In Virginia, all teachers are required to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university in the state or elsewhere in the country. Graduation from an approved teacher preparation program is also a requirement. In order to be accepted into such a program in the state of Virginia, all prospective teachers must pass the Praxis 1 exams in reading, writing and mathematics. Depending on the university you choose, you may be able to combine the teacher training with your studies toward your degree and graduate with both at the same time. At the end of your teacher-training program, you have to take the Praxis 11 exams that are specific to the grade level or content area that you want to teach.
Once you have these credentials, you still have to take other steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher in Virginia. All applicants for an initial teaching certificate in this state must pass the VCLA – Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment. This regulation came in force as of January 2006. In addition if you are looking for a certificate as a teacher of Early Education K-3, Elementary Education 4-6 or for teaching Special Education, you will also have to pass the Virginia Reading Assessment. There are study guides and sample exam questions for both of these tests available at the VCLA website.
For teachers coming to Virginia from other states, you may be able to by pass some of the steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher in Virginia. There is an exemption clause in the certification regulations that if you hold a teaching certificate from another state and you have at least three years of teaching experience, you do not have to take the tests to get a license to teach in Virginia. There is a requirement for this experience though. Even if you have all the educational qualifications and a teaching certificate from another state, you will have to take the tests if you gained your teaching experience through substitute teaching. When you submit your application for exemption you do have to submit a copy of your teaching certificate as well as any documents that verify your teaching experience.
Once you have the appropriate teaching certificate, the next steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher in Virginia is to apply to the various school boards. Check out the websites to see which openings exist for teachers. Contact the school districts if you cannot find any information other than the name of the district and the address of its main office. The personnel at this office will be able to direct you to the proper place where you can find the ads for teaching positions.
The last of the steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher in Virginia is to submit an application and get called for an interview. Even though you do send your application to the Human Resource personnel at the district office, the principal of the school has the final say in the hiring of all teachers. If the school you apply to is in your immediate location, you can make yourself known to the principal by becoming a volunteer at the school. One important piece of advice is to not ask the principal directly if he/she is going to call you for an interview or to try to persuade them to hire you when speaking to them in a causal conversation.