How to Become a High School Teacher in Virginia

Aug 17, 2021

Secondary teachers in Virginia can specialize in a specific secondary subject area, or they can pursue certification in a K-12 subject. With an Initial license, teachers will be ready to instruct whatever age group they prefer to teach.

Virginia High School Teachers' Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Secondary Teachers in Virginia (2019)* $69,070
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education, content area
Testing Requirements VCLA, Praxis subject tests

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

To become a teacher in Virginia, students need to pursue a bachelor's degree and complete an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. Each program will offer different classes depending on the content area a student chooses to specialize in, like math or chemistry. All students will have to take education courses to prepare to lead a classroom. While every program will offer various courses, most will include options like:

  • Methods and assessments in secondary school
  • Child development
  • Instruction in secondary education
  • Educational psychology

All students will be expected to complete student teaching experiences prior to graduation. This piece of the education program will ensure that students are prepared to enter their own classrooms and will be comfortable with educational strategies.

Step 2: Take All Required Tests

There are several exams that teachers in Virginia need to take. The first required exam is the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA). This exam consists of a reading subtest and a writing subtest. The reading portion has 40 multiple-choice questions while the writing subtest includes 40 multiple-choice questions, 3 short answers, 1 summary question, and 1 written assignment. Together, these parts of the test should take up to 4 hours. A score of 470 or higher is required on this exam, and they cost $80 together. Teachers will pay an additional $50 processing fee at the time of registration.

Next, teachers will take the applicable Praxis subject assessment. The test you take depends on the prospective content area. For instance, a future chemistry teacher would take the Chemistry: Content Knowledge exam, which requires a score of 153 or higher. A future English teacher will take the English Language Arts: Content Knowledge exam, which requires a score of at least 167.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

When all testing is complete, teachers will then begin the application process. There is a detailed guide to applying for the Initial License available on the Department of Education's website, so be sure to check that all requirements have been met prior to turning in the application. The completed application form must be turned in along with the $50 application fee and college verification form. Test scores should also be included in addition to all official transcripts. At some point during the application process, teachers will take the Child Abuse and Neglect Recognition and Intervention training module, and at the time of application they will hand in a certificate of completion. Teachers will need to be First Aid-, CPR-, and AED-certified as well, and they will need to provide documentation during the application process. Additionally, teachers must complete Dyslexia Awareness training and provide documentation. Finally, verification of Virginia's Technology Standards for School Personnel will need to be included in the application packet. Once all of this documentation is collected in one packet, it can be submitted and teachers will receive their Initial License.

Study Resources for Future Virginia Teachers

Students who want to start studying for the VCLA and Praxis assessments can take a look at the study guides below. With practice problems and tips, the guides can help students to prepare for the big day.

  • Praxis: Study Guide & Practice
  • VCLA: Study Guide & Practice
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