How to Become an Elementary School Teacher in Virginia

Jan 02, 2019

Find out how to get an initial license in Virginia. Read about what kinds of courses preparation programs offer, what Praxis and VLCA testing is like, and what materials are required in the application process.

Elementary educators in Virginia are expected to cover multiple subjects in the classroom and help their students become better readers. The preparation process is designed to help students with this and to make students confident in their respective classrooms.

Virginia Elementary Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Elementary Teachers in Virginia (2017)* $68,460
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Elementary Education
Testing Requirements VCLA, Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects, Praxis Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The state of Virginia requires all prospective elementary school teachers to graduate from an accredited college or university with a bachelor's degree and to complete an approved teacher preparation program. There are several schools in the state that fulfill both of these requirements, though students should be sure to discuss all options with an advisor before making a decision. Each program will require students to complete courses in the areas they will teach - including language arts and mathematics - in addition to education-related courses. Students will also get some teaching experience under their belts with internships. Some potential courses include:

  • Methods and Management in Elementary School
  • Reading and Writing in the Content Area
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Mathematics and Science in Grades PK-6

Step 2: Take All Required Praxis and VCLA Tests

Virginia requires all future teachers to take two categories of tests: the Praxis exams and the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA). The VLCA tests communication and literacy skills among future educators and it is taken on the computer. It consists of a reading and a writing subtest, both of which are made up of 40 multiple-choice questions. The writing subtest also contains 3 short-answer questions, 1 written summary question, and 1 written composition question. All together, the test lasts 4 hours and requires a total score of at least 470. The test costs $80 plus a $50 processing fee.

Next, teachers will take the Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects exam, which is 4.25 hours devoted to reading and language arts, math, social studies, and science. There are four separately timed exams within this test, and questions can be posed in a multiple-choice or numeric-entry format. The final test required for elementary school teachers is the Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education exam. This test is 2 ½ hours long with 100 multiple-choice questions and 3 constructed response questions. The test contains material on assessment and diagnostic teaching, reading development, and analysis, among other topics.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

After the VCLA and Praxis exams have been taken, teachers can apply for their initial license in Virginia. The application will include all required forms, an application fee of $50, a college verification form completed by the university, and a report from the university on the student's internship experience. All test scores and transcripts need to be included, too. There are also several courses teachers need to take prior to applying for licensure. These courses include child abuse and neglect recognition and intervention training, emergency first aid, CPR and AED training, dyslexia awareness training, and technology standards for school personnel. Each of these courses will come with a certificate of completion that must be included in the final application. When all of this is complete, teachers will be qualified for their initial license.

Resources for Future Virginia Teachers

Praxis tests and the VCLA might seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of online resources available to future teachers. Take a look at the guides below for more information on the required exams.

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