How to Become a Teacher in West Virginia
Teachers are urgently needed in West Virginia. Learn how to start teaching in West Virginia with accelerated paths and online programs.
Updated June 10, 2022
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Teaching certification in Virginia opens career possibilities at all levels of education. West Virginia has amongst the highest concentrations of job openings in middle school education and special education. There are currently 175 job openings with many more areas of need.
The average teacher salary in West Virginia ranges from $47,780 for elementary school teachers to $49,750 for high school teachers. Postsecondary educators' salaries vary by subject area. The highest-paid subjects for postsecondary teachers are engineering and law.
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Ready to start your journey?
There are several routes to earn teaching certification in West Virginia. Nineteen colleges and universities offer standard teacher preparation programs to applicants with a bachelor's degree. There are also state-approved alternative paths to certification in areas of need.
If you're going back to college to earn a teaching degree, West Virginia has approved the American Board's online teacher preparation program as well as other online college programs in West Virginia.
How Do I Become a Teacher in West Virginia?
Teaching certification allows educators to teach in West Virginia. There are three levels of teaching certification in West Virginia based on years of teaching experience.
The West Virginia Department of Education requires applicants to hold a bachelor's degree. Aspiring educators can then complete an approved teacher preparation program at one of 19 colleges or universities. All teachers must pass the standard Praxis tests for all educators and any relevant subject tests.
West Virginia also offers many alternative licensing routes in needed areas. In addition, anyone who holds a bachelor's degree can complete the American Board's teacher certification online. All educators must also pass a background check.
Out-of-state educators can apply for certification directly if they have completed any state-approved teacher preparation program.
Meet Minimum Education Requirements
The minimum education requirement for teaching certification in West Virginia is a bachelor's degree. Teachers may hold a bachelor's degree in any subject. West Virginia requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 for a bachelor's degree and 3.0 for a master's degree.
Educators must complete an approved teacher preparation program. Approved teacher preparation programs are available by subject area. West Virginia teachers may also complete an approved out-of-state teacher preparation program.
Finally, applicants must pass the general education Praxis tests to earn teaching certification in West Virginia. Certification in specific subject areas requires a passing score on the relevant Praxis subject test.
Requirements vary by program in West Virginia's alternative path to teaching certification. The minimum requirement for the alternative path is a bachelor's degree.
Gain Student Teaching Experience
All educators enrolled in a teacher preparation program must complete a student teaching internship in West Virginia. West Virginia requires 12 weeks of student teaching in the traditional teacher preparation, but there is some flexibility. Paid substitute teaching can count towards student teaching hours.
Teachers enrolled in a teacher preparation program usually gain student teaching experience as a part of their degree program. At West Virginia State University, for example, students complete a minimum of 800 hours of student teaching and field experience. They must pass the Praxis subject tests before they begin student teaching.
Pass Required Certification Tests
To apply for teaching certification in West Virginia, applicants must pass a minimum of two Praxis tests: the Core Academic Skills for Educators and the Principles of Learning and Teaching. Educators must pass the subject tests for teaching endorsement.
Elementary school teachers must pass the elementary education multiple subject test. Middle school and high school teachers are required to pass subject-specific tests to earn teaching endorsement. Middle school subject endorsement tests are available in math, science, art, English, social studies, and physical education.
There are over 30 subject tests available for high school teachers, including core subjects and world languages, physics, journalism, marketing, and business.
Apply for Certification
You can apply for teaching certification in West Virginia online. New educators must fill out form 20T online. The initial teacher's license application costs $35.
Applicants must meet the following general requirements:
- Hold U.S. citizenship or eligible documents
- Pass a background check
- Hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5
- Complete a teacher preparation program and student teaching experience or equivalent
- Pass all Praxis tests for desired certification or meet exemption requirements
- Receive an official recommendation from a designated college official
Application processing can take up to 90 days. Applicants can check their application status online.
How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in West Virginia?
Educators must maintain an active and valid certification to teach in West Virginia. The teaching license is conferred by the West Virginia Office of Certification and is often referred to as a teaching certification. The teaching license will state the subject and grade level endorsement(s) that the educator is qualified to teach.
An initial teaching certification is valid for 3 years. To meet renewal criteria, teachers must complete a one-year beginning educator internship or mentorship program and have two additional years of classroom teaching experience. A minimum of one year of teaching must be in West Virginia.
After that, educators can apply for a five-year professional teaching certificate. Out-of-state teachers who hold a valid professional teaching certificate and have a minimum of five years of teaching experience can apply for renewal in West Virginia.
Career Outlook for Teachers in West Virginia
Teachers are in demand in West Virginia. The U.S. Department of Education website has over 1250 job openings for teachers in West Virginia.
Certified teachers in West Virginia can expect to make an average salary of $34,760 to $53,380. At the low end of the salary range are preschool teachers. Secondary career and technical education teachers are at the high end. The average middle school teacher salary in West Virginia is $49,090. The average high school teacher salary in the state is $49,750.
Teachers in West Virginia with a master's degree in education earn a higher salary than teachers with a similar number of years of experience. Going to graduate school for a master's degree is also a path teachers can take to earn a permanent teaching license and qualify for additional benefits.
In-Demand Teaching Careers in West Virginia
Art and Music Education
West Virginia is working to preserve art education by seeking qualified art and music teachers for all grade levels. Specific Praxis tests for endorsements are middle school art, high school art, or high school theater. Elementary art teachers need to pass the general elementary education test.
Median Annual Salary:
Science teachers introduce students to concepts like the scientific method, creating hypotheses, and gathering data. West Virginia needs high school biological science, physics, and chemistry teachers. Middle school teachers in general science are also in high demand. Teachers must pass the relevant Praxis middle school or high school science tests.
Median Annual Salary:
Social studies and history teachers for grades 5-12 are in high demand in West Virginia. History teachers help students understand West Virginia's role in early U.S. history as well as teach them about world history. History teachers must pass the Praxis social studies test for middle school or high school teachers.
Median Annual Salary:
Mathematics teachers at all education levels are in high demand in West Virginia. Skill sets vary from mathematics basics at the elementary level to algebra, geometry, and calculus for high school students. Mathematics teachers must pass the general Praxis tests and grade-level Praxis mathematics tests.
Median Annual Salary:
Special education teachers work with students who have all types of learning, physical, or emotional disabilities and are in high demand in West Virginia. Those specialized in autism spectrum disorders or working with students with physical disabilities are especially needed. Passing the general Praxis tests and the relevant Praxis special education test is required.
Median Annual Salary:
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in West Virginia
How do I get teaching certification in West Virginia?
To earn a teaching certification in West Virginia, applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree. Teachers in West Virginia must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 for a bachelor's degree or 3.0 for a master's degree.
Teachers also need to complete a teacher preparation program or participate in an alternate route to certification. These programs include required student teaching and mentorship to prepare teachers to lead a class.
To apply for certification, West Virginia requires educators to pass a background check and two Praxis general tests. Teachers in West Virginia also need to pass subject-specific tests for their desired subject and grade-level endorsement.
Can I teach in West Virginia without certification?
Educators in West Virginia cannot teach in public schools without certification. Teachers must hold the appropriate teaching license to start teaching in West Virginia.
There are alternative paths to teaching which allow applicants to start teaching in Virginia more quickly. In areas of need, individuals who meet minimum state requirements and receive an offer of employment may be eligible for a provisional teaching certificate.
Substitute teachers in West Virginia also need a substitute teaching certificate. Endorsement as a substitute teacher requires an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Substitute teachers receive endorsements based on their degree area and experience.
How long does it take to become a teacher in West Virginia?
All teachers in the state need a bachelor's degree, which takes about four years to complete. After this, the time required to start teaching in West Virginia depends on the path a student takes.
To earn a standard teaching certification in West Virginia, educators must complete a teacher preparation program and pass the relevant endorsement Praxis tests. Educators taking an alternative path can start teaching in an area of need with only a bachelor's degree and a passing score on the relevant Praxis tests.
Once an educator meets all the requirements, it can take up to 90 days to receive teaching certification in West Virginia.
What can I do with teaching certification in West Virginia?
Educators with a West Virginia teaching certification are certified to teach in the endorsement specified on their teaching license. A teaching license may note that an educator is certified in one or more of over 50 endorsement areas.
Endorsement areas specify the grade level and subject an educator is qualified to teach. Early childhood education and elementary education each require one test. For middle school and high school levels, teachers must pass the Praxis test for the subject(s) they plan to teach.
How do I become a substitute teacher in West Virginia?
Substitute teachers in West Virginia must obtain a substitute teaching certificate. They must possess an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Substitute teachers are qualified to teach in endorsement areas without an exam.
Instead, they must have 12 semester hours with a grade C or higher in the desired endorsement area and meet one of the following educational criteria:
- Complete 18 hours of substitute teacher training
- Complete a West Virginia Board of Education-approved clinical experience within the past year
- Hold a West Virginia professional certificate or out-of-state professional teaching, student services, or administration certificate.
Qualified candidates can apply online with a $50 application fee.
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