Virginia Environmental Education Certification Program

At the Virginia Association for Environmental Education, we believe that healthy relationships with the Earth come from good experiences, quality education, and models of good practice. In the field of environmental education, there are many high-quality resources, training programs, and direct-delivery programs across the state of Virginia. The VAEE seeks to link these resources into a statewide program, facilitate the spread of high-quality, data-driven education, and raise the stakes for educators by creating an environmental education certification program for the commonwealth.

Designed with formal and nonformal educators in mind, the Virginia certification program presents a common understanding of environmental education, provides a scaffold for learning, encourages the exploration of available resources, and promotes professional skills of an educator. This certification program is appropriate for anyone who educates about an aspect of the environment, who would like to strengthen their environmental or pedagogical expertise, or who is passionate about raising the professionalism of environmental education. 

The Virginia Environmental Education Certification is still under development. At its completion, it will be a professional certification accredited with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). That means you can trust in the quality of materials and the learning process of the program, and once accredited, your certification will be transferable to any state that has an NAAEE accredited program. 

We invite you to peruse our publicly available materials that are included as a part of the certification program.


The VAEE would like to extend its heart-felt thanks to its Certification Advisory Board for their dedicated efforts and the organizations that have supported them in pursuing our dream of creating a statewide certification program for Virginia. 

Overview of VA EE Certification Requirements (160 hour professional certification program)

Criteria 1: Online learning, publicly available (12-15 hours)

Criteria 2: VAEE-sponsored training (22 hours)

2.1 Attend “Professional Development of Environmental Educators” Workshop (6 hours)

2.2 Attend “Methods of Environmental Education” Workshop (16 hours)

Criteria 3:Self-directed learning (75+ hours)

3.1 Approved Trainings or Workshops (minimum 30 hours)

3.2 Exploration of Virginia’s Regions (minimum 30 hours)

3.3 Required Further Learning and Research (minimum 15 hours)

Criteria 4:Develop, Teach, and Evaluate (30+ hours)

4.1 Lesson Planning, Assessment, and Revision (10 hours)

4.2 Teaching (20 hours)

Criteria 5:Assessment Exam (1-3 hours, pending)

Criteria 6:Capstone Project (20+ hours)


How do I get started?

We invite you to work through Criteria 1 and keep your work. As we finalize the certification process, we are not accepting any new applicants. However, we anticipate reopening enrollments for certification in 2021. Please revisit this website for updates, or email

When will the certification program be completed?

The current certification program is under development by a dedicated and passionate team of educators who are volunteers in this endeavor. Some are supported by their employers, whereas others are carving out off-work hours to make certification a reality. Please be patient. We are pleased to release the nearly finalized version of Criteria 1 at the VAEE 2020 Conference. We hope to have the first version of the certification program finalized by 2021. In the meantime, you are welcome to get a feel for the environmental education field by going through the materials included in Criteria 1.

I’m not really sure if this program is right for me - do you have anything I can preview?

If you, your colleagues, or your administrators are on the fence about whether this certification is something you should pursue, we invite you to peruse our publicly available materials, which include an overview of the certification process, a timeline that outlines when to complete each Criteria, access to Criteria 1--the foundational information on which the program is built, and some additional supporting information. There is no commitment required in accessing or completing Criteria 1

I want to start the program, but I have already completed Criteria 1. Do I have to do it again? 

If you go through any part of Criteria 1, keep your completed materials in case you want to begin the certification program. You do not have to retake Criteria 1 if you begin certification within one year of obtaining the associated certificates. Your timeline for completing the certification program begins once we receive your application fee and you have attended the Guidelines for Professional Development workshop. 

I enrolled in the certification program in 2019. How do I access the proper documents, and when is my portfolio due?

Those who enrolled in certification in 2019 will have access to documents as the CAB approves them. All sanctioned assignments that they have done expecting to count it towards certification, the CAB will, within reason, count towards certification. The submission timeline will not start for those already enrolled until certification is officially re-opened.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the certification program is variable according to your needs and resources. There is a minimal registration fee ($50), required attendance at two workshops ($80-$250 each), required presentation of a capstone project at a venue of your choosing, and a portfolio submission fee ($50). Any other fees for the program are incurred by you as part of your self-guided training. A variety of training opportunities through state departments or grant-funded agencies cost $0-$20. Over the course of three years, we estimate that this professional certification program could cost as little as $800, and may average around $1700 for those who achieve requirements primarily through annual professional conferences.

What are the benefits of certification?

You will gain current knowledge and training in best practices of the field. Once you’ve obtained your certificate, you can be contracted and paid by the VAEE to facilitate training workshops wherever you’re already located. As an accredited program, your certificate will be transferable to other North American states. The VAEE is networking with organizations that offer environmental education programs to incentivize and promote those with environmental education certifications.

Supporting Documents

 Virginia Environmental Education Certification Program Supporting Information  (This includes our Code of Ethics)

Timeline for Completing Environmental Education Certification


Virginia Association for Environmental Education

1501 Lakeside Drive
Lynchburg, Va 24501

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