Career Switcher Program Overview

The Career Switcher Program consists of two Phases:

Phase I
Phase I (consisting of 150 hours), teaches our students how to teach, and includes topics on the foundations of education, human growth and development, curriculum, instruction and assessment, teaching with technology, classroom management, reading in the content area and more.

In addition to this instruction, Career Switchers will also be placed in participating schools systems to observe classes and to teach selected lessons (a 40 hour practicum field placement). This placement will begin approximately five weeks after beginning Phase I.

Upon successful completion of Phase I, Shenandoah University issues Career Switchers a Phase I Certificate of Completion and submits the student’s credentials to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) for review. This packet contains student’s original Career Switcher application form, the fee for processing the application, documentation of 5 years full time work experience, official transcripts, a record of your passing scores in Praxis II and VCLA, and confirmation of your successful completion of Phase I of the Career Switcher program.  

Once the Department of Education has reviewed your packet, they issue a Career Switcher Provisional License with endorsement(s) to teach in your subject area(s). The student’s first one year, Career Switcher provisional teaching license is issued immediately. The Career Switcher provisional license is valid for one year and may be renewed two additional times for one year terms each, if needed.  The “renewal” or activation of the two remaining dormant licenses is done by the school division who hires you, under contract, to teach.


Phase II
Once the Career Switcher secures full time employment OR half-time employment with a public school division or a state-approved accredited private school in Virginia, the student enters Phase II of Career Switchers. 

During this first year of teaching, Career Switchers will work with a trained mentor teacher who will help improve skills and performance, support morale, and work with the new teacher to put theory into practice.  

Career Switchers are also required to meet again with Shenandoah University as a class for an additional 20 hours of professional development.  These workshops provide an opportunity for the new teachers to discuss experiences in the classroom, update skills in curriculum and instruction, classroom and behavior management and human growth development.

It is only upon successful completion of Phase II that Career Switchers will have completed all of the requirements necessary to receive full-licensure to teach in Virginia.  

After Phase II, students are eligible to receive a five-year renewable license. The school system that employs the Career Switcher will submit the recommendation for the five-year renewable license. 

Failure to complete all the requirements in Phase II means students are not eligible to receive their five-year renewable license.

Please note that the Career Switcher Provisional license issued after completion of Phase I is recognized only in Virginia.  Once Phase II is completed and the Professional License is issued, there is reciprocity with most states.