School of Education

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Career Switcher Program

Program Goals

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)

Learn more about the program levels.

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.

Please contact Tessa Boutwell (, if you have additional questions about the program.



Apply Today for the 2022-2023 Cohort

Application Packets for the 2022-2023 cohort are due by June 3, 2022. To get started, click below to learn more about the application process.

Endorsement Areas

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
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • 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.)

Future Teacher Program Guidance Chart



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.
  1. Academic Skills Assessment: Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA)
  2. 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:

Program Schedule

The Pathways to Teaching: Career Switcher Program offers a flexible schedule and affordable fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

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