Career Switcher Program
The goal of the VCU Pathways to Teaching: Career Switcher Program is to equip and support second career professionals for the transition to teach in urban and high-needs schools.
The VCU SOE Pathways to Teaching: Career Switcher Program provides an efficient path to the classroom for many individuals interested in pursuing a career in PreK-12 education. Students matriculate through various levels of the program in cohorts. there are two required levels to program completion.
- Level I: Year 1 - Face-to-face course modules and field experiences (two academic semesters)
- Level II: Year 2 - One year full-time employment, monthly seminars, and mentors
- Level III: Year 3 - Optional access to professional development and additional mentor support year three (VCU program completer additional benefit)
More About the Career Switcher Program
The VCU School of Education recognizes the importance of multiple pathways for entrance into the teaching profession and for attaining full licensure. This VCU Pathways to Teaching: Career Switcher Program alternative route program is created and designed specifically to meet the needs in urban and high needs school divisions, as well as the specific needs of prospective teachers who come from other careers and with considerable life experiences. This accelerated program will move prospective teachers into the classroom early, as a full-time teacher, earning a salary, while working with experienced teachers and university education faculty. Furthermore, the VCU program can meet the needs of a specific local setting, preparing teachers close to home, where they are likely to stay and consequently improve retention of fully licensed teachers in those school divisions.
The Pathways to Teaching: Career Switcher Program is distinctive in its focus on recruitment and admission of highly qualified teacher education candidates, a curriculum with strong pedagogical principles based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the involvement of the community as vital partners, competency-based exit requirements that ensure teachers are equipped to be successful in urban and high needs classrooms aVCU Induction Mentor Program during Level II.
VCU Pathways to Teacher: Career Switcher Program Goals
- To engage, prepare, and support success for diverse and experienced professionals that seek to transition to the classroom and provide
quality education for students in urban and high-needs schools.
- To cultivate a passion for equity and social justice in diverse urban and high-need settings and develops talented career-changers to be
effective and informed teachers.
The following endorsement areas are offered through the Career Switcher Program:
- Health and Physical Education PreK-12
- Foreign Languages PreK-12 (French, German, Spanish)
- English as a Second Language PreK-12
- Career and Technical Education – Business and Information Technology*
- Career and Technical Education – Marketing Education*
- Career and Technical Education – Technology Education*
- Career and Technical Education – Family and Consumer Sciences*
- Science – Biology
- Science – Chemistry
- Science – Earth Science
- Science – Physics
- History and Social Studies
- Algebra I add-on endorsement (available as an additional endorsement; candidate must seek endorsement in another area in order to have this endorsement added)
- Computer Science
All endorsements are for grades 6-12 unless otherwise indicated.
(*Industry certification required to be completed prior to recommendation for Level II.)
An individual seeking a provisional license through the VCU SOE Pathways to Teaching: Career Switcher Program must meet the following prerequisite requirements:
- Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university;
- Have at least three years of full-time work experience or its equivalent;
- Begin the process for taking the VCU Career Switcher Program Qualifying Exams.
- Academic Skills Assessment: Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA)
- Content Assessment: Praxis Subject Assessment
Candidates will be required to take, pass, and submit testing results with their Career Switcher Program applications.
Have you taken the VCLA or Praxis Subject Assessment? Scores from tests taken within the past 5 years may be used to meet progam admission requirements.
Resources to Assist with Testing Requirements
The following resources will assist with testing requirements:
Frequently Asked Questions
● Health and Physical Education PreK-12
● Foreign Languages PreK-12 (French, German, Spanish)
● English as a Second Language PreK-12
● Career and Technical Education – Business and Information Technology*
● Career and Technical Education – Marketing Education*
● Career and Technical Education – Technology Education*
● Career and Technical Education – Family and Consumer Sciences*
● Science – Biology
● Science – Chemistry
● Science – Earth Science
● Science – Physics
● History and Social Studies
● Algebra I add-on endorsement (available as an additional endorsement; candidate must seek endorsement in another area in order to have this endoresement added)
● Computer Science
All endorsements are for grades 6-12 unless otherwise indicated. *Industry certification required to be completed prior to recommendation for Level II
Endorsements in elementary education PK-6 or special education are not offered at this time, with the exception of those subjects listed above as PK-12
You will need to pass the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA) and the PRAXIS subject assessment for the endorsement area you would like to teach. Click here to access VCU Career Switcher Program Qualifying Exams. The entry assessment demonstrates your content knowledge aligned with your teaching endorsement area. The Pathways program curriculum is not based on content, but pedagogy supporting the method and art of teaching the content. Download the for more infomation.
The program cost is $5,500 ($5,000 for Level I and $500 for Level II). Click here for details and payment options. Fees do not include the cost of textbooks, entry assessment, Virginia Department of Education licensure application fees, first aid, CPR/AED training, or fingerprinting/criminal background check.
During the first year of the program (Level I) classes meet face-to-face every other weekend from August to June. Classes are held on Fridays from 6 p.m. -9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. -5 p.m. (except holidays). During the second year of the program (Level II) seminars will be held monthly.
Due to COVID-19, all Career Switcher classes will be offered virtually until further notice.
Under normal circumstances, there is no current option to complete the program fully online.
Due to COVID-19, all classes are offered in a virtual format for the academic year 2020-2021. A decision has not yet made about 2021-2022.
There are two required levels to program completion.
Level I: Year 1 -Face-to-face course modules and field experiences (two academic semesters)
Level II: Year 2 -One year full-time employment, monthly seminars, and mentors
Level III: Year 3 -Optional access to professional development and additional mentor supportyear three (VCU program completer additional benefit)
Please refer to the levels in the previous question.
1.Candidates will apply for the Provisional Career Switcher License after completing Level I. The provisional license is good for one year.
2.After completing Level II, candidates will be evaluated and recommended to apply for a ten-year renewable license. Alternatively, a one-year extension of the Provisional Career Switcher License may be requested.
Student teaching is not required; however, there is a requirement for 30 hours of clinical experience in the area of endorsement in a school setting during Level I.
Participants who successfully complete Level I requirements (course modules and field experiences) can be issued a Provisional Career Switcher license and are eligible for employment provisionally. For those who begin Level I in August 2020, this means you could start teaching with a provisional license in August 2021. Provisional Career Switcher licenses are good for one year; therefore, Level II is required in order to meet eligibility requirements to apply for the regular renewable licensure.
No, the VA provisional license that you are eligible to receive upon completion of Level I is only a license for teaching in Virginia. The goal of the Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program is to provide an accelerated path for career professionals to enter Virginia’s classrooms. The VCU Career Switcher Program requires the participant to accept a position in a Virginia public or accredited private school upon receiving a Provisional Career Switcher License. If you are considering out-of-state or online alternative programs, it’s important to know that the majority of states require prospective teachers to attend a program that has been approved by that state’s teacher licensing or certification board, or by the licensing or certification board in the state where the program is located.
No. Your work experience does not have to relate to the area that you plan to teach. A unique feature of the Career Switcher Program is that it recognizes the value and life experiences of adults. You should select a content area that you are passionate about and have some experience whether academic or professional. The Praxis subject test will assess your general knowledge of the subject area.
Yes. It is possible to get endorsed in more than one subject area. You would need to take the Praxis subject test in each area in which you are seeking an endorsement. Additional clinical experience hours will also be required. It is best to speak with an advisor if you are considering more than one endorsement area so that you are fully aware of your options.
Yes. Attendance is required at all class meetings given the accelerated format of the program. Extenuating circumstances that would prevent you from attending a class will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
The face-to-face course modules do not award academic credits, nor will the program lead to a university degree.
Program participants must have a federally issued Social Security Number or other identifier for VDOE Career Switcher Provisional License eligibility.