Launch Your Career in Education FAQs

Teaching Professional on Temporary Assignment

The Teaching Professional on Temporary Assignment (TPOTA) position shall be a fully benefited role (including health insurance, group life insurance, Virginia Retirement System (VRS), sick leave and personal leave days) and requires the employee to commit to working 195 days. Candidates filling these exempt positions will earn $43,000 annually and will work in accordance with the 195-day instructional personnel calendar. TPOTAs will fulfill the duties of teachers and may be employed for vacant instructional positions for 90 instructional days or until the positions are filled with qualified candidates. An exception to the maximum of 90 instructional days in the same vacant instructional position may be considered with approval from the Virginia Department of Education. If exceptions are not granted, the TPOTA will be reassigned mid-year to another vacant position to fulfill their 195-day assignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a TPOTA (Teaching Professional on Temporary Assignment) position different from a temporary teaching position?

TPOTA positions are on a one-year assignment and are not considered temporary employees. Candidates filling these exempt positions will earn a salary of $43,000, when annualized, and will work in accordance with the 195-day instructional personnel calendar. In addition, the positions are fully benefited including health insurance, Group Life Insurance, Virginia Retirement System, 12 days of sick leave, and 3 days of personal leave. TPOTA positions shall be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and therefore shall be ineligible for overtime.

What are the required qualifications to be considered for a TPOTA position?

Candidates must have earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree, have the equivalent of one year of successful experience working with students, have a favorable reference and/or evaluation from a recent supervisor, for special education-successful experience working with students with special needs, and met all the requirements to be eligible for employment in PWCS (Prince William County Public Schools).

What are the expected job duties for a TPOTA?

The TPOTA will perform the duties of the teacher including but not limited to actively participating in professional learning communities, planning, and delivering engaging lessons for students, cultivating a positive learning environment, building meaningful relationships with students, colleagues, and families, and assessing students (formative and summative) and providing timely feedback.

Will a TPOTA in a special education position be responsible for case management of their students?

No. Case management can only be the responsibility of a licensed teacher. The TPOTA will carry out the teaching responsibilities of a special educator which includes implementation and monitoring of IEPs. Additionally, the TPOTA will serve as a participant on the IEP team and will give input in the IEP development based on their work with the students.

What are the scheduled workdays and work hours of a TPOTA?

TPOTAs will work in accordance with the 195-day instructional personnel calendar, which is the same calendar full-time 195-day certified staff work.

TPOTAs will work a minimum of a 7-hour workday, inclusive of lunch, which are the same work hours as a full-time certified teacher. The start and end times will be set by the administration at the assigned school. From time to time, TPOTAs will be expected to work longer hours, the same as a full-time certified staff member. TPOTAs are exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and are ineligible for overtime compensation.

Will interested internal and external candidates be required to apply and interview for the TPOTA position?

Yes, interested internal and external candidates will be required to apply and interview for TPOTA positions.

Who may be an ideal candidate for a TPOTA position?

Current temporary teachers or long-term substitutes may be viable candidates for the TPOTA position. Degreed Teaching Assistants interested in teaching or those enrolled in the TA to Teacher Program and are on track for provisional licensure may be ideal candidates, particularly for filling special education vacancies. External degreed candidates who meet the qualifications outlined in the TPOTA job posting may also be considered.

Will a current full-time PWCS employee who accepts a TPOTA position be able to return to their previous position or a similar position?

The TPOTA position is a one-year assignment for the 2023-24 school year. By accepting a TPOTA position, the vacated position will be released to the supervisor to fill. PWCS cannot guarantee reinstatement to the former position (held in the 2022-23 school year) for the 2024-25 school year. However, the employee will be given priority placement to any vacant positions for the 2024-25 school year based on their position in the 2022-23 school year.

Employees would also be eligible to re-apply for positions that are open for the 2024-25 school year including any TPOTA positions that become available should the division continue this option for the 2024-25 school year.

How will transitioning from being a full time Teaching Assistant to a TPOTA position impact VRS benefits?

Teaching Assistants moving to TPOTA positions will continue to be enrolled in VRS. The contributions will increase because of the increase in salary with a corresponding increase in life insurance and the "creditable compensation" used in the formula that determines the defined monthly benefit in retirement.

Would a retiree receiving VRS pension benefits be a suitable candidate to consider for a TPOTA position?

Should a retiree be selected for a TPOTA position, the retiree monthly pension benefits from the VRS would cease. The former retiree would resume active employment as a TPOTA and begin making VRS member contributions again.

Are TPOTA positions subject to reassignment throughout the year or will they remain in the same position all year?

TPOTA positions are placed in current vacancies with the expectation the principals will continue recruitment efforts to fill the vacancies with certified teachers. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) permits the placement of a temporary teacher to cover a particular vacancy for a maximum of 90 days. If the vacancy has not been filled, PWCS will request an extension for an additional 90 days. If the exemption is not granted, the TPOTA will be reassigned to another vacant position, preferably at the same school if another vacancy exists. If the exemption is granted, the TPOTA will remain in the position unless a certified teacher is hired for the vacancy.

Will the certified teaching position remain posted if a TPOTA is assigned to fill the role?

Yes, the certified teaching position will remain posted. If a certified teacher is hired for the role, the TPOTA will be reassigned to another vacant position.

What happens to a TPOTA when a certified teacher is hired for the vacancy?

The TPOTA will be reassigned to another vacant position to meet the 195-day commitment to PWCS. Considerations for the reassignment will include current vacancies at the same school, current vacancies in the same grade level/content area that the TPOTA has been teaching, and other specialized knowledge and skills the TPOTA may have to offer.

Will there be professional development available to support TPOTAs?

The TPOTA will be offered additional support through the Office of Professional Learning, participate in all new teacher professional development, and will be assigned a seasoned PWCS mentor teacher.

Will TPOTAs be able to secure a teaching license in the future?

PWCS will assess each TPOTA's educational background to determine requirements for licensure and what paths, including alternative routes, may be available to the TPOTA to achieve full licensure. As a longer-term goal, the HR Department will be exploring alternate pathways to licensure for TPOTAs.

How do I apply for a TPOTA position?

TPOTA positions will be posted to the PWCS job posting site as they are authorized for specific schools. These positions will be posted by the respective school. To apply for the position, visit, click "View Current Vacancies" and enter TPOTA in the search field and complete the application.