Teacher Residency and Apprenticeship Programs

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Educator candidates seeking intensive preparation experiences may wish to explore a residency or apprenticeship program, both of which are characterized by significant experience in the classroom, strong mentorship, and coursework.

Registered Apprenticeship Programs

In January 2023, the VDOE and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (VDOLI) signed an agreement to create a registered teacher apprentice program in the commonwealth.  Read the January  28, 2023, News Release.  

Following this registration, the VDOE announced a round of grants to incentivize local education agencies (LEA), in partnership with a state-approved educator preparation program (EPP), to develop a model and implementation plan for the DOLI Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program.  The apprenticeship programs may support apprentices at the undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate levels.  Divisions can use the implementation grant for training of mentors, hiring new apprentices, and tuition assistance. 

Teacher apprentice programs allow divisions to hire classroom aides, paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, and other unlicensed school employees as teacher apprentices.  These programs provide a mentored pathway for apprentices to complete both the coursework and the on-the-job training required to become fully licensed teachers. 

The state-sponsored apprenticeship program includes the following components: (a) non-teacher of record contractual employment, (b) school-based mentors, (c) employment opportunity for apprentices upon graduation from an accredited institution of higher education, and (d) integration of education and career pathway.  Additionally, the program will provide a variety of support services to ensure success in their coursework and employment.  

Now registered with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (VDOLI), the state’s Apprenticeship Program and participants become eligible for further sustainable funding through VDOLI workforce grant programs.  The initial investment in quality of programming will pay off for years, and ultimately ensure a permanent, sustainable source of effective teachers for students.  

Read more on the federally approved Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). 

Teacher talking to students at their desks.Funding Opportunities: Grow Your Own

The Department of Teacher Education and Licensure is soliciting proposals for the Grow Your Own (GYO) – Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program. This solicitation for proposals is to support eligible school divisions or a regional consortia of school divisions to implement a registered teacher apprenticeship program starting in January 2024.  

Highlighted in the September 21st edition of the VA Education Update, the purpose of the Grow Your Own initiative is to prepare individuals from the community to enter and succeed in the state’s registered teacher apprenticeship program and ultimately be employed as an educator in their local school division. This program also aims to eliminate economic barriers that may keep individuals from investing in skills training and teacher preparation, allowing them to “earn while they learn”. 

Interested school divisions are requested to submit their grant applications no later than 4 p.m. on November 30, 2023.  


Residency Programs

Teacher residency programs are intensive experiences designed to those enrolled in an Educator Preparation Program (EPP).   Residents complete a year-long clinical practice placement in a partner school division while completing the undergraduate or graduate-level coursework needed to become licensed teachers.  The format for residency programs vary:  Some provide short-term training while others pair a program participant with a mentor teacher for a year long co-teaching experience.  Because of the need for integration between clinical experiences and coursework, residency programs are conceived of as holistic; required coursework and clinical experiences together comprise the duration of a residency.   Programs in Virginia require that participants commit to teaching in a specific division for a certain number of years after completing the residency.  Additionally, residency programs may offer tuition remission and/or an additional stipend.  Teacher Residency Programs associated with approved Virginia Educator Preparation Programs include: