There are several ways to become a teacher in Virginia. If you are just starting out, you can earn a postsecondary degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. If you are certified in another state, you can earn a Virginia teaching certification by reciprocity. Finally, alternative licensure options are available to individuals working in high-need school districts and to those transitioning out of other careers and into teaching.

Areas of Specialization

Individuals must choose a primary endorsement in which to earn their teaching credential. These endorsements can include:

  • Primary Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Middle Education
  • Adult Education

After earning a primary endorsement, potential educators may also designate a secondary endorsement for their license. These can include English as a second language, gifted education, journalism, or library media. For more information on these possible endorsements, please read the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel PDF located on the Virginia Department of Education website.

Education Requirements

In order to become a teacher in Virginia, there are many requirements an individual must meet. They must first have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and have completed a state approved teacher preparation program. They must then pass assessments that test their knowledge, including the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment, the Praxis II content assessment, and a reading assessment. Starting July 1st, 2013 potential educators must also show that they have completed training in the correct use of emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and automated external defibrillators. Training on recognizing child abuse and how to intervene is also required by the state for licensure. For more information about these requirements please view the Application for a Virginia License PDF located on the state's Department of Education website.

Alternate Routes

If you hold a teaching certification in another state you can earn Virginia licensure via reciprocity, as long as you meet certain requirements. For one, your out-of-state certification must be current. Individuals must then fill out an application packet in order to create a file in the Virginia Department of Education, which will include all transcripts. The file will then be assessed by the Board of Education.

For bachelor degree holders who are not certified, Virginia offers two routes of entry into teaching. The alternative licensure route allows teachers to become licensed at the recommendation of a public or private school district, usually those with a high need for teachers. Through this route, teachers have three years to fulfill education requirements, but can do so while they are teaching.

The alternative route for career professions was also created, in part, to fill high-need teacher positions. This program helps professionals more easily transition from their current occupation into teaching. In order to qualify, you must have at least five years of full-time work experience and earn qualifying scores on professional teachers' assessments.

More information about reciprocity and alternative licensure can be found on the Virginia Department of Education's website.


"Licensure Regulations for School Personnel," Virginia Department of Education, January 16, 2013, http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/licensure_regs.pdf

"Routes to Licensure in Virginia," Virginia Department of Education, July 19, 2012, http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/multiple_licensure_routes.pdf

"Assessment Requirements for Virginia Licensure," Virginia Department of Education, June 17th, 2013, http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/prof_teacher_assessment.pdf

Teaching Schools in Virginia

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B.S. in Educational Studies (Does Not Lead to Teacher Licensure)
  • Want to be a Teacher or Educational Administrator? Learn why GCU could be the best place to start! Here's why:
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MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
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EdS - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation

An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs.

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MS - Teaching and Learning
  • The first and only 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States
  • No set class times or locations
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  • Accelerated eight-week terms
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M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
  • Get your master’s degree in just 14 months!
  • Earn your Ed.D. fully online in less than four years
  • Achieve an advanced degree on your schedule, from the comfort of your home
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  • Online Courses
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