Career Switcher Program
Thinking of a Teaching Career?
Find yourself at the head of the class through the Virginia Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program
The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program is designed to provide an option for career professionals to enter Virginia’s classrooms. The career switcher program recognizes the life experiences of qualified individuals and provides participants with skills needed to pursue a teaching career in Virginia.
Individuals interested in enrolling in a career switcher program must apply for admission directly to a certified program provider. These providers are listed below. Applicants must make certain they have met the prerequisites stated below and have submitted their applications and all other required documents directly to a career switcher program provider.
Career switcher program providers are responsible for recruiting, screening, and selecting applicants. Providers must document that individuals accepted into their career switcher programs meet all Board of Education requirements.
The following certified career switcher program providers are available in Virginia. Contact a program provider directly to inquire about the application process.
- Old Dominion University
- Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary, middle education, and elementary education. Please note that ODU is the only Career Switcher Program Provider offering an endorsement in elementary education.
- Locations: Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach
- Phone: 757-683-4686
- Regent University
- Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary and middle education*
*Regent University does not offer an endorsement in elementary education.
- Location: Virginia Beach
- Phone: 757-352-4479
- Shenandoah University
- Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary, and middle education*
*Shenandoah University does not offer an endorsement in elementary education.
- Locations: Winchester, Leesburg, Fredericksburg
- Phone: 540-535-3552
- Virginia Community College System (Educate Virginia)
- Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary, middle education, and English as a second language*
*The Virginia Community College System (Educate Virginia) does not offer an endorsement in elementary education.
- Blue Ridge Community College
- J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
- John Tyler Community College
- Lord Fairfax Community College
- Northern Virginia Community College
- Rappahannock Community College
- Southside Virginia Community College
- Southwest Virginia Community College
- Tidewater Community College
- Virginia Western Community College
- Phone: 804-523-5671
The former Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Programs, listed below, have been discontinued and are no longer accepting candidates.
- George Mason University
- Spotsylvania County Schools
- University of Virginia Richmond Center
- Virginia Beach City Public Schools
- Western Virginia Public Education Consortium (WVPEC)
An individual seeking a provisional license through the career switcher program must meet the following prerequisite requirements:
- Complete the application process by making application to one of the career switcher certified program providers listed above;
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university;
- The completion of requirements for an endorsement in a teaching area or the equivalent through verifiable experience or academic study;
- At least five years of full-time work experience or its equivalent;
- Virginia qualifying scores on the professional teacher’s assessments prescribed by the Board of Education. See Professional Teacher’s Assessment Requirements (PDF).
Course of Study
Level I Preparation
Intensive Level I preparation includes a minimum of 180 clock hours of instruction, including field experience. This phase includes, but is not limited to, curriculum and instruction (including instructional technology), reading in the content area, language acquisition, differentiation of instruction, classroom/behavior management, instructional design based on assessment data, human growth and development and other specific course work related to the Virginia Standards of Learning.
Level I requirements must be completed during the course of a single year and may be offered through a variety of delivery systems, including distance learning programs. After completing Level I preparation, candidates may be awarded a one-year Provisional Career Switcher License (July 1 to June 30 of given year). The Provisional Career Switcher License is active for the first year after the completion of the program requirements. During this time, candidates are expected to seek and obtain employment in a Virginia public school division or accredited nonpublic school in Virginia. If a candidate is unsuccessful in finding employment during the first year of the life of the Provisional Career Switcher License, the license may be extended annually for up to two additional years upon the recommendation of an employing school division or accredited nonpublic school. A Provisional Career Switcher license is limited to a total of three years.
Level II Preparation
Level II preparation begins during the first year of employment. During this year, a minimum of five seminars will be provided by the career switcher program provider to expand the intensive preparation requirements associated with instructional categories and topics. Seminars include a minimum of 20 instructional hours. A variety of instructional delivery techniques will be utilized to implement the seminars.
During Phase II a trained mentor must be assigned to assist the candidate during the first year of employment.
Level III Preparation (if required)
An additional year of preparation, if required, will be conducted by the Virginia employing educational agency to address needed areas of improvement identified in the candidate’s professional improvement plan. During Level III the employing educational agency may request a one-year extension of the Provisional Career Switcher License.
Recommendation for a Five-Year Renewable License
The holder of a Provisional Career Switcher License will be eligible to apply for a five-year renewable license after the completion of the following:
- Successful completion of Level I, Level II and Level III (if needed) of the Career Switcher Alternative Route To Licensure Program;
- Submission of a recommendation from the Virginia employing educational agency; and
- Recommendation of the administrator of the career switcher program.
- The Virginia Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program was created in response to Senate Joint Resolution 384 and the 1999 Appropriation Act (Item 127D and 129Q). The legislation was designed to provide an alternative pathway to teaching for individuals who had not completed a teacher preparation curriculum but had considerable life experiences, career achievements, and academic backgrounds that are relevant for teaching in pre-K through grade 12.
- The Board of Education approved conducting a pilot program for the career switcher program for military personnel during the summer of 2000. An amendment to the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel to establish an initial “Career Switcher” Alternative Route to Licensure Program for military personnel was approved by the Board during the fall of 2000. The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Pilot Program for Military Personnel for the 2000-2001 academic year, concluded on June 30, 2001. On November 30, 2000, the Board approved expanding the program to other professions.
- On November 27, 2001, the Board of Education approved the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel 8 VAC 20-21-01 et. seq. – Establishing a Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure. Those regulations became effective February 13, 2002.
- Refer to the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel for a complete description of the current requirements for this alternate route to licensure.