Certification Requirements to Become a Math Teacher in Virginia

With governmental institutions such as the National Science Foundation, the US Geological Survey, the Pentagon and the CIA providing high tech jobs in Virginia, The state’s high school graduates are expected to have strong math skills if they hope to secure employment with these agencies. A solid foundation in math will prepare Virginia’s students for success with these agencies, whether developing new scientific breakthroughs or cracking enemy encryption codes. Virginia’s math teachers are entrusted with the responsibility of providing this foundational knowledge.

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To become a math teacher in Virginia you will need to apply through the Virginia Department of Education’s Division of Teacher Education and Licensure after satisfying these requirements:

Earn a Degree in Mathematics and Complete a Teacher Prep Program
Complete Virginia’s Required Tests
Apply for a Virginia Teaching License
Renew Your Virginia Teaching License



Step 1. Earn a Degree in Mathematics and Complete a Teacher Prep Program

New students considering college for the first time can become eligible for a teaching license by completing a BA or BS degree in mathematics that also includes an approved teacher preparation program for mathematics.

Following the development of high-level math skills, you will focus on developing skills in pedagogy as part of the educator preparation component of the degree program.

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It should be noted that some of these programs require the completion of the Core Academic Skills for Educators exam detailed in Step 2.

You can expect these preparation programs to cover topics like:

  • Fundamentals of teaching and learning
  • Pedagogical history and theory
  • Strategies for solving mathematical equations
  • Logical and inductive reasoning
  • Lesson plan development
  • Student teaching

Completing a segment of student teaching is essential in any educator preparation program, as this is the point where theory is translated into practice. During your student teaching experience your assigned supervising math teacher will provide assistance and feedback to improve your teaching effectiveness. As part of this segment you will be developing lesson plans and making self-evaluations and assessments.

Candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree

If you already have at least a bachelor’s degree in math, but haven’t completed an approved educator preparation program, you may be eligible for a temporary teaching license. If you are a professional in the field of mathematics and if approved to teach you would need to fulfill any outstanding requirements of a conventional teacher prep program over the course of a three year period. One particularly useful alternate educator preparation resource is the Career Switcher Program.

The Career Switcher Program provides professionals who already have at least a bachelor’s degree in math the opportunity to become math teachers. You may be eligible for this program if you have five years of professional work experience. As part of this program, you will participate in intensive courses on pedagogy and teaching, which will be followed by on-the-job training with a mentoring math teacher.

Out-of-State Reciprocity

If you completed a degree in mathematics along with an approved educator preparation program in your home state, or are currently a fully-licensed math teacher in your home state, you are most likely eligible for teaching certification in Virginia. You will need to submit proof of these achievements to the Department of Education, who will review your transcripts to determine for certain that you are eligible to become a licensed Virginia math teacher.



Step 2. Complete Virginia’s Required Tests

There are several exams you must complete to meet the requirements for math teacher jobs in Virginia. These are:

  • Core Academic Skills for Educators
  • Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment – VCLA
  • Praxis II Mathematics

Core Academic Skills for Educators

The Core Academic Skills for Educators exam is required for entry into some teacher preparation programs in Virginia. This is a series of tests that evaluates your basic skills in three areas to make sure you have the necessary abilities to complete a teacher preparation program. You can take the tests together as once or separately on different occasions:

The Core series is administered through Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment – VCLA

The VCLA will measure your fundamental skills in reading and writing to ensure you have what it takes to communicate at a base level as identified by the State of Virginia. You can take both sub-tests of this exam at once or separately, and in either case you will be allotted four hours for their completion:

  • Reading sub-test: 40 multiple-choice questions
  • Writing sub-test: 40 multiple-choice and 3 short-answer questions, 1 written summary, and 1 written composition

You may find it helpful to consult the VCLA study guide. If you are an out-of-state math teacher with at least three years of experience you do not have to take the VCLA.

Praxis II Mathematics

Like the Core series, this test is also administered by ETS. The mathematics exam is offered in two different formats depending on which grade levels you teach:

    • Study guide
    • 2 hours to complete 55 questions covering:
      •  Algebra
      •  Arithmetic
      • Geometry and data


    • Study guide
    • 150 minutes to complete 60 questions covering:
      • Quantity and numbers
      • Algebra and functions
      • Probability and statistics
      • Discrete mathematics
      •  Calculus
      • Geometry



Step 3. Apply for a Virginia Teaching License

There are two final trainings you must complete before you can submit an application for a teaching license:

In 2013 the requirement of CPR, AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and emergency first aid training was added for all new teachers. Since 2004 prospective teachers have needed to complete the child abuse and neglect training that is available online at no cost. The only tool you will need to complete this is a printer for your resulting certificate of completion.

At this point you will have satisfied all the math teacher certification requirements in Virginia and will be ready to apply for a teaching license. Doing this requires assembling the following materials to be sent in one envelop to the Virginia Department of Education, Division of Teacher Education and Licensure in Richmond at P.O. Box 2120, zip code 23218-2120:

  • Complete application packet
  • $50 in-state application fee, $75 out-of-state application fee
  • Copies of scores from your testing results
  • Official student transcripts
  • Proof that you have completed child abuse and neglect training
  • Proof that you have completed CPR, AED, and emergency first aid training

Once you have earned your teaching license, you can start looking through the employment resources featured on the Department of Education’s job opportunities website.



Step 4. Renew Your Virginia Teaching License

Your Virginia teaching license is valid for five years, and every five-year period you will need to complete 180 professional development points to renew your license. There are eight areas in which you can participate to earn professional development points:

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  • College credit
  • Professional conference
  • Curriculum development for a school or education program
  • Publication of an article
  • Publication of a book
  • Mentoring or supervising a less experienced math teacher
  • Participating in an educational project
  • Participating in professional development activities

One of the stipulations you should consider when completing your renewal credits is about college credits. Under most circumstances license renewal regulations mandate that if you do not have a master’s degree, each renewal period you must earn at least 90 of your professional renewal points through college credit. This is essentially to encourage teachers to work towards earning a master’s degree, such as an MAT, MATL, or M.Ed. In addition to freeing up options for professional development points, a master’s degree will also increase your overall qualifications.

National Board Certification

You may also consider applying for National Board Certification. This certification program is administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), a non-profit nationwide agency. Once you have been employed for three years as a math teacher you may apply for this in one of two areas, depending on the ages of students you teach:

Becoming NBPTS certified will require you to document your own professional development and evidence of your teaching excellence over the course of at least one school year. You will submit this to the NBPTS and take several assessment tests, whose complete review will determine if you are eligible for certification.

In recognition of the effort that goes in to becoming NBPTS certified, the Virginia Board of Education offers the following incentive, depending on the availability of funding, for those who hold National Board Certification:

  • An initial bonus of up to $5,000
  • Up to $2,500 for each additional year you hold NBPTS certification

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