Private schools in Virginia tend to be self-regulating, though special criteria and qualifications must be met by the school as a whole. Here, we'll look at what some of those teaching qualifications might be.
Requirements for Private School Teachers in Virginia
|Average Salary for Teachers in Virginia (2017)*||$39,180 (Preschool), $67,760 (Kindergarten), $68,460 (Elementary School), $67,770 (Middle School), $69,890 (Secondary School)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Understand Issues Affecting Private School Teachers
Private schools tend to have different criteria and requirements than their public counterparts. There is currently no state requirement for private school teachers to have a teaching license. Private school teachers are not just difficult to pin down with certification requirements, many private schools vary in pay and employment. Some are well-established schools that are well-accredited, others are not. It is important when applying to a private school that you look into the job postings and possibly do research about the school. For instance, if you are a devout Muslim, you may find it uncomfortable to teach at an all-girls Catholic school.
Step 2: Complete Education
As mentioned before, there are no specific education requirements for teachers. It is safest to say that most schools would prefer you to have some college under your belt, preferably in the subject you'll want to teach or education. These programs tend to teach you about the basic instructional theories, pedagogical practices, and classroom environments that work best for student learning. Many Virginia universities offer bachelor's degree programs that include teacher preparation programs (TPP). While a TPP is important for state licensure, it will also be helpful when preparing for a teaching role at a private school, as this is where you'll learn a lot about child development, educational psychology, and lesson plans. During this step, you'll also complete a teaching practicum with an experienced teacher, who will show you the ropes of running a classroom.
Step 3: Complete Exams (Optional)
Though it isn't likely necessary that you take these exams, licensed teachers must complete several, and it may be a good idea to get them behind you in case you want to seek professional teaching licensing. You must take the VCLA, which is the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment. It is made up of two tests on reading and writing. To pass this exam, you must complete all multiple-choice questions and essays (in the writing portion) with a score of 235 or higher for each subtest.
Outside of the VCLA, you can also take one of the Praxis exams. If you are just starting out and still finding your subject or grade level, you may want to wait on selecting the corresponding Praxis exam. This is only necessary for professional licensure if you should choose to seek it.
Step 4: Fulfill Other Requirements (Optional)
Licensed teachers must also complete training in dyslexia awareness and child abuse recognition. These training videos are available for free online and take roughly an hour to complete. Teachers also must have CPR certification, and you can see on some job postings that this is a requirement or a benefit (they provide the CPR training) with the private school. Be sure to look at what the position asks of you before applying.
Also, consider looking into the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). They work with over 95 private schools in the state to guarantee good education to students. Their website also provides information on job openings at their accredited schools.
Certification Resources for Virginia Private School Teachers
As mentioned above, you may find it useful to take some of the licensing exams prior to looking for a job with a private school. These study guide links can help you prepare for any of the Praxis exams.