Interested in obtaining your Virginia Teaching license through an accelerated route?
If you currently hold a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university and have at least three years of full time work experience or its equivalent, the Career Switcher program may be for you! The Career Switcher Program was created by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to provide an alternative pathway into teaching for individuals who have not completed a teacher preparation curriculum but who have considerable life experiences, career achievements, and academic backgrounds that are relevant for teaching in grade 6 – 12.
The Career Switcher Program is not an approved entry into elementary teaching, special education, or as an add-on to an existing license.
Some of the unique features to our program include:
- All face-to-face instruction
- Small (restricted) class sizes
- A teaching practicum field experience in Phase I
- Methods of Instruction modules in your area of endorsement
The program was very thorough and I felt was well organized . . . I feel that I am fully prepared and confident to teach now.”
— David C.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Career Switcher program questions.
The Career Switcher Program consists of two Phases:
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 3 years full time work experience, official transcripts, a record of your passing scores in Praxis Subject Assessment 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.
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 ten-year renewable license. The school system that employs the Career Switcher will submit the recommendation for the ten-year renewable license.
Failure to complete all the requirements in Phase II means students are not eligible to receive their ten-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.
Locations And Schedules
The Shenandoah University Career Switcher Program Is Offered In Winchester, Leesburg, And Fredericksburg.
Please click the term and locations below for the schedule for your class location:
|Fredericksburg||Fall 2019 Schedule|
|Phase II Meeting Schedule|
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the application deadline for the program?
Applications will be accepted for Leesburg, Fredericksburg and Winchester locations until classes are filled. However, all prerequisites must be satisfied prior to acceptance into our program.
*Please note the PRAXIS Subject Assessment and VCLA test requirements are listed in the Application Information section below.
Is financial aid available for the program?
There is no financial aid available through Shenandoah University. Participants may apply for educational loans through private lending sources. Our financial aid officer can assist you in this regard.
Please contact Financial Aid at (540) 665-4538.
For our Military candidates, GI Bill funds can be used. Please contact Mrs. Niccole Gatliff, VA Certifying Official at 540-542-6508.
Does the program place participants in their practica field placements during Phase I?
Shenandoah University will place Career Switcher students in their practicum field placement with local public schools. We have partnered with over 33 school systems in the state, see the list below for examples. We are wiling to work with any other Virginia school systems through which you may be interested in completing a practicum placement.
- Augusta County
- Clarke County
- Fairfax County
- Frederick County
- Fredericksburg City
- Harrisonburg City
- Loudoun County
- Prince William County
- Rockingham County
- Shenandoah County
- Spotsylvania County
- Stafford County
- Warren County
- Winchester City
Note: All Virginia School Divisions recognize the Career Switcher Licensure program.
Does Shenandoah University assist students with finding employment?
Shenandoah University shares participant information with the human resource departments in local schools. We also provide our students with resume writing assistance, portfolio development, expectations for teaching interviews, job fair notifications and online teaching resources.
Students are expected to complete school division online applications for employment. Networking is also an important component for a teaching job search.
Will I be paid during my initial year of teaching?
You will be paid under contract by your employing school division.
Where can I find Additional Information?
Please read through our pages and feel free to contact our office if you have additional questions.
Assistant Coordinator of the Career Switcher program:
Mrs. Suzanne Park
Phone: (540) 535-3579
Coordinator of the Career Switcher program:
Mrs. Jamie Johnson
Phone: (540) 535-3552
Director of the Career Switcher program:
Mr. Dennis Keffer
Phone: (540) 535-3544
Prerequisites For The Career Switcher Program
Career Switcher prospects must submit a complete application package prior to being accepted into the Career Switcher Program:
- Advanced Deposit Form
- Application Form
- Report on Experience Form(s) verifying three years of full-time work experience (or its equivalent)
- Transcripts showing a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited college/university (must arrive to us in the sealed/stamped envelope from the issuing institution’s Registrars Office)
- Passing Praxis Subject Assessment (subject area content) score
- Passing Virginia Communications and Language Assessment (VCLA) test scores: in both the Reading and Writing subtests
- An up-to-date resume
- Criminal background check (this is initiated through the University)
Detailed information regarding submission of these forms and documents may be found below in the Application Information section.
Shenandoah University can review your transcripts and discuss your background and interests with you in order to help determine what subjects you are best suited to teach.
If you earned your Bachelor’s Degree outside of the USA, please note that you must have your transcript evaluated by an accreditation agency. This must be a course by course evaluation. Click HERE for a list of agencies approved by the VDOE to review transcripts from foreign countries.
Endorsement Areas Offered through SU’s Career Switcher program
Shenandoah University accepts the following areas of endorsement in our Career Switcher program:
- Mathematics 6-12
- English 6-12
- History and Social Science 6-12
- Earth Science
- Foreign Languages PreK-12
- Technology Education
- Family & Consumer Sciences
- Business & Information Technology
- Marketing Education
- ALL Middle School Subjects
- Health and Physical Education PreK-12
- Music PreK-12
- Art PreK-12
- English as a Second Language PreK-12
- Computer Science
Please note that Elementary Education and Special Education are not areas of endorsement offered through the Shenandoah University’s Career switcher program.
Criminal Background Checks
Prior to final acceptance to the SU Career Switcher program, all participants must undergo a criminal background check through Shenandoah University. Information will be distributed to students about this process. Please note that this background check includes a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) check. The fee for this check is in addition to the tuition for the Career Switcher program.
Applicants with any concerns regarding their criminal background check should contact the Coordinator of Education Outreach prior to applying for the program. Some school divisions require their own background check and students completing a field experience in those districts will complete an additional background check at the school division’s expense. Students will be notified of this additional check when beginning their practicum field experience.
Email us at email@example.com with Career Switcher program questions.
Timeline – Suggested test dates in order to meet the requirements for entry into programs for Fall and Spring.
|EVENT||FALL START DATE||SPRING START DATE|
|Register and take Praxis Subject Assessment and VCLA||By August 1,- at the latest||By January 1,- at the latest|
|Latest date to submit an application||August 1, – at the latest (We prefer that applicants submit an application earlier in the term in order to hold a seat for the Fall term, then add required credentials as completed)||December 1, – at the latest (We prefer that applicants submit an application earlier in the term in order to hold a seat for the Spring term, then add required credentials as completed)|
|Complete criminal background check||Prior to August 15||Prior to January 15|
|Phase I Program begins||Late August||Late January|
|Phase I field experiences begin (approximately)||Mid-October||Mid-March|
|Phase I program ends||Late January||End June|
|Phase II program begins||When full time teaching contract by school division has been issued||When full time teaching contract by school division has been issued|
|Phase II class meetings (approximate)||September through April||September through April|
|Phase II mentor assigned||within 2-3 weeks of start of school year and hiring||within 2-3 weeks of start of school year and hiring|
Interested In Learning More About Shenandoah University’s Career Switcher Program? Attend One Of Our Upcoming Open House Events.
Winchester Open House
4.24.19 | @6pm
20 South Cameron Street
Winchester, VA 22601
View the Bowman Building on our campus map.
Fredericksburg Open House
5.8.19 | @6pm
James Monroe High School
2300 Washington Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
View directions to James Monroe High School
Leesburg Open House
4.25.19 | @6pm
44160 Scholar Plaza
View directions to our Leesburg campus (Scholar Plaza) on our campus map.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Career Switcher program questions.
Tuition & Refund Policy
The program cost is $4,890 for the Spring 2019 term. All course materials are included* in the program cost. This payment covers all instruction in both Phase I and Phase II of the program.
The program cost is $4,985 for the Fall 2019 term. All course materials are included* in the program cost. This payment covers all instruction in both Phase I and Phase II of the program.
*An additional background check fee of $60-70 is payable at the beginning of the program, as well as a $100 in-state/ $150 out-of-state licensure fee at the end of Phase I.
Once classes begin, program withdrawals and refunds are considered on a case-by-case basis. Withdrawal and refund requests must be made in writing to the Director of Education Outreach. Withdrawal requests are then reviewed by the Hornet Central Manager, whose decision is final. Any authorized tuition refund will be pro-rated depending upon the request submission date.