ACADEMICS/PROGRAMS
FAQs for teacher candidates

If you are interested in becoming a PreK-12 teacher, the following information will help you understand the process in reaching your goal. There is a difference between requirements for teaching PreK as compared to teaching from 6th-12th grade. If you have further questions after reviewing the information below, please email June Jones at jbjones1@vcu.edu

Getting started: I want to be a teacher

I want to be a teacher.  Where do I start?
First of all, you need to know if you want to teach elementary or middle/high school students.
If you wish to teach elementary students (Pre-K through Grade 6), you will need to enroll in the Extended Teacher Preparation program to earn the undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies for Early/Elementary program (LSEE) and the Master of Teaching degree (M.T.) in Early and Elementary Education. For more information on the LSEE program for Early/Elementary, please visit  http://www.lsee.vcu.edu/index.html

When you finish, you will receive your bachelor’s degree, your master’s degree, and will be eligible for full teacher licensure (also known as certification) in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you wish to teach middle and high school students ( Grades 6-12), you will need to decide which subject (content) area you want to teach, and you must major in that subject (e.g., to teach English, you must major in English).  You will need to enroll in the Extended Teacher Preparation program to earn the undergraduate degree in the content area (such as English, Mathematics, Science or History/Social Studies) and the Master of Teaching degree (M.T.) in Secondary Education.   For more information on a content area please visit http://uc.vcu.edu/academic-advising/ and, for information regarding the Master of Teaching degree, please CLICK HERE.

When you finish, you will receive your bachelor’s degree, your master’s degree and will be eligible for full teacher licensure (or also known as certification) in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I already have a B.A. or B.S. degree.  Do I have to get another one to be in your graduate program?
No, you do not.  If you have a degree in liberal arts (such as history, psychology, music, etc.), you can apply to the Master of Teaching (M.T.) in Early/Elementary.  After review of your official transcripts, we will advise you if you need extra courses at the undergraduate level (such as math or science), and you will take those prior to applying to the M.T. or along with your M.T. in Early/Elementary.

Similarly, you can apply to the M.T. in Secondary Education with your B.A. or B.S., but you must have a major –or the equivalent of a major—in the subject area you want to teach.  So, if you have a B.A. in Mass Communications and want to teach English, you will need extra courses at the undergraduate level to make up the equivalent of English major.  If you have a B.S. in Computer Science and want to teach Mathematics, you will need extra courses at the undergraduate level to make up the equivalent of Mathematics major. Once you have the major or its equivalent, you can begin your graduate work for the M.T. in Secondary Education.

Transferring from another college or university

I am currently at another college or university and want to transfer to VCU.  Who can advise me?
If you wish to be in our Early/Elementary program (Pre-K through Grade 6), you need to contact the VCU LSEE (Liberal Studies for Early Elementary) Office

If you wish to be in our Secondary Education program (Grades 6-12), you need to contact the University College (804-827-8648) for information about your undergraduate major in the subject you wish to teach or contact the School of Education’s Student Services Center (804- 827-2670).

Will my life or work experiences count for the M.T. degree?
We do not offer academic credit for life experience; you will have to take courses or, in some cases, ask that courses be transferred from another institution to VCU; we accept up to six graduate credits of courses that are equivalent to those that we offer in our program.

Is there a shorter program that you offer which leads to teacher licensure/certification?
Yes.  In our Secondary Education program (Grades 6-12), you can complete our Post Baccalaureate Certificate.  Depending on the content area (Science, for example, or History), it requires 6 fewer credits than the master’s degree.  It carries teacher licensure/certification. There is no Post Baccalaureate program in Early/ Elementary Education.

Teacher preparation

What is Teacher Preparation, and when do I submit my application for admission to Teacher Preparation?
Upon completion of 60 credits and completion of one semester at VCU, students may apply for our Admission to Teacher Preparation program. Degree holders must concurrently apply for admission to Teacher Preparation and VCU Graduate School. Applications may be found on the Student Services Center webpage. Teacher Preparation applications for Fall semester are due by April 1. Teacher Preparation applications for Spring semester are due by October 15.
What do I need to submit when I apply to Teacher Preparation?

  • Completed application
  • 3.0 GPA (for graduate admissions) 2.8 GPA (for Extended Teacher Preparation students)
  • Foundations requirement (completion of EDUS 301 or TEDU 101 or equivalent transfer course from another university)
  • Personal Statement
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (Extended Teacher Preparation student transcripts will be obtained by the School of Education Student Services Center).
  • All applications must be reviewed and signed by academic advisor (for details contact the School of Education Student Services Center at 804- 827-2670).

What are the required tests for admission to Teacher Preparation? CLICK HERE
Where do I find information on the PRAXIS? For information regarding registration, test administration, fees, the policy for testing individuals with handicapping conditions, please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) at
www.ets.org

Hearing impaired individuals using a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) may call 800-275- 1391 for information.
How do I register locally for the computer-based PRAXIS test?
Students may also register for a computer- based version of the Praxis Tests which are given Monday-Friday at:

Prometric Testing Center
4212 Parkplace Court
Richmond/Glen Allen, VA 23060
Phone: (804) 346-8777
Customer service: 1-800-853-6769

What is considered a passing score on the PRAXIS?

  • Math (5732) — a score of 150
  • Reading (5712) — a score of156
  • Writing (5722) — a score of 162

Composite scores for tests taken prior to January 1, 2014, will be accepted.  Effective January 1, 2014, applicants must achieve the passing score on each subtest as composite scores will no longer be allowed.

Are there other tests I can take in lieu of the PRAXIS?Scores from the SAT or ACT may satisfy the Praxis requirement for admission to teacher preparation as follows:

  • SAT taken prior to April 1, 1995—a score of 1000 with at least 450 on the verbal and 510 on the mathematics tests
  • SAT taken after April 1, 1995 — a score of 1100 with at least 530 on the verbal and 530 on the mathematics tests
  • ACT taken prior to April 1, 1995 — a composite score of 21, with the ACT mathematics score no less than 21, and an ACT English plus reading score no less than 37
  • ACT taken after April 1, 1995 — a composite score of 24, with the ACT mathematics score no less than 22, and an ACT English plus reading score no less than 46

Graduate admissions

What do I need to submit when I apply to Graduate Studies?

  • Completed online application
  • Application fee
  • 3.0 GPA on  last 60 credit hours of coursework
  • Personal Statement
  • Three (3) academic or professional references
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Acceptable scores on GRE or Miller Analogies tests

For more details visit the Graduate Admissions website at: http://www.soe.vcu.edu/prospective-students/graduate-admissions/ and http://graduate.admissions.vcu.edu/apply

I am below the minimum of a 3.0 GPA on the last 60 hours of my coursework.  What can I do to be admitted to Graduate Studies? 
You will need to take extra courses to bring up your GPA; 3.0 is a minimum requirement, and we rarely make exceptions.

When is the application deadline for Graduate Admissions?
The deadline for Spring admission is November 1. The deadline for Summer admission is March 15, and the deadline for Fall admission is March 15.  Some graduate programs accept students only in the fall. Check the Graduate Bulletin for dates specific to your chosen program  CLICK HERE

What is an acceptable reference?
We accept reference letters from anyone who can speak to your academic or professional abilities; professors/instructors (college level), supervisors, or co-workers. We may NOT use references from family, friends, or clergy (unless applicant is employed by a religious organization).

I’m a transfer student to VCU.  Are you able to get my transcripts from the undergraduate department in which I’m enrolled?
No, the Office of Graduate Studies requires original, official transcripts. Undergraduate departments can only provide photocopies of transcripts; these are not accepted.

How long does the Graduate Admissions application process take?
For a completed application packet, the usual turnaround time for a decision is 6-8 weeks. If an application is missing any required components, it will delay the process further. Once all materials are received, the application can then be sent for review.

What are the tests required for Graduate Admissions? CLICK HERE

Student teaching, internship, externships

When do I submit my application for student teaching, internship or externship?
There are several different applications for externship/internship so make sure you are submitting the  correct one for your program. Applications are available on the Student Services Center website. Student teaching applications for Fall semester are due by February 1. Student teaching applications for Spring semester are due by September 1.

*PLACEMENT LOCATIONS ARE BASED ON THE AVAILABILITY/DISCRETION OF THE SURROUNDING SCHOOL DIVISIONS—YOU MAY OR MAY NOT GET YOUR FIRST CHOICE*

What tests are required for admission to student teaching, internship/externship?

  • Praxis II in the content area
  • VCLA (Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment)
  • TB results (must be negative)

Teacher licensure/certification

What is teacher licensure/certification?
Every state in the U.S. has a licensure/certification program for teachers in the public schools.  Your bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree may not contain extra courses (such as classroom management) or experiences (such as student teaching or internship) that lead to teacher licensure.  Here at VCU your Master of Teaching degree will incorporate the requirements for teacher licensure or certification, and you will apply to that part of our program at the conclusion of your student teaching or internship.  Your teacher licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia can also be used in over 40 other states with which we have reciprocity.

How do I apply for my teacher licensure/certification through the Commonwealth of Virginia?
Licensure/certification forms are available on the Virginia Department of Education’s website at www.doe.virginia.gov.  Complete the form, attach the fee required by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education, and submit it to the  School of Education Student Services Center (contact the Center at 804-827-2670  for details). The information is forwarded to the Virginia Department of Education, and it can take two to three months for processing.

I do not want to complete your programs but want to be licensed/certified to teach.  What courses do you offer, and how can I get certified?
We only offer an approved program which leads to teacher licensure/ certification, but you are welcome to take some of our courses which are open to all students.  However, if you are hired by a school district to teach, you could take courses here to fulfill the requirements, and your school district would recommend you for licensure.   VCU does not offer alternative certification, and you would need to talk to your school district or to the Virginia Department of Education about teacher licensure/certification requirements.

Additional information

What programs do you offer online?  Can I do this program part-time?  In the evening?
We offer some courses online, but at this point no entire programs are offered online.  We welcome students who are full time or part time, and many of our courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening.

How long does it take to complete the Master of Teaching?
For the Early/Elementary program, most of our students complete the degree in four semesters.  For the Secondary Education program, most of our students complete the degree in three semesters; some take longer if they are part time students.