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How to Become a Spanish Teacher in Virginia

Often, foreign languages are taught at younger grades, since this is when students can easily retain new languages. If you'd like to be a Spanish teacher at any grade level in Virginia, we can help you learn the pathway ahead.

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, Hispanics make up 9.4% of the state of Virginia. With nearly a tenth speaking Spanish at home, it makes sense that students will need to learn this popular language. To learn how to become a Spanish teacher in Virginia, simply follow these steps.

Requirements for Virginia Spanish Teachers

Average Salary for Teachers in Virginia (2017)* $68,460 (Elementary School)
$67,770 (Middle School)
$69,890 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Spanish
Testing Requirements Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) subtests Reading and Writing; Praxis Spanish: World Languages

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

The most basic path to teacher licensure in Virginia is completing a bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program. Students have a few options, which include a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Foreign Language with a concentration in Spanish and a licensure component and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a licensure component. Whichever route you choose, you'll be taking courses in conversational Spanish, Spanish literature, foreign language assessment, teaching modern foreign languages, Spanish culture, and advanced Spanish grammar. Along with courses in education and Spanish culture and civilizations, you'll need to complete field experience in a Spanish classroom. This gives you the opportunity to get experience under a skilled mentor.

Other approved programs for licensure offered by many Virginia schools include a 4+1 program -- which results in a bachelor's degree, a Master of Teaching degree, and licensure -- standalone master's programs, and standalone teacher preparation programs.

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Step 2: Pass Required Exams

There are two tests that you'll need to take to become a Spanish teacher. The first is the VCLA (Virginia Communications and Literacy Assessment) This exam will look at your basic knowledge of literacy and communication through a reading subtest and a writing subtest. For each exam, there is a $40 fee. You must complete both exams within four hours, which means you'll be answering 80 multiple-choice questions (40 on each test), four constructed-response questions and two essays in the allotted time. In order to count this toward licensure, you must earn a score of 235 on each exam.

The second exam you'll take is the Praxis Spanish: World Languages test. There is no exact timeframe in which this must be completed, since there are more parts than a typical multiple-choice test, but three hours is the approximation for this exam. You'll be tested on five areas: listening, reading, cultural knowledge, writing, and speaking. There are also two 10-minute portions that are not tested to help you warm up. In order to teach students K-12, you'll need a score of 168.

Step 3: Fulfill Other Required Training

While learning and testing are the difficult parts, there are still some other things that Virginia asks of its teachers. You must obtain CPR certification that includes first aid and AED training. This can be obtained through a number of organizations, including the Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Sometimes, local churches and schools sponsor these as well.

You'll also need to complete two online training programs. These typically can be completed in one sitting, if you have the time. The first training is offered through the Department of Education. This is on recognizing dyslexia and its symptoms. The other class is given through the Department of Social Services. This one looks for the warning signs of child abuse or neglect. Both of these are free to take.

Certification Resources for Virginia Spanish Teachers

Knowledge can be a hard thing to retain, second languages even more so. Consider the following resources to help you study for your VCLA and Spanish Praxis exam.

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