People seeking a second career as a teacher have some new options. You can now get qualified through the Virginia Department of Education certified Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) career switcher program. In addition, Regent University’s online program has now been expanded to include elementary education.
The alternative and faster route to licensure is part of the state’s overall strategy for addressing a teacher shortage. As of 2018, there were 2,844 graduates of alternative teaching programs working in our schools.
“VCU’s Pathways to Teaching career switcher program will provide instruction and support to participants as they navigate the pathway from preparation through induction and into ongoing, school-based learning,” Dean Andrew Daire stated in a release.
VCU’s newly established Pathways to Teaching program has been approved to offer routes to teaching careers in the following areas:
- English as a Second Language PreK-12
- Mathematics and Algebra I (add-on endorsement)
- Science (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science and Physics)
- History and Social Sciences
- Health and Physical Education PreK-12
- Foreign Languages (French, German and Spanish)
- Career and Technical Education (Business and Information Technology, Marketing Education, Technology Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences)
- Computer Science
The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program was established in 1999 to provide retiring military personnel an accelerated route to state licensure, but it was then opened up for any professional to apply.
Prerequisites for acceptance into a career switcher program include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, completion of course work required for the area of endorsement, at least three years of successful full-time work experience and qualifying scores on professional teachers’ assessments prescribed by the Board of Education.
Those who finish the program — that includes classroom experience — are given a provisional license. After working with a mentor, engaging in some additional training, and being recommended by a school division, graduates can get five-year licenses.