Virginia Teacher Licensure and Certification Requirements

Virginia offers multiple routes for individuals to become licensed as public school teachers in Virginia. New teachers in Virginia are generally first granted a Provisional Initial Teaching License, which allows time for the teacher to complete mandatory requirements. The next step for teachers is to seek a renewable Professional License.

Virginia Initial Teaching Certification

Virginia’s Initial Teaching Certification can be acquired by taking a traditional route, which entails the completion of an approved teacher education program, or by one of the alternative routes, which, in addition to coursework, require classroom experience and being mentored in a Virginia School District.

Traditional Route to Certification

The traditional route to certification requires Virginia teachers who seek an Initial license to complete a teacher certification program. Each candidate’s application packet must include the following:

  • Complete Initial Certification Application.
  • Processing fee.
  • College Verification Form issued by the Teacher Preparation Institute the applicant attended.
  • Passing Scores on the Professional Teacher Assessments.
  • Official Transcripts for all coursework.

Alternative Routes to Certification

Virginia Alternative Teaching Certification

In order to be considered for the Virginia Alternative Teaching Certification, applicants need a Bachelor’s degree in the subject area they hope to teach and recommendations from officials at the Virginia public school where they have been hired to teach. Certification may lead to a Provisional License that is valid for three years and nonrenewable.

The alternative certification option allows a teaching candidate to enter the classroom and satisfy endorsement course work and experiential learning before completing a teacher education program.

After teachers have completed all requirements necessary to qualify, they will be able to apply for an Initial five-year renewable certification.

Reciprocity Route to Certification

Licensure by reciprocity is an option for out-of-state teachers who meet Virginia’s requirements. Non-Virginia teachers must verify the following:

  • Possession of a current out-of-state teaching license.
  • Completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program through a regionally accredited four-year college or university.
  • Completion of at least three years of successful full-time, teaching in an out-of-state public or accredited nonpublic school (K-12).

Alternative Route for Career Professionals

Virginia created the Career Switcher Alternative Licensure Route to allow individuals from a range of occupations and life experiences to become classroom teachers. Requirements for acceptance into the Career Switcher Program include:

  • A Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Qualification, through verifiable experience and academic study, for an endorsement or specialty in a teaching content area of grade level.
  • Five years of professional full-time work experience.
  • Passing scores on the professional teacher’s assessments necessary for initial licensure in Virginia.

Prerequisites For Teaching in Virginia

Virginia requires teachers to complete the following tests:

  • The Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) measures literacy skills necessary to teach and communicate effectively with parents and colleagues in the education community.
  • Praxis II Content Assessment tests are standardized specialty area exams teachers must pass before being licensed to teach in a content area or grade level.
  • Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests measure basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Reading Assessment: Mandatory for individuals seeking initial licensure to teach Early, Primary and Elementary Education.

Other Prerequisites
Virginia has two requirements that many other states do not have.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Virginia teachers are required to complete a training module on child abuse and neglect as part of their licensing process.

Technology Standards for Teachers

Individuals seeking an initial license or renewing their license “must demonstrate the effective use of technology to enhance instruction and improve student learning,” according to the Virginia Department of Education.

Types of Teacher Licenses in Virginia

Provisional License: A nonrenewable license valid for a period not to exceed three years issued to an individual who has allowable deficiencies for full licensure as set forth in the Virginia Licensure Regulations. The individual must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university The Provisional License. Individuals must complete the requirements for the renewable, five-year license within the three-year validity period of the Provisional License.

Renewable License: A license issued by the Board of Education for five years to an individual who meets the requirements specified in the Board of Education
Regulations. Anyone holding a Virginia Teaching License must renew it every 5 years.

Collegiate Professional License: A five-year, renewable license available to an individual who has satisfied all requirements for licensure, including an earned undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university and the professional teacher’s assessments prescribed by the Board of Education.

Postgraduate Professional License: A five-year, renewable license available to an individual who has qualified for the Collegiate Professional License and who holds an appropriate earned graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.


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