The West Virginia Teaching and Certification Resource
Anyone interested in becoming a certified teacher in West Virginia must obtain a West Virginia teacher certification before working in the education system. There are quite a few pathways towards certification depending on education and experience. The state’s Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined in detail below.
How to Become a Teacher in West Virginia
Those who wish to teach in West Virginia must first earn a West Virginia teacher certification. Like most states, West Virginia requires that all teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a West Virginia teachers certification program and pass the required content exams.
West Virginia teacher 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).
For out of state teachers, reciprocity in West Virginia is possible provided applicants meet the remaining requirements for West Virginia teacher certification. For more information on reciprocity or about the steps to West Virginia teacher certification renewal, contact the state’s Department of Education.
- 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.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in West Virginia
One of the most important steps in becoming a certified teacher in West Virginia is completing a state-approved teacher certification program in an accredited school. All US schools are accredited by six regional accreditation agencies, which are overseen by the US Department of Education.
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) accredits West Virginia Schools. Therefore, all aspiring teachers working towards a teaching certification in West Virginia should confirm that their school of choice is in good standing with NCA. For teachers considering an online teaching certification program, all schools offering online programs should also be accredited by their corresponding accreditation agency, even when located out of state.
Additionally, many states will look for a CAEP accreditation. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness was formed in 2013 due to the merger between NCATE and TEAC, two former accreditation agencies. Under the new name, CAEP will continue to accredit schools that pass its rigorous standards and procedures. Although a CAEP accreditation may not be mandatory for state approval, most schools will apply for it because it is a highly-regarded symbol of excellence in terms of curriculum and process.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in West Virginia.
West Virginia Teacher Education Requirements
Specific educational requirements are necessary for teacher candidates to fulfill in order for them to receive West Virginia teacher 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 certification 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.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 16,800 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in West Virginia, excluding teachers working in special education (2013). West Virginia elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $44,710, while middle school teachers in the state earn an average annual salary of $44,270 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $45,000 (BLS 2013). 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.
West Virginia Teacher Testing Requirements
In addition to educational requirements, West Virginia educator certification 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.
Additional West Virginia Teacher Certification Requirements
Anyone wishing to become a teacher in West Virginia must undergo a criminal history investigation by both the West Virginia State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation. You must complete and submit a fingerprint card to the West Virginia Department of Education upon applying for a teaching license. Fingerprinting can be processed at local law enforcement offices.
West Virginia Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once all the steps toward West Virgina teacher certification have been completed, applications should be sent to the state’s Department of Education. Due to the large volume of applications received, the average processing time is 90 days so applicants are recommended to send in their applications with ample time before the upcoming semester begins. The required documentation is as follows:
- Criminal background check clearance
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
- Proof of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
- Passing score on the required content examinations
- Completed application for teaching certification in West Virginia
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee
West Virginia Department of Education
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305
Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on West Virginia teacher certification.
West Virginia Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||6,970||$43,350|
|Middle School Teachers||5,060||$43,060|
|Secondary School Teachers||4,430||$44,350|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.
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.
Teaching and Education Programs
1. West Virginia State Department of Education: http://wvde.state.wv.us/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000
Page edited by Charles Sipe.