How to Become a Preschool Teacher in Virginia

Preschool teachers are often the first introduction to education for children. If you'd like to help instill the importance and fun of education at this early age, consider this article to point you down the right path for licensure in Virginia.

Virginia employs 9,730 preschool teachers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017. If you'd like to learn how to become a preschool teacher in the state of Virginia, this article will walk you through the steps.

Requirements for Licensed Virginia Preschool Teachers

Average Salary for Preschool Teachers in Virginia (2017)* $39,180
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Early Childhood Education
Testing Requirements Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA), Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects, and Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Preschool teachers seeking an initial teaching license need to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. This degree will look at childhood development and classroom management at a much younger age. You'll learn how to create lesson plans, work with students of various backgrounds, and learn how to set up and run childcare or child wellness programs. Some preschool teachers may find work in other childcare settings, such as churches, HeadStart programs, education consultants or even early childhood centers. Bachelor's programs will incorporate a practicum that puts you in the classroom learning under the guidance of a supervising mentor. Be sure that the Department of Education (DOE) approves your teacher preparation program.

Step 2: Complete Required Exams

Virginia requires all teachers to take the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA), as it is used to show basic understanding of communication and literacy. The exam consists of two subtests: reading and writing, and you'll need to score no less than 235 on each subtest. The subtests can be taken together or individually, and cost $40 each.

Teachers looking for endorsement in Early/Primary Education PreK-3 take two additional exams to prove their knowledge. The Praxis offers two of these exams. The first test is called Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education. You'll have 150 minutes to complete two parts of this exam. Part A is a multiple-choice section with 100 questions. Part B has three constructed-response questions and is worth 20% of the score. You must pass with no less than 157 on this exam.

The second Praxis exam to take is the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects assessment. Since this exam tests multiple subjects, it is broken down into four subtests: reading, math, social studies, and science. You can take these subtests separately, or take all at once in a block of time just over four hours. Each subtest is set up differently, given different allotted times, and scores individually. To pass reading and math, you must get above 157; for social studies, you must get over 155; and for science, you must get 159.

Step 3: Complete Other Training

There are three additional training programs you'll need to complete for licensure. First, you'll need to take the child abuse and neglect recognition webinar offered for free by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Next, you'll need to complete the free online training class by the Department of Education about dyslexia awareness. Finally, you'll need to become a certified CPR card-holder. This first aid program must also include a portion about using AEDs.

Step 4: Submit Application

After all requirements have been completed, you'll need to fill out an application requesting initial licensure. This application can be found on the Department of Education website. Then simply put together all of your qualifying documents, application, and an application fee payment ($50 for those in-state and $75 for those out-of-state) into a single packet to be sent in to the Department of Education for processing and approval.

Certification Resources for Virginia Preschool Teachers

To become a preschool teacher in Virginia, you'll need to complete several exams. If you'd like some help studying for these exams, check out the study guide links below.


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