The Virginia Department of Education has certified Virginia Commonwealth University to offer a career switcher program for professionals seeking second careers as classroom teachers. The department also approved the expansion of Regent University’s established online career switcher program to include elementary education.
“Career switcher programs offer professionals an accelerated route to begin rewarding second careers as classroom teachers,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “This alternative route to licensure for qualified professionals is an important component of the commonwealth’s overall strategy for addressing the teacher shortage facing many of our school divisions. I congratulate VCU and Regent University for their vision and commitment to helping our schools meet this challenge.”
As of 2018, there were 2,844 career switcher program graduates teaching in Virginia public schools. In addition, 30 educators who began teaching careers as career switchers were serving as principals or assistant principals.
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
“This kind of program is central to the VCU School of Education’s mission and helps to meet the needs of school divisions for teachers who are committed to the local classroom and the diverse needs of students in this region,” said Dean Andrew P. Daire. “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.”
Regent University, with the approval of the expansion of its online program, joins Old Dominion University as one of two career switcher programs in the state offering endorsements in elementary education.
The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program was established in 1999 to provide retiring military personnel an accelerated route to state licensure. The program was subsequently opened to professionals in all fields.
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.
Career switchers who successfully complete a preparation program (180-hour minimum, including classroom field experience) are issued a one-year provisional license. They then complete one year of mentored teaching with additional required training. Career switchers are then issued renewable five-year licenses at the recommendation of employing school divisions.
With the latest approvals, the approved career switcher programs in the commonwealth are as follows:
- Old Dominion University (pre-K-12, secondary, middle education and elementary education)
- Regent University (pre-K-12, secondary, middle education and elementary education)
- Shenandoah University (pre-K-12, secondary and middle education)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (pre-K-12, secondary and English as a second language)
- Virginia Community College System (pre-K-12, secondary, middle education and English as a second language)
Additional information about Virginia career switcher programs is available on the VDOE website.
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