Not all teachers are “born” to teach. Sometimes it takes a person years before he or she realizes what his or her true calling is.
Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in Virginia.
For these individuals looking to get into teaching from other careers, there are a few alternative certification routes to help them get started as soon as possible. The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) offers an alternative route to certification, as well as a Career Switcher program for qualified individuals.
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Before entering into an alternative teaching program, candidates must first qualify for their provisional teaching licenses, which allows them to teach while completing alternative certification requirements. A provisional license lasts for three years, during which, a candidate must meet all remaining requirements for certification.
In order to enter an alternative route to certification, candidates must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. This degree should be focused on one of the endorsement areas specified by the DOE.
During their alternative teaching programs, candidates must complete coursework related to the endorsement being sought. Candidates must meet the following educational requirements:
Early Education/ Elementary Education/ Middle Education – 18 Semester Hours
Special Education – 18 Semester Hours
Adult/ PreK-12 Endorsements/ Secondary Grades 6-12 Endorsements – 15 Semester Hours
To enter the Career Switcher Program, candidates must possess a bachelor's degree in addition to other experience and assessment requirements. During their Career Switcher Programs, candidates complete two educational stages.
In the first stage, candidates begin with intensive studies of curriculum design and instructional methods. The second stage of the program includes at least five instructional seminars designed to educate the candidate further about human growth and development.
Applicants for alternative teacher certification programs must pass a basic skills test before being accepted into the program. The Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment tests candidates on their reading and writing knowledge.
Additionally, candidates must pass PRAXIS II subject area examinations in the endorsement areas they wish to teach. Each endorsement area has minimum passable scores, which can be found on the DOE website.
Both the regular alternative certification program and the Career Switcher Program have different experience requirements. Admission into the Career Switcher Program requires candidates to have five years of work experience.
During their programs, candidates also gain experience through internships and student teaching. The Career Switcher Program, for example, requires candidates engage in 180 hours of instruction during their first stage of preparation. During the second stage, candidates are assigned a mentor who will help guide them through the rest of their student teaching experience.
In Virginia, the Department of Education does not require teacher candidates undergo background checking or fingerprinting before applying for certification. However, certain school districts may require teachers to submit to background checks while they are considered for employment.
More information about alternative teacher routes in Virginia may be found here. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Education licensure office may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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