Career Switcher Program

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Thinking of a career in education? The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program provides an option for career professionals to transition into teaching. The 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 must apply for admission directly to a certified program provider, listed below. Applicants must make sure they have met the prerequisites and have submitted their applications and all required documents directly to a career switcher program provider.

Prerequisite Requirements

An individual seeking a provisional license through the career switcher program must meet the following prerequisite requirements:

  • Complete the application process to one of the career switcher certified program providers listed below
  • 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 three years of full-time work experience or its equivalent
  • Qualifying scores on the professional teacher’s assessments prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education (see Professional Teacher’s Assessment Requirements)

Career Switcher Program Overview

Each program's course of study differs from one to another depending on the institution, but each career switcher must complete a level I, II, and III (if required). Below is an overview of the general Career Switcher Program. More detailed information can be found on the program providers’ pages.

Level I

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 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

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 Level II, a trained mentor must be assigned to assist the candidate during the first year of employment.

Level III (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 Ten-Year Renewable License

The holder of a Provisional Career Switcher License will be eligible to apply for a ten-year renewable license after the completion of the following:

  • Successful completion of Levels I, II, and III (if required) 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.

Program Providers

Career switcher program providers are responsible for recruiting, screening, and selecting applicants. Providers must document that those who are accepted into their career switcher programs meet all Board of Education requirements.

The following are certified career switcher program providers in Virginia. Contact a program provider directly to inquire about the application process.

  • Regent University
    • Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary, middle, and elementary education
    • Location: Virginia Beach, Online Program with optional M.Ed.
    • Phone: 757-352-4479
  • Shenandoah University
    • Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary, and middle education
    • Locations: Winchester, Leesburg, Fredericksburg
    • Phone: 540-535-3552
  • Virginia Community College System (Educate Virginia)
    • Offers endorsements in preK-12, secondary, and middle education
    • Locations:
      • Blue Ridge Community College
      • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
      • Northern Virginia Community College
      • Southwest Virginia Community College
      • Tidewater Community College
      • Virginia Western Community College
    • Phone: 804-523-5671
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
    • Offers endorsements in preK-12 and secondary education
    • Location: Richmond
    • Phone: 804-827-6847

Programs are reviewed by the Virginia Department of Education's Office of Licensure and School Leadership and certified by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure programs align with the Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in Virginia. Programs are reviewed and recertified every seven years in accordance with the Recertification Guidance Document for Virginia Career Switcher Programs

 For more information about career switcher programs or becoming licensed to teach in Virginia, please contact