Video: Opportunities for Professional Learners in Virginia

At the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, the Curry School offers non-degree and off-grounds courses, tuition discounts, and other options for professional and non-traditional learners.

For the fourth and final installment of our Facebook Live series on online learning at the Curry School, Online Student Support Specialist Bernadette Poerio spoke with two Curry School staff members who work closely with non-traditional students: Katie Walker and Courtney Bullock Sullivan, academic officer at the UVA Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, VA, who joined in via Zoom.

Sullivan and Walker gave viewers some insight into the range of programs, courses, and other options available for working professionals who are interested in pursuing coursework at the Curry School, but aren’t able to attend classes in Charlottesville. Read a few highlights or listen to the full conversation below.

Northern Virginia Center

The Curry School’s Northern Virginia Center is located in Falls Church, and it offers both part-time programs and stand-alone courses for working professionals seeking continued education.

The center offers courses and programs in Administration & Supervision, Reading Education, and Special Education, as well as various professional studies courses. Most courses are online, while some are a hybrid model (part online, part in-person). Either way, Sullivan said, all courses are designed to provide the same quality of instruction as any other Curry School course.

Alternate Routes to Licensure

Often, Sullivan said, students come to the NOVA center who don’t yet have a teaching license – but they do already have some applicable coursework or professional experience. For these students, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) offers alternative routes to licensure.

The staff at the NOVA center, Sullivan said, are always available to help students figure out which courses they need to take to meet the requirements. All courses in the professional studies course series are offered online, and a few are offered in-person at the NOVA center as well. “What’s great about these courses is that they prepare individuals to seek positions in Virginia schools that range from preK-12, so really it’s a wide range of coursework that can meet the needs of a lot of professional learners,” she said.

Master of Teaching – Special Education

For teachers in Northern Virginia who are interested in a more traditional teacher prep program, the NOVA center also offers a Master of Teaching in Special Education program designed for working professionals. Completion of the program results in a Master of Teaching degree, as well as licensure and endorsement in Special Education-General Curriculum.

While a few of the courses are held in-person on weekends or in the evening, most are online, Sullivan said. The program is designed to be flexible to fit around the schedules of those who are working full-time during the school day.

PreK-12 Educator Tuition Discount

Walker explained that all off-grounds and online students are billed on a per-credit basis, so total tuition depends on how many credit hours you enroll in per semester. Updated tuition rates are always available online.

The Curry School also grants reduced tuition rates to eligible preK-12 educators, including teachers, counselors, principals, para-professionals – basically any position you can think of in a preK-12 school, Walker said. To apply for the discount, simply fill out the form online.  

Students can email [email protected] with any questions.

Finding the right course or program can be complicated, so Sullivan and Walker both emphasized that Curry School staff and faculty are always happy to answer your questions and help you figure out the right path for you.

“I would just really encourage anybody who’s interested in continuing their education – maybe they’re thinking about going back to school, maybe they’re thinking they might want to switch careers, or just take a few courses – I’d really encourage you to take a look at the NOVA site, call me, email me, and we can talk through in more detail what the options are and help you find the best fit,” Sullivan said. “There’s really not a one-size-fits-all at the NOVA program – it’s designed for a wide range of folks.”