Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Virginia

There are many types of teachers and multiple pathways. Ultimately, though, standards are high. Virginia issues the following teacher licenses: Provisional License, Collegiate Professional License, and Postgraduate Professional License.

Many teachers will start at the Collegiate Professional level. This is the license issued to graduates who have passed their assessments. A provisional license is issued to applicants with allowable deficiencies. These may be degree holders who are pursuing nontraditional paths or individuals who have not yet met assessment requirements.

Academic Foundations

Teaching requires education at at least the bachelor’s level; an exception is made for career technical fields. Degrees are to come from regionally accredited in institutions (or the equivalent if located in another nation).

Virginia lists the following accrediting agencies:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Often, but not always, the full educational program, including professional studies and subject-specific requirements, are pursued in conjunction with the original degree program. Sometimes professional studies requirements are met post-degree. Endorsement requirements in some, but not all, teaching fields may be met through “rigorous” assessment.

The typical pathway is to complete an approved program. State administrative code outlines the endorsement requirements and professional studies components.

Alternative Pathways

The Virginia career switcher program is designed for individuals with bachelor's degrees and the equivalent of at least five years of work experience. After the initial 180 hours of education, which includes field experience as well coursework in areas such as classroom management and differentiated instruction, the individual can be employed in a school. Career switcher programs are offered by specific Virginia institutions, among them, the community college system ( A professional who completes the 180 hours of initial training but doesn't immediately secure a position in a public school or accredited nonpublic school can renew his or her provisional licensure but there are limits on the number of renewals.

Teach for America is another accepted alternative program. There is limited geographic availability.

Professional Studies and Endorsement Standards

The following are expected professional studies for primary, elementary, and middle school teachers:

  • Educational foundations
  • Classroom management
  • Human development and learning
  • Foundations of literacy and language
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Learning assessment
  • Supervised clinical practice

Endorsement requirements include content specific to the discipline. Elementary and early primary teachers will have general arts and sciences courses that correspond to subjects taught at the elementary level. Methods courses in math, science, and social science are listed under endorsement standards.

Professionals in the career switcher program take their assessments prior to receiving their provisional license. Other teachers can pass them during their period of provisional licensure. Alternative programs have plans in place for teaching professional studies content.

Educators may add teaching areas. Many endorsements can be added to existing credentials by passing tests. This is not the case, though, with early primary, elementary, reading specialist, or special education endorsements (

Assessment Requirements

Prospective educators pass a series of assessments. Virginia uses the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment as its test of fundamental academic skills. This is a custom Pearson assessment that includes reading and writing subtests; the candidate will need to write a composition.

Prospective teachers will also need to pass the Praxis subject assessments required for their teaching area. Virginia uses the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects assessment for early primary and elementary.

Additionally, elementary, early primary, and special education teachers pass a test in teaching reading. Virginia uses a custom assessment, the Praxis Series Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education.

ETS has provided state-specific information about Praxis assessments (; it includes minimum scores as well as registration information.

Currently licensed out-of-state teacher who have three years of teaching experience can be exempted from Virginia assessment requirements.


An out-of-state teacher can be licensed in Virginia if he or she holds current full licensure without deficiencies, is certified through the National Board, or has completed a state-approved teacher preparation program through a regionally accredited college.

State-Specific Training Requirements

Virginia mandates some additional trainings. Teachers must have a course in dyslexia awareness. An online training is available from the Department of Education (

Also required is a course in recognizing and intervening in cases of child abuse or neglect and a course in first aid/ CPR/ AED; the latter must include hands-on CPR practice.

The Application Process

The application form can be downloaded from the website of the Virginia Department of Education (

The licensing authority will seek transcripts from all colleges attended. A college verification form is required in many cases; it is to include verification of internships and student teaching experiences. Program verification is not required of those applying on the basis of current out-of-state licensure.

The applicant should include copies of the certificates he or she received for completing state-mandated trainings.

Work experience is to be verified.

The applicant will provide a photocopy of his or her out-of-state license, if applicable.

Virginia uses the NASDTEC Clearinghouse to check license history.

The license fee is $50 for in-state applicants, $75 for out-of-state applicants.

Additional Information

Virginia teachers are licensed by the Virginia Department of Education, Division of Teacher Education & Licensure. (

The Division of Teacher Education & Licensure can be reached by email at ‘licensure at’. Additional contact information is available online (

Requirements may change. Virginia recently eliminated a requirement that teachers demonstrate knowledge of educational technology.