Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Virginia

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Early Childhood Education in Virginia

Virginia, known for its diverse geography and rich history, also consistently ranks in the top 10 states for its educational system, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress. The average salary for teachers in 2011 was $51,524 (DLAS Document Summary). This falls in the middle of the pack when compared to other U.S. states.

As in many states, budget cuts have required reductions in educational spending (Back-to-School Budget Cuts). However, quality preschool programs have become more prevalent over the past few years due to the Virginia Preschool Initiative which provides funding to school and community-based organizations for at-risk four-year-olds.

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Getting Your Virginia Certification for Teaching

The Virginia Department of Education’s website includes extensive information about the ways to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.

Routes to Licensure

There are several routes you can take to obtain licensure in Virginia. A license may be granted to an individual who:

  • Completes an in-state or out-of-state approved teacher preparation program
  • Holds a valid out-of-state teacher license
  • Receives recommendation from an employing school division or nonpublic school
  • Participates in the Career Switcher Program

When applying for licensure, you will need to submit an application form, an in-state fee of $50 or an out-of-state fee of $75, a college verification form, a report on experience, an official student transcript, and a photocopy of your out-of-state license(s). You will need to have proof of Childhood Abuse Recognition and Intervention Training, as well as the Professional Teacher’s Assessment Requirements. The assessments required for teachers are the VCLA, Praxis II, and RVE (unless otherwise exempt). Lastly, you must meet the technology standards for instructional personnel. This standard was embedded within your teacher preparation program if you graduated after December 1998. Otherwise, this requirement can be met through the employing Virginia education agency.

Use the Virginia Licensure Application to apply for a teaching license, postgraduate professional license, pupil personnel services license, or division superintendent license.

Be sure to contact the VDOE’s human resources department or your desired school system’s human resources office should you have any further questions about the certification/licensure process.

Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education

Here are five of the many reputable colleges that offer early childhood or elementary education degrees in Virginia. Many teachers find it beneficial to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree prior to entering the job scene. Teachers with a graduate degree in education earn approximately $1500 to $3000 more per year and require less professional development than teachers holding an undergraduate degree only.

offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as a doctorate, in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary education (pre-K through six). It also has a very desirable on-campus child development center where students practice their craft in a full-time child care setting.

has a fifth-year master’s degree program in elementary education (pre-K through six). It also has a master’s degree program with Initial Teacher Licensure that is designed to meet the needs of the adult learner through evening and weekend classes and online learning.

offers a bachelor’s degree with teacher licensure in elementary education (pre-K through six). It also offers students the chance to complete their student-teaching experience abroad in places like New Zealand and Australia.

has bachelor’s degrees in both early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary education (pre-K through six). It also has a master’s degree in early childhood education (pre-K through three). The school is highly esteemed for its academic reputation on the state and national level.

is a Christian university and offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education (pre-K through six). It is recognized for being a technologically advanced academic, residential, and recreational school.

Getting a Job as an Early Childhood Teacher in Virginia

Virginia increasingly promotes the importance of school readiness, which in turn is creating more jobs in early childhood education and has improved the quality of early childhood education overall. There are several different avenues you can take in pursuing a career in this constantly evolving field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. Each school district’s website lists current open positions as well as step-by-step information about how to apply for current job openings. Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start, Bright Horizons, Child Care Aware of Virginia, and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child care centers in your local area as well, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community.

Professional Groups for Teachers

The Virginia Education Association (VEA) is a special teacher’s organization with 60,000-plus members. It is a professional group that collectively advocates for public education, defends and protects its members from issues in the workplace, and provides resources for members to further develop their skills. The VEA is an optional group. Joining your local association automatically enrolls you in the VEA and the National Education Association (NEA). The cost varies by school system and most teachers prefer paying by bi-monthly payroll deductions. The VEA also has a student chapter for future teachers called the Student Virginia Education Association. The largest and most powerful local group is the Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA).

The Virginia Professional Educators (VPE) group is a nonprofit professional association that offers similar benefits at a cost of $180 per year. The organization prides itself on its legal and liability protection, offering twice the amount of coverage that teacher’s unions do.

The Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education of Young Children (VAECEYC) aims to improve the quality of early childhood education for children and educators through information, advocacy, education, networking, and service. The organization represents 330 members and is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Membership dues vary by state and community.

Finally, here is a comprehensive list of other educational organizations arranged by areas of interest or involvement.

Virginia’s ECE Bloggers

The Washington Post’s online education publication offers timely coverage of hot topics going on in and around Virginia’s schools, as does Education Week’s blog forum. In addition to these resources, quite a few dedicated Virginia teachers also offer heartfelt insight into the world of early childhood education through their blog sites.

Teach. Train. Love is an educational blog for teachers and parents focused on promoting the social and emotional growth of the early childhood learner.

The Inspired Pencil aims to enhance the early stages of writing development through authentic writing experiences.

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