Licensure Reciprocity: Virginia

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Meets a small part of goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: Virginia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Virginia's policies

Virginia does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.

Regrettably, Virginia grants a waiver for its licensing tests to teachers who have three years of out-of-state teaching at a public or accredited private school and who hold a full license with no deficiencies.

Teachers with valid out-of-state certificates are eligible for comparable licensure in Virginia. There is no state-mandated recency requirement for the standard certificate; however, transcripts are required for all out-of-state applicants. It is not clear whether the state analyzes transcripts to determine whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route or whether additional coursework will be required.

Virginia does require all incoming teachers to complete coursework in technology, for which there appears to be no test-out option. The state also requires training in child abuse recognition and intervention.

Virginia is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.


Recommendations for Virginia

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Virginia takes considerable risk by waiving its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has three years of experience. The state should not waive any of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards. The negative impact on student learning stemming from a teacher's inadequate subject-matter knowledge is not mitigated by the teacher's having experience.

Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Virginia should consider a test-out option for its additional coursework requirement in technology.

Accord the same license to out-of-state alternate route teachers as would be accorded to traditionally prepared teachers.
Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment. Virginia should consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Virginia. 

State response to our analysis

Virginia asserted that its licensure regulations support reciprocity, and that transcripts are required to verify the degrees of the individual. There is no course-by-course transcript review for individuals accepted via reciprocity. The state added that in Virginia, technology requirements are incorporated within teacher preparation programs, and individuals from out of state complete the requirement in local school divisions.  

Virginia also noted that individuals who hold a valid out-of-state license—a full credential without deficiencies—and who have completed a minimum of three years of full-time, successful teaching experience in a public or accredited nonpublic school (K-12) in a state other than Virginia are exempted from the professional teacher's assessment requirements.  

Last word

The submission of transcripts should be unnecessary for certified out-of-state teachers, unless the state has some reason to suspect that the certifying state routinely licenses teachers who do not have a degree. 

Research rationale

Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at: .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).