Virginia Professional Organizations and the Benefits of Joining

Every year, teachers in Virginia recertify to keep their teaching licenses active, but sometimes, it's tough to locate free or inexpensive professional development options. Professional organizations are a vital part of professional growth. Check out this post to learn about organizations in our state.

If you're a Virginia teacher, then you are aware that the Virginia Department of Education requires you to recertify every 5 years (10 years after your next recertification date). During the time our licenses are active, we must earn professional development points in order to keep teaching. The recertification requirements are outlined HERE on the VDOE site. Thankfully, most school divisions offer professional development opportunities for teachers to earn recertification points, but there are other ways to earn points too.

Did you know many professional organizations offer opportunities all the time? In this post, I will be sharing links and information to professional organizations available to Virginia teachers as well as reasons to join them. As professionals, there is much we can gain through involvement in and with these professional organizations.

Virginia State Reading Association

Every year, teachers in Virginia recertify to keep their teaching licenses active, but sometimes, it's tough to locate free or inexpensive professional development options. Professional organizations are a vital part of professional growth. Check out this post to learn about organizations in our state.
The VSRA is the umbrella organization for local chapters all across the state, and I have personal experience with the benefits local chapters offer. I've been the Vice President and President of our chapterl, Piedmont. During my time on the board, we've worked very hard to offer a wide variety of activities to teachers in our area including a fall literacy conference,bi-monthly workshops, and a special writing contest for area students. Our chapter has also offered grants to teachers and honors one literacy leader each year in the VSRA Teacher of the Year program. This year, we even had a member receive a $2500 scholarship for graduate work! We've developed a very nice website too that anyone can follow. HERE is the link for those who might be interested.

The mission of the VSRA is to support literacy instruction in all Virginia schools including private, public, and homeschooled. This organization is perfect for any teacher of reading, librarians, and English teachers. All local chapters offer professional development activities and events like ours for and with teachers. Additionally, VSRA hosts an annual literacy conference that's top notch which includes the leading researchers in the area of literacy instruction. This year, they are also hosting  regional half-day workshops. You can see a list of VSRA events HERE. There will be opportunities coming in the fall with the new membership cycle starting in August.

Annual membership is just $30 per year, and for this fee, members can attend events offered, but can also apply for wonderful grants and awards too. Here is a list of the local chapters and links to their Sites/Facebook pages:
  • Piedmont-includes Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Brunswick, Campbell, Charlotte, Danville, Emporia, Greensville City, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward
  • Apple Valley-include Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Winchester
  • Greater Washington-includes Alexandria, Arlington, District of Columbia, Falls Church, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William
  • Rappahannock-includes Caroline, Culpepper, Fredericksburg, King George, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Westmoreland
  • Richmond Area-includes Amelia, Charles City, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Essex, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Hopewell, King and Queen, King William, Petersburg, Powhatan, Prince George, Richmond City, Richmond County, Surry, Sussex, West Point
  • Norfolk-includes Accomack, Colonial Beach, Norfolk, Northampton
  • Newport News-includes Gloucester, Hampton, Lancaster, Matthews, Middlesex, Newport News, Northumberland, Poquoson, York
  • New River Valley-includes Bland, Carroll, Floyd, Galax, Giles, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Radford
  • Monticello-includes Albemarle, Buckingham, Charlottesville, Fluvanna, Greene, Nelson, Louisa, Madison, Orange
  • Roanoke Valley-includes Botetourt, Craig, Franklin County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Salem
  • Shenandoah Valley-Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Buena Vista, Covington, Harrisonburg, Highland, Lexington, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Staunton, Waynesboro
  • Southwest Virginia-includes Bristol, Buchanan, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Norton, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise, Washington, Wythe
  • Suffolk-includes Franklin City, Isle of Wight, Suffolk, Southampton
  • Williamsburg-includes Williamsburg, James City County, New Kent

Virginia Association for the Teachers of English (VATE)

This organization is geared to English teachers at the high school level. Membership is $25 per year. It offers an annual conference, resources, and has an annual journal published. Their conference is held in October. Click HERE to learn more about VATE.

Virginia Association of School Librarians (VAASL)

The VAASL membership is organized like VSRA's membership. There are seven regions under the main organization. This organization offers member only instructional materials, a list of professional development opportunities within the state, two conferences, and quarterly publications. The membership cost is $50. To learn more about VAASL, click HERE  This group is for teachers offering library services. 

Virginia Association for the Gifted (VAG)

This group has professional memberships and parent memberships with the mission being to provide a network for members, to share resources and professional development for educators, and to share current research in the area of gifted education. There is a wonderful calendar of events on their site HERE, and membership is $30 for one year or $50 for two. 

Virginia Society for Technological Education (VSTE)

Guess what? Membership to VSTE is FREE! If you are a techie person, then VSTE is for you. There are live and online events as well as an annual conference (in Roanoke this December). Be sure to check out the VSTE site HERE. Right now, the ISTE conference is in progress which highlights the newest things in technology. Certainly, if you love technology, this organization would be the one to join.

Virginia Council for the Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM)

This organization is for teachers K through College! Membersvhip is $20 per year for professionals and it offers a semi-annual journal, a conference, professional development workshops, grants and scholarships, and networking opportunities. To learn more, click HERE.

Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST)

Science teachers have no fear. There is a group for you. It's called VAST, and you can learn more about VAST HERE. Membership to VAST is $25 per year for professional educators, and it includes many of the same things mentioned with the other organizations-journals, discounted conference fee, newsletters, and member only materials. The annual conference will be in Roanoke this November.

Council for Exceptional Children-Virginia

This organization is for special educators in Virginia. The site provides training and opportunities for teachers including resources. They have about 1500 members and send out a newsletter regularly. They work with families and teachers to celebrate students with disabilities especially during Exceptional Children's Week. Check out the website HERE for more information on how you can get involved..

Benefits of Belonging:

So, as you can see, the cost to join these organizations is pretty minimal, and certainly, there is lots to learn from them. Nothing rejuvenates your teaching like a conference does, and if you're looking to take on a leadership role in your field, presenting at a state conference is a very good first step. One of the best ways to improve your craft is through research and connecting with other like minded teachers. Through collaboration and shared enthusiasm for your field, you always take away more than you share. 

In addition to the connections you make through these professional organization, you can also access the latest information about your field. It's important to stay current in best teaching practices, and all of these organizations offer resources as well as workshops and conferences. 

Finally, we are all expected to earn professional development points over the course of our renewal period, and that can be a little costly. Through your memberships, you can access opportunities that are included in your fee. 

More Opportunities:

If I did not include an organization that's of interest to you, do not give up! There is a LONG list of options available on the VDOE Website.  The VDOE also has a search app called the Professional Learning Calendar for PD opportunities by subject area. You can look at that HERE.

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to email us or comment below. We hope that you find the right organization to fit your needs and to help you grow.


  1. Sign up for the VDOE Teacher Direct emails. They are always showcasing professional development opportunities throughout the state. Also, your regional T/TAC is great for helping, especially with SPED opportunities. Their lending library is amazing, and it's free!

    1. Oh great suggestion! Thank you for sharing!