The West VirginiaTeaching and Certification Resource
How to Become a Teacher in West Virginia
Those who wish to teach in West Virginia must first earn a West Virginia teacher certification. Certificates vary by content areas and grade levels, which include birth to pre-kindergarten, pre-kindergarten to kindergarten, kindergarten to 6, 5 to 9, 5 to adult, 9 to adult, and pre-kindergarten to adult. There are also multiple types of certification levels, including Initial Professional Teaching Certificates (valid for up to three years), Temporary Teaching Certificates (valid for one year), Permanent Teaching Certificates, First Class/Full-Time Permits (valid for one year), and Alternative Teaching Certificates (valid for one year, renewable for two).
- I want to be a teacher in West Virginia, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about West Virginia’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
- Associate of Science in Christian Ministries
- Master of Education
- Transition to Teaching Program
West Virginia Teacher Education Requirements
Specific educational requirements are necessary for teacher candidates to fulfill in order for them to receive West Virginia teaching certification. At minimum, a bachelor’s degree must be acquired through a regionally accredited academic institution. Teacher candidates must also complete a state-approved educator preparation program and be recommended for certification through that program.
Education is also important for those who already hold a teaching certificate in West Virginia. Individuals who have taught for five years and who earn a master’s degree may upgrade their licenses to Permanent Teaching Certificates. An Initial Professional Teaching Certificate may also be upgraded to a Permanent Teaching Certificate by converting the Initial Professional Teaching Certificate to a five-year license and then renewing it twice.
At the start of 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported West Virginia’s unemployment rate at 7.9%, slightly below the national average of 8.5%. The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 848 annual job openings in library and education related fields in West Virginia through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007, the National Center of Education Statistics listed 20,209 public school and 1,260 private school teachers employed throughout the state. The National Education Association approximates the average beginning teacher salary in West Virginia at $30,815 and the average overall teaching salary at $44,260, the 3rd lowest among US states. The NEA notes that the education job market in West Virginia is fairly tight, but there may be some opportunity in special education, math, and science, especially in rural areas. The US Department of Education lists additional areas of need from elementary education (PreK-6), counseling, and ESL education. The West Virginia Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, is a good resource for newly certified and experienced teachers and updates its website with state education policy changes, budget allocation and local employment opportunities. For more information on state certification please contact local education and teaching schools and programs.
West Virginia Teacher Testing Requirements
In addition to educational requirements, West Virginia mandates that teacher candidates complete three Praxis Series tests: the Pre-Professional Skills Test (Praxis I), content area assessments (Praxis II assessment of specialty area), and the Principles of Learning and Teaching assessment (Praxis II assessment of professional knowledge).
Those who are certified through NBPTS or who hold an out-of-state teaching certificate are exempt from the above testing requirements. In addition, those with a master’s degree or who scored well on other standardized testing are exempt from taking the Praxis I, and individuals with a doctorate in the licensure area are exempt from the Praxis II requirement.
West Virginia Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||7,300||$42,930|
|Middle School Teachers||4,440||$42,190|
|Secondary School Teachers||4,420||$43,630|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2011.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in West Virginia
Question: How do I become a high school teacher in West Virginia?
Answer: To become a West Virginia high school teacher, you must get your professional teaching certificate through the state. This requires earning a bachelor’s degree and completing a teacher preparation program. You must also pass the Praxis exams.
Page edited by Charles Sipe.