Program gets potential teachers on fast-track

Published 8:50 am Friday, August 14, 2009

The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Career Switcher Program is offered through the Division of Workforce Development at Paul D. Camp Community College. This fast-track program provides professionals with bachelor’s degrees an opportunity to become teachers in critically needed subject areas. Following are details derived from the VCCS Web site.

Career Switcher Program

An alternative path to teacher licensure, the Career Switcher Program through the Virginia Community College System, is designed to attract individuals from various occupational and life experiences to become classroom teachers, thereby increasing the quality and diversity of applicants to the profession.

And the good news for those considering a career switch to teaching is that the traditional four-year teacher training programs are no longer the only way to satisfy state certification requirements. Now, experienced professionals with baccalaureates who are seeking a career change have a way to enter the teaching profession on a fast track.

The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program in Virginia was created in response to critical teachers shortages, particularly in math and science — and as a way to attract individuals who have considerable life experiences, career achievements and academic backgrounds suited to the teaching profession.


Individuals who are interested in enrolling in the Career Switcher Program must apply for admission directly to a certified program provider and must have met these prerequisites: a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; five years of professional work experience; coursework required for the desired teaching area; and qualifying scores on the professional teacher’s examinations: Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA), Praxis II, and the Virginia Reading Assessment (if applicable).


The VCCS Career Switcher Program offers the following benefits:

Preparation to teach in a field with a high job demand

Coursework delivered in a concentrated, fast-track timeframe of 16 weeks

Assistance with preparation and prerequisites prior to program acceptance

Regional advisors to help along the way

Cohort atmosphere—participants will progress with their peers throughout the entire sequence of courses

Course schedules that allow participants to continue working full-time or part-time

Mentoring by seasoned teaching veterans

Supervised classroom experience

Potential for tuition assistance through dislocated worker funding

No penalty “opt out” after an initial classroom observation period

The opportunity to follow a dream and make a difference

Regional Training Site

As a training site for the VCCS Career Switcher Program, PDCCC provides an advisor to help potential switchers with long- and short-range planning during the application period and throughout the process by offering information on all aspects of the program; individualized advice regarding possible areas of endorsement based on previous education and workplace experience; guidance in registering for necessary testing; assistance with understanding the necessary documentation for the application process; steering toward possible sources of financial aid; guidance to information about teaching vacancies and needs in and out of the colleges’ service area; and contact information for other programs if the applicant is interested in areas not included in the VCCS Career Switcher Program (for example, the VCCS Program does not include elementary education). Endorsement areas offered include Middle School Mathematics (grades 6-8); Middle School Science (6-8); Foreign Languages (all grades); English as a Second Language (all grades); Business Education or Computer Science with Algebra I add-on; Biology (6-12); Chemistry (6-12); Earth Science (6-12); Physics (6-12); and Mathematics (6-12).

PDCCC also provides five Saturday distance education compressed video sessions, scheduled during the semester of coursework. The location may vary from campus to campus, depending on the residence of the students involved. There will be two training programs offered each academic year.

For More Information …

For more information on the Career Switcher Program at PDCCC, contact Betsy Brantley, career switcher advisor, at (757) 569-6709.

For details on other programs available at the College, call 569-6700, or visit our Web site at