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 entice individuals from various occupational and life experiences to become classroom teachers, thereby increasing the quantity and diversity of applicants to the profession.
Individuals interested in enrolling in a Career Switcher Program must apply for admission directly to a certified program provider. Applicants must make certain that they have met the prerequisites stated below and have submitted their applications directly to a certified program provider.
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution;
- Five years of professional work experience;
- Coursework required for the desired teaching area; and
- Qualifying scores on the professional teacher's examinations. See Professional Teacher’s Assessment Requirements (PDF).
Applying to the Career Switcher Program
To begin the application process for the Career Switcher Program, contact one of the program providers listed below.
Course of Study
Career Switcher Program participants begin their study with an intensive induction into curriculum and instruction methods, course content relating to the Standards of Learning, differentiation of instruction, classroom/behavior management, and human growth and development (Level I). This intensive Level I preparation includes a minimum of 180 clock hours of instruction, including field experience. After completing Level I preparation, candidates are awarded a Provisional Career Switcher License and are expected to seek and obtain employment in a Virginia public or accredited nonpublic school. An individual's salary contract is determined by the employing education agency.
Level II preparation begins during the first year of employment. During that year, a minimum of five seminars are provided to expand the intensive preparation requirements associated with instructional categories and topics. The five seminars include a minimum of 20 cumulative instructional hours. Various instructional techniques are used to implement the seminars. During Phase II a trained mentor is assigned to assist the candidate throughout his or her first year of employment.
Upon successful completion of Levels I and II of the Career Switcher Program and submission of a recommendation from the Virginia educational employing agency, the candidate will be eligible to apply for a renewable license.
In January 2002 an orientation was held to introduce and clarify the Career Switcher Program proposal process. Potential program providers were invited to submit a program proposal to the Virginia Department of Education for approval. By March 2002 six program providers were established. A list of program providers is available below.
Institutions of higher education, school divisions, and private organizations are encouraged to develop proposals for Career Switcher Programs. Proposals submitted by January 15 and June 15 will receive approval for implementing a program during that year. 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.
- George Mason University*
- Old Dominion University
- Regent University
- Shenandoah University
- Spotsylvania County Schools*
- University of Virginia Richmond Center*
- Virginia Beach City Public Schools*
- Virginia Community College System
- Western Virginia Public Education Consortium (WVPEC)*
* These program providers are no longer accepting new candidates into the program.
The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program was created in response to a resolution agreed to by the 1999 General Assembly. The General Assembly requested the Board of Education to study alternative licensure programs and models in other states and develop an alternative pathway to teaching for individuals who have not completed a teacher preparation curriculum but have considerable life experiences, career achievements, and academic backgrounds that are relevant for teaching in pre-K through grade 12. During the 2000 session of the General Assembly funds were appropriated to develop and pilot the first Career Switcher Program. In the summer of 2000, the Board of Education implemented the first Career Switcher Program for military personnel who were interested in becoming teachers. The program was later expanded to individuals in other professions interested in pursuing a career in education. See Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (PDF) for a complete description of the alternate route to licensure.