The Virginia Teaching and Certification Resource
How to Become a Teacher in Virginia
In order to teach in Virginia, individuals must possess one very important piece of paper: a Virginia teacher certification. Like all of the states, Virginia has established specific requirements that must be fulfilled in order for an individual to earn a Virginia teaching certificate. These requirements include completing an approved education program, passing state-determined assessments, and completing the application process.
- I want to be a teacher in Virginia, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Virginia’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
- Global Training and Development - EdS
- E-Learning - EdS
- General Education - Doctor of Education
- Curriculum and Teaching - EdS
- And more...
Virginia Teacher Education Requirements
The initial step toward becoming a teacher in Virginia is to complete the state’s educational requirements. First, a bachelor’s degree must be earned at an accredited academic institution. In addition, a state-approved teacher preparation program is required. In some cases, a state-approved alternative program may be completed instead.
At the beginning of 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded Virginia’s unemployment rate at 6.0%, well below the national average of 8.5%. The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 7,801 annual job openings in education and library related fields in Virginia through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007 respectively, the National Center for Education Statistics listed 71,415 public school and 12,920 private school teachers employed throughout the state. The National Education Association reports the average starting teaching salary in Virginia as $36,634 and the average overall teaching salary as $48,761, the 30th highest average among US states. The NEA also notes that the education job market is ‘open’ in most urban and suburban areas, particularly for special education, math and science teachers. The US Department of Education reports additional teacher shortages in Virginia in elementary education (PreK-6), foreign languages (PreK-12), and health and physical education (PreK-12). Please visit the Virginia Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, for updates on education policy, budget allocation and local employment opportunity across the state. For more information regarding state certification please contact local education and teaching schools and programs.
Virginia Teacher Testing Requirements
Once the educational requirements for becoming a teacher in Virginia have been met, teacher candidates must pass the prescribed examinations as determined by the Virginia Board of Education. Three assessments are used for initial licensure in Virginia, depending upon the teaching area that has been chosen. The first is the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment, which is required for teachers in all subject areas. Next, the Praxis II assessment evaluates the teacher candidate’s knowledge of his or her content area. Finally, the Reading Assessment is required for those pursuing the following endorsements: Reading Specialist, Early/Primary preK-3, Elementary Education preK-6, or a variety of Special Education areas.
Those who hold a valid teaching license in another state and who have taught for at least three years are exempt from taking the above tests. In addition, individuals who have completed the requirements for certification and have received employment in Virginia but have not passed the required tests may be eligible for a nonrenewable provisional license that is valid for three years. This license must be requested by the hiring school district.
Virginia Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||36,550||$58,980|
|Middle School Teachers||16,500||$58,310|
|Secondary School Teachers||24,330||$59,900|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2011.
Virginia Teacher Interview
Interview with Mimi Hager, Virginia Fifth Grade Teacher
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Virginia
Question: What is the requirement to become a special education teacher in Virginia?
Answer: In order to become a special education teacher in Virginia you must complete a course of study at a state approved program that offers approved special education teacher preparation programs.
Question: How do you become a substitute teacher in Virginia?
Answer: To become a substitute teacher in Virginia, you must apply to individual districts. Each district has its own requirements for substitutes. At the state level, substitute teachers must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Virginia?
Answer: In order to become an elementary teacher in Virginia you need to have a provisional license. Requirements for the license include a bachelor’s degree, either with a major in education or in conjunction with a teacher preparation program, an elementary student teaching experience, passing scores on state education exams, and participation in a mentorship program.
Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Virginia?
Answer: To become a high school teacher in Virginia, you need to get a secondary provisional license. This requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in the subject you want to teach as well as adequate education coursework. You must also participate in student teaching and a mentoring program, and pass the state tests for educators.
Page edited by Charles Sipe.