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The Old Dominion University Darden College of Education has offered the Career Switcher Program on behalf of Virginia State Department of Education for the past twelve years. In 1999, the General Assembly requested that the Board of Education develop an alternative pathway to teaching which would positively impact Virginia's teacher shortages. ODU was approached by the Department of Education to create and run the state's pilot Career Switcher Program. Since then, our program has trained thousands of Career Switchers who have gone on to be valued educators in school districts statewide.
Varied program formats allowed for extremely accelerated training, while accommodating participants who wish to remain employed in their current jobs while pursuing licensure.
Level One preparation in instructional skills and classroom management is specific to content area and focuses on the "survival skills" of everyday classroom teaching, grades PreK-12. In addition, candidates are placed in school classrooms where they observe instruction and are given the opportunity to make contacts in school districts while gaining knowledge about teacher responsibilities and instructional strategies.
The ODU Career Switcher Program, while offered in a non-credit format, may transfer six hours of experiential graduate academic credit toward a Master of Science in Education degree through the Darden College of Education. Career Switchers who engage in additional coursework to qualify for the program may transfer more than six hours toward the degree.
Upon completion of Level One preparation, ODU Career Switchers receive a Career Switcher Provisional Teaching License which qualifies them to teach in Virginia. The renewable Collegiate Professional License will be issued upon completion of Level II.
By creating strategic educational partnerships the Programs for Continued Learning Department, Career Switcher Alternative Teacher Licensure Program will deliver quality and rigorous teacher preparation designed to train mid-career individuals from various occupational and life experiences to become classroom teachers, thereby increasing the quantity, quality and diversity of applicants to the teaching profession.
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