
Next, pay a $50 nonrefundable fee via money order, certified check, cashiers check, or personal check payable to Virginia’s Treasurer. You can also pay online via the “Pay Now” feature on the Office of Licensure website and print your receipt.
3. Professional Development Points
You must obtain 180 professional development points (or 270 for a ten-year license). These must align with one or more of the six professional competency domains mentioned in the Manual’s “Summary of Eight Renewal Options” section. Also, if you’re not employed in a Virginia educational agency and unsure about an activity, submit a request for pre-approval by mail.
4. Child Abuse and Neglect Recognition Training
In addition, you’ll need to complete training on child abuse and neglect recognition and intervention. Include a copy of the certificate verifying completion in your application packet.
5. Emergency First Aid, CPR, and AED Training
You must also obtain certification or training in CPR, and the use of AEDs. Submit the official documentation verifying that all three components were included in the activity.
6. Dyslexia Awareness Training
You will need to complete a dyslexia awareness training with an accompanying certificate of completion.
7. Special Education Training
You must complete two free online modules on the instruction of students with disabilities provided by the Virginia Department of Education Office of Special Education and Student Services. Print certificates of completion for verification.
8. Send Off Your Application
If you’re employed in a Virginia public school or accredited nonpublic school, submit your application and documents to your employing educational agency. If not, send all documents to the Department of Teacher Education and Licensure, Virginia Department of Education, PO Box 2120, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120.
Becoming a teacher is an advantageous career choice! By following the steps above, you’ll be on your way to renewing your teaching certification in Virginia.
Teaching Careers in Virginia
Teaching in Virginia is an excellent and rewarding career choice, with plenty of opportunities to significantly contribute to students’ lives. With average starting salaries over $42,000 that can go up to as much as $52,000 depending on certifications and location, it’s also a financially sound decision.
If you’re looking for a quicker path into the profession, iteach is an alternative certification program designed specifically for modern educators who want high-quality training without breaking the bank.
Additionally, iteach meets all of Virginia’s licensure requirements so you can feel confident that you’ll be prepared to take on your new role from day one. So if you have a bachelor’s degree and are ready to take the plunge into teaching, Virginia is waiting for your dedication, enthusiasm, and unique perspective.
Now is the time to start this fulfilling journey that will touch countless lives.
Frequently Asked Questions About Alternative Teacher Certification
1. How do I get a teaching certification in Virginia?
To get a teaching certification in Virginia, you must meet the state’s educational background requirements, complete an accredited educator preparation program, pass the required assessments, and apply for teaching certification through the Virginia Department of Education.
Your first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Additionally, Virginia stipulates that you maintain a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher. If you already hold a graduate degree, the minimum GPA requirement increases to 3.0 or higher. Once you’ve met the educational background requirements, enrolling in a state-approved teacher education program is next. While not a strict requirement, choosing a program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is a recommended best practice.
After completing your educator preparation program, you must pass tests to validate your teaching competencies. The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test assesses basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. You’ll also need to take and pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test, which measures your grasp of teaching methodologies and classroom leadership. Additionally, you’ll take content-specific exams, known as the Praxis Subject Assessments, to certify your expertise in your chosen teaching field.
Finally, you can apply for your teaching certification through the Virginia Department of Education, thus setting yourself up for a fulfilling career in education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. How long does it take to get teacher certification in Virginia?
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can typically complete an accredited educator preparation program in Virginia in about 12 to 16 months. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, it takes about five years on average to become a certified teacher in Virginia, which includes the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree and complete an educator preparation program.
Lastly, alternative teacher certification programs like iteach are designed to meet all of Virginia’s licensure requirements and offer a streamlined path to certification within this timeframe.
3. What is the fastest way to become a teacher in Virginia?
The fastest way to become a teacher in Virginia is through alternative certification programs like iteach. Designed for individuals with bachelor’s degrees, iteach offers a streamlined, high-quality training program that meets all of Virginia’s licensure requirements. Additionally, this allows you to complete the certification process in as little as 12 to 16 months, enabling you to transition into a teaching career quickly.
4. Can you become a teacher in Virginia without a degree in education?
Yes, you can become a teacher in Virginia without a degree in education by completing an alternative teacher certification program.
In Virginia, if you have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution but not in education, you can enroll in a state-approved alternative certification program like iteach. Such programs train you in teaching methodologies and subject-specific content, preparing you for the required state exams like the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test and the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test. Lastly, upon successful completion and passing the necessary exams, you will be recommended for certification, allowing you to teach in Virginia schools.
5. How long does my teacher certification last in Virginia?
In Virginia, your initial teaching certification is valid for five years. During this time, you must meet to meet ongoing professional development requirements to renew your certification. The renewal process involves obtaining professional development points, including additional training in child abuse and neglect recognition, emergency first aid, and special education. Once you’ve met these criteria, you can apply for renewal to continue teaching in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
6. How do I renew my teacher certification in Virginia?
To renew your Virginia teacher certification, complete 180 professional development points, submit an online renewal application through the Virginia Department of Education and pay the associated renewal fee.
In Virginia, renewal requirements include accumulating 180 professional development points over the five-year validity period of your initial certificate. Also, you can earn these points through professional activities like workshops, conferences, or additional coursework. Also, you must meet certain training mandates, such as child abuse and neglect recognition, emergency first aid, and, potentially, specialized training in special education. Once you’ve met these requirements, you can submit an online renewal application through the Virginia Department of Education’s website and pay the required fee. The renewal process may include verification that you have met all renewal requirements. In addition, failing to renew your certificate by the expiration date will make it inactive, but you can renew it even after it has reached that status.
7. Can I teach in Virginia without certification?
In Virginia, you can teach without traditional certification through alternative programs like iteach Virginia, which requires a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA of 2.50.
To be eligible for iteach Virginia, you need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. If your degree is from outside the U.S., it must be evaluated for U.S. equivalency. Additionally, the program requires a minimum GPA of 2.50, either overall or in the last 60 hours of coursework. Additional program-specific tasks like completing the TCVA5000 course and maintaining professional communication are also required.
8. Can I take more than a year to complete a Virginia alternative certification program?
You can take more than a year to complete most Virginia alternative teacher certification programs if the need arises. In Virginia, the Board of Education will extend a teacher’s three-year provisional license for at least one more year but no more than two additional years. This applies to teachers employed in public schools, accredited nonpublic schools, and schools for students with disabilities. So, if you’re in an alternative teacher certification program, you do have the option for an extension, subject to certain conditions.
9. How do I get approved to teach in Virginia if I have a teaching certificate from another state?
If you already have a teaching certificate from another state, you could be eligible for a Virginia teaching license under the reciprocity agreement. Additionally, you must have finished a state-approved teacher preparation program in your original state to qualify. Once you’ve met these criteria, you can apply for a Virginia teaching license in one or more comparable endorsement areas.