Become a Science Teacher in Virginia

Jul 02, 2020

The STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math are often the underrepresented subjects with teachers. If you'd like to become a science teacher in Virginia, this article provides you with the required steps for licensing.

Requirements for Virginia Science Teachers

Average Salary for Teachers in Virginia (2019)* $71,920 (Middle School), $69,070 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Science
Testing Requirements Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) subtests Reading (091) AND Writing (092), AND Praxis content-exam: Biology: Content Knowledge (5101), Earth Science: Content Knowledge (5571) Chemistry: Content Knowledge (5245), Physics: Content Knowledge (5265), OR Middle School Science (5440)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Virginia requires their teachers to have a bachelor's degree and to have completed teacher preparation program. There are a number of ways this can be done: a 4+1 program, a bachelor's followed by a certificate program, or a master's degree program. If you'd like to become a science teacher, you'll want to take a program that is heavy in the science subject you wish to teach: chemistry, physics, biology, etc. Along with lab classes, you'll need to take education classes that help you to understand what you need to be a teacher and how to teach in a classroom setting. You'll also need to participate in a student-teaching practicum for experience with live students. The education classes and student teaching may be completed in the teacher preparation program separate from the bachelor's program, or it may be included in a science education program.

Step 2: Complete Required Exams

Virginia requires several exams to be passed and submitted along with your application for licensure. The first step to this will be to sit for the Virginia Communications and Literacy Assessment (VCLA). This is a computer-based exam that tests you on reading and writing. The reading subtest includes 40 multiple-choice questions, while the writing subtest includes 40 questions, three short-answer questions, and two written assignments. You must pass the exam with a score of 235 or higher on each subtest.

Next, you'll need to take the Praxis exam that is affiliated with your science subject. Which exam you'll take in particular is based on the subject and grade you wish to teach. These exams vary based on their structure, but you will have 150 minutes to complete each exam. All exams include 125 multiple-choice questions (the biology exam is the outlier with 150 questions). Scores also vary depending on the subject, but can be found below:

Exam Area Minimum Score
Biology 155
Chemistry 153
Earth Science 156
Physics 147
Middle School Science 150

Step 3: Complete Other Required Training

Virginia has some other requirements for prospective teachers, though this is always changing, including a few that were implemented as recently as September 2017. You will also need to complete training about dyslexia and child abuse recognition. These training classes are both available online. The child abuse and neglect course is offered by the Virginia Department of Social Services while the dyslexia program is offered through the Virginia Department of Education.

Finally, you must complete a CPR and first aid course to learn how to help in emergencies. This can be completed through popular organizations like the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. You will need proof of your certification when you apply.

Certification Resources for Virginia Science Teachers

There are plenty of things you need to study to earn certification in Virginia. If you'd like to do well on the exams, consider the following resources to help you study.

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