P.O. BOX 2120




July 26, 2002



Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



"Career Switcher" Alternative Route to

Licensure Program


In 2000, the Board of Education piloted a career switcher program for military personnel who were interested in becoming public school teachers. The program offered qualified men and women an opportunity to begin new careers as classroom teachers, without having to enroll in a traditional teacher preparation program at a college or university. In 2001, the board piloted another career switcher program, this one for individuals from other professions. After two successful years, the two pilot programs have graduated more then 200 highly qualified and motivated teachers, increasing the number of persons needed in the public schools to fill positions in critical teacher shortage areas. On February 13, 2002, the board amended the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (8 VAC 20-21-01 et seq.) to establish the career switcher program.


With school enrollments continuing to grow and current teacher retirement rates increasing, states are faced with the need for a large number of teachers within a short period of time. Since 1990, at least 45 states have adopted some type of alternative licensure program for teachers. Graduates of these nontraditional programs tend to teach high demand subjects such as mathematics and science and have higher retention rates despite being concentrated in more challenging locales such as the inner cities or isolated rural areas.



In an effort to provide additional information on the career switcher program, the Department of Education recently developed a brochure describing the program in detail. Enclosed is a copy of the brochure for you to view and disseminate. Copies of the brochure will also be shared with others in your school divisions. Further information regarding the career switcher program can be found at


Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Thomas A. Elliott, assistant superintendent, Division of Teacher Education and Licensure, (804) 371-2522, or David A. Crossley, education specialist, alternative routes to licensure and recruitment, Division of Teacher Education and Licensure, (804) 225-2802,if you have any questions regarding the "career switcher" alternative route to licensure program.




cc: Human Resource Directors

Committee to Enhance the K-12 Teaching

Profession in Virginia