How to Become a Middle School Teacher in Virginia

Jul 02, 2020

Middle school is generally the time when students first experience divided classes. This is a transition for many kids from being children to young adults, and it can be a fun and scary time. Here, we'll discuss the steps to gaining a license as a Virginia middle school teacher.

Requirements for Virginia Middle School Teachers

Average Salary for Middle School Teachers in Virginia (2019)* $71,920
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Language Arts, Math, Science, History, Social Studies, or Education
Testing Requirements Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) subtests Reading and Writing; Praxis Middle School English Language Arts, Praxis Middle School Mathematics, Praxis Middle School Science, or Praxis Middle School Social Studies

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Middle school teachers can be endorsed in four different areas in Virginia: math, English language arts, social studies, and science. Virginia requires its teachers to complete any bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program. Students may opt to pursue a bachelor's in liberal studies with a licensure component in their preferred content area (e.g., biology, English, mathematics). Others may choose to major in their preferred content area with a licensure component that focuses on the required education courses. In a licensure component, you'll spend time studying communication disorders, safety for students, engaging youth in learning, phonetics, education policy, education psychology, and technology in the classroom. You'll also need to complete a student teaching practicum that puts you in the classroom.

Many Virginia colleges offer teacher education advanced degree programs, often called 4+1 programs, through which you can earn a bachelor's degree, a master's degree., and teacher licensure Schools also offer standalone teacher prep certificate and master's programs.

Step 2: Pass Required Exams

The Virginia Communications and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) is an important basic knowledge test. This exam has two subtests in reading and writing. These tests can be taken individually or together, and there is really no incentive for doing it either way. It is $40 per exam. You'll also be given two hours for each exam. Also, you need to score 235 on each exam.

The Praxis exam is where you'll show your knowledge of the content area you plan to teach. As mentioned above, there are four endorsements. The four exams you may take for endorsement are Middle School English Language Arts, Middle School Social Studies, Middle School Science, and Middle School Mathematics. Each exam is set up differently, and you can see how on the table below.

Subject Area Time Allotted Number of Questions Minimum Score
English 160 minutes 110 multiple choice, 2 constructed responses 164
Social Studies 120 minutes 55 numeric entry and multiple choice 160
Science 150 minutes 125 multiple choice 150
Math 120 minutes 90 multiple choice and 3 constructed responses 165

Step 3: Fulfill Other Required Training

Virginia has some other training that is required for teachers. The first is a first aid certification. This should include CPR and defibrillator training. This can be completed with organizations like the American Heart Association.

You'll also need to complete two training sessions online. The first is in dyslexia awareness. This can be complete for free on the state's Department of Education website. The second training class is offered by the Department of Social Services. This free training focuses on child abuse and neglect recognition.

Certification Resources for Virginia Middle School Teachers

Becoming a middle school teacher requires a lot of training and exams. If you would like help studying for the Praxis assessments and the VCLA, check out the resource links below.

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