The West Virginia Teaching and Certification Resource
Those interested in becoming teachers in West Virginia must obtain teacher certification before working in the state’s K-12 public education system. The West Virginia Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined below for those seeking more information on how to become a teacher in West Virginia.
How to Become a Teacher in West Virginia
Like most states, West Virginia requires that teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher preparation program, and pass the required content exams. Those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in West Virginia.
West Virginia uses a tiered system of teacher licensure. First-time teachers who complete all licensure requirements are issued an Initial Professional Teaching Certificate. After completing an induction program and continuing education in public school subjects, teachers may receive a Professional Five-Year Teaching Certificate. Teachers may advance to the Permanent Professional Teaching Certificate by earning a Professional Certificate and completing five years of successful teaching and earning a master’s degree.
- 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, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in West Virginia
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in WV through 20262
One of the most important steps towards becoming a certified teacher in West Virginia is completing a state-approved teacher certification program in an accredited school. You can find a current list of approved teacher preparation programs through the TeachWV website. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our West Virginia schools page.
Schools located out-of-state or that provide online teacher preparation must be accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies which are overseen by the Department of Education. All aspiring teachers working towards a teaching certification in West Virginia should confirm that their school of choice is in good standing with a recognized regional accreditation agency and has state approval for the preparation of teachers.
Additionally, many schools look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Although CAEP accreditation is not mandatory, it is a highly-regarded symbol of excellence in terms of curriculum and process.
West Virginia Teacher Education Requirements
West Virginia teacher certification candidates must earn a bachelor’s degree through a regionally accredited academic institution and complete a state-approved educator preparation program and be recommended for certification through that program. Candidates for West Virginia teacher licensure must maintain a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or have a minimum overall graduate GPA of at least 3.0.
West Virginia Teacher Testing Requirements
In addition to educational requirements, prospective West Virginia educators must pass three Praxis Series tests: the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT), and the appropriate Praxis subject assessments for each endorsement area. The Praxis Core exam measures basic skills in reading, writing, and math, while the PLT assesses skills specific to teaching and classroom leadership. The content-specific exams test specific content-area knowledge depending on the endorsement(s) for which you plan to apply.
Additional West Virginia Teacher Certification Requirements
Prospective teachers in West Virginia must undergo a criminal history background check by both the West Virginia State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fingerprinting for the background check can be processed at a LiveScan location or via fingerprint cards provided by the West Virginia Department of Education and processed at local law enforcement offices.
West Virginia Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once all steps towards West Virginia teacher certification have been completed, applications should be sent to the state’s Department of Education. The typical processing time is up to 90 days and the required documentation is as follows:
- Criminal background check clearance.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school.
- Proof of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
- Passing scores on the required examinations.
- Completed application for teaching certification in West Virginia.
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
Applicants should begin their application online unless an online form is not available. Physical supporting materials, such as certified test scores, may be sent to:
West Virginia Department of Education
Building 6, Suite 700
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Charleston, WV 25305
Visit the Department of Education for further details on West Virginia teacher certification.
West Virginia Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
During the 2016-2017 academic year, there were an estimated 273,855 students enrolled in West Virginia’s 739 K-12 public schools.3 With an estimated 19,356 teachers, this gave West Virginia a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1.3
Projections call for 510 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 280 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 230 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers through 2026.2 West Virginia elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $44,890, while middle school teachers in the state earn an average annual salary of $45,540 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $47,050.4 The West Virginia Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, is a good resource for information on state education policy changes and local employment opportunities.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||Not available||Not available|
|Elementary School Teachers||6,180||$44,890|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||1,920||$42,400|
|Middle School Teachers||4,680||$45,540|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||1,050||$42,760|
|Secondary School Teachers||3,790||$47,050|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||910||$43,820|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||570||$47,030|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in West Virginia
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, West Virginia broadly has the following shortages5:
- Art and Music Education (Art, Dance, Music, Theatre), Pre-K-12
- Career and Technical Education (Agricultural Business and Production Technology; Agricultural Science and Technology; Aircraft Mechanics; Auto Body Repair/Collision Repair Technician; Auto Technology; Building Maintenance; Business Education; Business Math; Computer Programming; Cosmetology; Design and Technology Education; Electro-Mechanical Technology; Emergency Medical Services/Technology; Health and Medical Occupations; Heating and Air Conditioning; Industrial Arts; Industrial Technology; Marketing; Vocational Technology), 5-12
- Career and Technical Education (Auto Technology; Broadcast Sciences; Building Trades Construction; Business Administration/Management; Carpentry; Computer Education; Computer Technology; Culinary Arts/Foods; Electrical/Electronic Technology; Engineering Technology; Graphic Design; Public Safety/Protective Services; Technology Preparation; Welding, Brazing, and Soldering), Pre-K-12
- Career and Technical Education (Family and Consumer Science), 1-12
- Core Subjects (Elementary Education), Pre-K-12
- Early Childhood (Early Childhood and Elementary Education; General Curriculum/Early Childhood), Pre-K-K
- English as a Second Language (English as a Second Language), Pre-K-12
- Health and Physical Fitness (Health Science, Physical Education), Pre-K-12
- Language Arts (Communications, Journalism), 5-12
- Language Arts (English, Reading Resource Specialist), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics (Algebra, Basic and Advanced Mathematics), Pre-K-12
- Science (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, General Science, Physics), Pre-K-12
- Science (Earth and Space Science; Physical Science), 5-12
- Social Studies (History), K-12
- Special Education (Autism Spectrum Disorder; Deaf/Hard of Hearing & Blind/Visually Impaired; Deaf/Hearing Impairment; Early Childhood; Elementary Pre-School (Pre-kindergarten); Multi-Categorical; Severely and Profoundly Handicapped; Therapeutic Services; Visual Impairment), Pre-K-12
- Special Education (Behavioral Disabilities), 5-12
- Special Education (Cognitive Disabilities, Exceptional Children), K-12
- Support Staff (Counseling, Nurse, Nursing Assistant, Psychologist, Social Worker), Pre-K-12
- Support Staff (Library/Media Specialist), K-12
- World Languages (French, Spanish), Pre-K-12
- World Languages (German), 5-12
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become a high school teacher in West Virginia?
Answer: To become a West Virginia high school teacher, you must earn 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 required Praxis exams and a background check.
Question: How much do West Virginia teachers make?
Answer: Teachers in West Virginia at the elementary to high school level (excluding special and career/technical education) earn average annual salaries of nearly $46,000.4 Teacher salaries may be impacted by school location, grade level taught, and teacher qualifications.
Question: Is there a teacher shortage in West Virginia?
Answer: Yes–many counties and school districts in West Virginia report teacher shortages for the 2021-22 school year, representing many subjects and disciplines.5 West Virginia teachers may have more job opportunities than those in other states.
1. West Virginia State Department of Education: https://wvde.us/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, West Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/