community college career switcher program in Virginia?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by diddlescakes, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. diddlescakes

    diddlescakes New Member

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    Apr 27, 2014

    I recently graduated from VCU with a Ba in fine arts concentration in theater, I do not have my teaching license but have taken many teaching English classes and all the required Praxis test to teach English. I have heard some negative things about the career switcher program and am not sure which step to take next to get my teaching license! I am looking for advice/ personal stories that might guide me in the right direction! Thank you for reading!
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Apr 27, 2014

    I teach in Virginia, and I got my BA in Music.

    My advice to you would be to get my Master's Degree in whatever you'd like to teach. As a general rule, career switcher programs are meant for older folks, and you will have a MUCH easier time finding a job in Virginia with a Master's degree. It's a little more time consuming and expensive, but you need to get your Master's anyway, and it will get you a higher starting pay. I did a Master's program in initial inclusive childhood education... long story short, I have certificates in special ed, elementary ed, and music.

    Whatever you do in Virginia, if at all possible, get your SPED certificate. You don't have to do it for a long time, but special ed jobs pretty much grow on trees in Virginia (and the DC metro area), and it's an excellent way to nudge your way into your district of choice.
     
  4. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    To qualify for a Virginia career switcher program, you must have five documented years of full-time work experience. Since you just graduated, it is probably beneficial just to get your master's degree at this point unless you're willing to wait. You also get a full license with a master's degree program vs. a provisional career-switcher license. This makes a big difference if you're going to be picky about divisions to work for because there are some that absolutely will not hire candidates with a provisional license. Found that out the hard way!

    There are a couple of different options for programs and I looked at the VCCS program too, but didn't like that it was online and you were going to have to figure out your own observation placements. Also, VCCS only makes you observe a teacher, rather than actually student teach.

    I went through the Shenandoah University career switcher program and thought it was it excellent preparation for teaching. Exactly what you need to know to be an effective teacher and not a ton of the theoretical stuff. They have spring and fall co-horts in Winchester, Loudoun, and Fredericksburg. The best thing is that they arrange your practicum teaching experience for you and have the most stringent practicum teaching requirements. I finished in June of 2013 and was hired full-time for the fall. I am finished with my Phase II workshops and just need my division to sign-off that I had a successful first year of teaching and then I'll receive my full professional collegiate license!
     
  5. diddlescakes

    diddlescakes New Member

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    Apr 27, 2014

    Thanks for the advice! I am 29 so I do have plenty of work experience so the 5 years is fine. Since you guys think I should go the route of getting a masters what do you think of getting it through an online university, I have 3 kids so it would be easier. I'll have to look into the program you mentioned in Shenandoah. I might as well ask since I just thought about it, if anyone knows if a school division will hire a theater teacher without a teaching license? Because there isn't really any test for that subject? insight? like I said I have 3 children and I am desperate to find a decent paying job, I love working with kids so I choose to be a teacher. I was supposed to graduate from VCU with a teaching license to be able to teach middle or high school English or theater, however, VCU got rid of my major and I didn't finish in time to get that degree. All I had left was the final semester of student teaching, but they wouldn't let me do it so now I have the BA but no license!
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You aren't going to find many schools that hire a theater teacher, period, let alone hire one without a certificate. If your goal is to get teaching in the shortest time possible, I'd definitely lean towards getting your Master's degree. Or alternately, see if you qualify to student teach and get a second bachelor's degree. English tends to be a very competitive field... I don't think a career switcher program would get the job done for finding a job.

    There's a stigma against online degree programs, but you won't run into that if it's a reputable school. A lot of master's programs have cohorts that only meet evenings... that's how my program was. It was great... I could work a 7-3 job, get dinner ready, and then go to school. I didn't have kids then though. Online classes require a LOT of self-motivation.
     
  7. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    I hate to say this, but if you don't have time to complete a certification program, then you don't have time to be a teacher. I think most would agree you stay hours before and after school just to get things done. Especially a theater teacher will be doing this for plays. If you can't fit in an in person program then you don't have time to be a teacher. Districts will see if you did online and will question how much time you can devote as easily as I am doing it from just seeing your post on the internet. It is one thing to be established and then have kids but it is another to start brand new. Just wondering if you have a plan for your kids once you are teaching and staying before and after school to get your work done. If so, put that plan into action to get your degree in person.
     
  8. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    One of my friends got her master's in education from University of Phoenix and ended up getting a job in Fairfax County right after. Granted that's where she did her student teaching and she's a Fairfax County grad. So it can definitely be done under the right circumstances!

    Shenandoah's classes meet once a week in the evening for 3.5 hours and then all-day every other Saturday so it does work for those who are working full-time. Many of my classmates had children and found a way to make it work.

    Maybe look around and see if any private schools are hiring? I know they will hire new teachers who are not certified as long as their college transcripts look great.

    But yes, teaching is definitely long-hours. I don't even want to think about how many hours I worked last week/this weekend:dizzy:
     
  9. diddlescakes

    diddlescakes New Member

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    Ayla, I didn't say I didn't have the time?! Its more the money situation, I'd be paying money to go to school and pay for child care. I don't quite understand your statement where you are implying that I am not a hard worker by asking about an online program. I have worked hard to finish my original degree while "physically" attending classes, working nights, and raising 3 kids for the last 10 years, I am a very hard worker and realize by teaching theater I would have to put in many after school hours! I asked about doing online classes because obviously my school debt continues to grow and yes it would be easier. Maybe your right the school district will look and see how much time and effort I have put into it, and they should!
     
  10. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    Apr 28, 2014

    No need to be so defensive. Online programs are not viewed to be as rigorous.

    You'll be paying money for child care as a teacher also. In my department we worked out that 3 kids usually is past the break-even point for teacher salaries when child care is necessary. Please research this before you jump into this profession.
     
  11. cmkrmc

    cmkrmc New Member

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    Apr 28, 2014

    I would recommend the mary baldwin college richmond campus...I have learned a lot and all the classes star at 5 or later so you can work while getting your masters. BMW I started online through liberty university...dont waste your time with that one. Like others have said, English can be tough to get a job in. If you are going to get a masters anyway I would get it in either elementary ed or special ed then just add the English license on through testing.
     

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