Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Virginia
If you’re hoping to become a teacher in Virginia, ToBecomeATeacher.org has all the information you will need to pursue your goal. This page describes the key steps you’ll need to take to be a licensed Virginia teacher and obtain a teaching position that meets your professional expectations.
1. Choosing a Program: The first step is to find a teaching program that supports your goals.
- Even if all education programs aim to turn students into teachers, no two programs are identical. To ensure you select the program that meets your needs, it is important to ask yourself: What is important to you as a student? Are you concerned about the cost of the program? Does the program’s graduation rate or reputation matter? Are you concerned about the program’s history of job placement?
2. Planning for Licensure in Virginia: In Virginia, you will need a minimum of a bachelor degree and an appropriate post-graduate degree in education. You will also need to write and pass the state’s applicable teacher certification exams.
3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed your education and passed the state’s teacher licensure exams, you can launch your teaching career in Virginia.
- At this point, it is important to consider the type of teaching environment in which you hope to work? Are you interested in working in a city or rural community? What are your lifestyle priorities? What are your salary expectations? During this stage of the process, you should also keep developing your resume, expanding your education by engaging in professional development activities and gaining additional teaching experience (e.g., by working as a substitute teacher). When you enter the job market in Virginia, you will want to be as current as possible.
Choosing an Education Program in Virginia
Choosing the right teacher licensure program can be challenging. Because ToBecomeATeacher.org was developed by educators and for educators, we have streamlined the process. Using a complex algorithm designed with aspiring teachers’ needs in mind, we have reviewed, tested and documented top education programs across the state. Among other factors, our team has analyzed total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, and return on investment.
Every school listed below is committed to the pursuit of excellence in the teacher education field. These programs are Virginia’s very best. Find out which ones best match your own priorities by reviewing the information posted below.
Ranking Factors Explained
Our ranking data is based upon Collegescorecard.gov, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.
How to Become a Teacher in Virginia
There are 1.25 million students enrolled in the Virginia public school system. There are more than 106,000 teachers. The Virginia Department of Education has identified a number of areas where the shortage of teachers is most critical. To become a licensed educator in the state of Virginia, teachers must hold a at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, whose endorsement has been determined by a national accrediting agency or by the Virginia Board of Education, as well as complete coursework in their endorsement area(s). Earning a master’s degree in education provides teachers with more opportunities to advance their careers into positions, such as principal or administer, as well as a higher salary.
Becoming Licensed to Teach in Virginia
Applicants must pass the professional teacher assessments that are relevant to the applicant’s certification areas. This must be accomplished within the first three years of earning their initial license.
- The initial Provisional License is effective for three-years. During this time, teachers must pass the professional teacher’s assessments, which are required by the Board of Education.
- The Collegiate Professional License is good for five-years, is issued after a teacher has met all of the requirements, and is renewable.
- The Postgraduate Professional License is available to educators who have completed a graduate degree, also lasts for five-years, and is renewable.
Virginia requires that all teachers pass a Basic Skills Test, as well as Subject Area Competence assessments that are related to their specialty area(s). All applicants must take the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment, (VCLA) as well as the Praxis II test. Some authorizations also require the Praxis Series; Reading for Virginia Educators test.
In order to teach in the state of Virginia, educators must meet Virginia’s teacher certification requirements. Teachers pursuing Virginia teacher certification must complete a license application and meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program, which includes student teaching.
- Hold a valid teaching license from another state with comparable endorsements, or teaching areas.
- Teachers must be employed full time as a teacher and be under contract by a Virginia school division.
Individuals who have graduated from an accredited institution, but did not earn a bachelor’s degree in education, and who have not yet earned a teaching certificate can still earn an alternative teaching certificate by completing certain requirements. The Virginia Department of Education lists approved certification programs.
What is the Job Outlook for Teachers in Virginia?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, within the ten metropolitan areas in Virginia, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. had wages above the national average for secondary and elementary school teachers, while Winchester, Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke had wages that were significantly lower than the national average for secondary, middle, and elementary school teachers. Of the same ten metropolitan areas, the Washington (DC) area had the largest number of teaching jobs – 58,720, where secondary teachers earned $70,240, per year and elementary teacher earned $68,700, annually.
Average salaries are expected to increase for classroom teachers from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. In 2014, average teacher salary was $53,818, which is a median salary for all states. The average classroom teacher salary for fiscal year 2015 is $54,516, which is a 1.30 percent increase from fiscal year 2014.
Resources Available to Teachers in Virginia
- Earning a degree can be financially intimidating. However, scholarships are available, specific to educators in the state of Virginia.
- Certification information can be found at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/
- Virginia Department of Education
- Virginia Department of Education Teacher Licensure page
- Virginia Retirement System (VRS)
- Virginia Teacher Tenure
For teachers just entering the field in Virginia:
- Mentor Programs – information and training resources to meet the requirements for successful transition into a classroom
- Stepping Stones to Success Manual – information that addresses a variety of issues to ensure success in the classroom
Teacher Incentive Programs:
- National Board Certification – information about the voluntary certification process
- Virginia Middle School Teacher Corps – Mathematics – information and eligibility requirements for middle school mathematics teachers who may be interested in teaching in “at risk” schools
- Teacher Direct – a direct line of communication with classroom educators; resources, professional development, and grant opportunities
- Virginia’s Community of Learning – professional development and resource for educators
What online programs are available to potential teachers in the State of Connecticut?
There are a number of resources available for online professional development online for teachers in Virginia. Most self-study options combine self-paced courses. To get started, explore available options through the Professional Learning Board.