How to Become a Teacher in West Virginia
If you’ve been dreaming of teaching in West Virginia, now is the ideal time to pursue your passion for educating and impacting your community. According to the West Virginia Education Association President, Dale Lee, there are over 500 unfilled teaching positions in the state as of 2023.
For those who strive to make a difference in personalized learning and community engagement, there is an excess need for passionate educators. But before you reach the doorstep of the school building, you need to meet and adhere to specific requirements.
Obtaining a teaching certification from the state requires
- Having a bachelor’s degree
- Completing an accredited educator program
- Passing assessments regarding core skills and subject-related knowledge
- Applying for a teaching certification
By reading this article, you’ll have all you need to begin your journey to becoming a teacher in the Mountain State! We’ll provide a clear outline for obtaining your teaching certification and set you up for success.
It’s not too late to reach out and grab hold of the opportunity of being a teacher in West Virginia. Seize the moment and nurture the minds in your classroom!
Get Your West Virginia Teacher Certification
To become a teacher in West Virginia, you must obtain a certification. The process includes several steps, including completing a teaching degree, passing the relevant exams, and fulfilling various other requirements.
With dedication and hard work, you can make your dream of teaching come true and have a lasting impact on the lives of the children you teach.
1. Meet Educational Background Requirements
To become a teacher in West Virginia, you should first obtain your Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. It’s important to note that maintaining a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher is essential in that process.
If you have already completed your undergraduate studies and earned a graduate degree, ensure you can achieve and hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This education is essential to meet the requirements to move forward in your journey to becoming a teacher in West Virginia.
2. Complete a Teacher Certification Program
Completing a teacher education program is the next step in your journey to the classroom. To help you choose the right one, West Virginia puts together a list of state-approved educator preparation programs.
A regional accreditation agency must clear these programs, and they must have gone through a state-approval process. When selecting a school, it is essential to consider if the school is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
CAEP accreditation indicates that the school holds to a higher standard with excellence in its curriculum and process. Although not required of teacher certification programs in West Virginia, CAEP accreditation demonstrates a commitment to top-notch teacher education, making it an intelligent choice.
3. Pass Required Tests
Once you’ve completed your educator preparation program, you must take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test. This exam assesses your basic reading, writing, and math skills.
You’ll also need to pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test, which measures your teaching and classroom leadership abilities.
Finally, depending on your endorsement area(s), you must take content-specific exams that test your knowledge in those subjects.
These exams, known as the Praxis Subject Assessments, are designed to verify your subject area expertise in the classroom. By passing these exams, you prove that you are ready and qualified to hit the school system in West Virginia.
Renewing Your Teaching Certification
Renewing your teaching certification in West Virginia is a vital step in continuing your educational career, and there are multiple pathways to do so. Whether you’re a three-year initial certificate holder or you have a five-year professional certificate, here’s what you need to know about the renewal process:
- Initial teaching certificate renewal (three-year license): Requires completing Form 4 and six semester hours of coursework.
- Convert to a five-year professional teacher license: Requires completion of a beginning educator internship, six semester hours of coursework, and two years of teaching (one in West Virginia).
- Five-year professional teaching certificate renewal: You can optionally apply for a Permanent Teaching Certificate, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification, or have renewed five-year Professional Teacher Certificates twice.
- Age 60 or greater: No six semester hours required (photocopy of birth certificate needed).
- Fulfillment of requirements: Professional development requirements may include coursework towards a master’s degree or county-prescribed courses.
With these pathways and options, West Virginia provides flexibility and support for educators aiming to renew their teaching certifications. The state recognizes the importance of continuous professional development and offers various avenues to align with individual career goals and needs.
Teaching Careers in West Virginia
Embarking on a teaching career in West Virginia is a fulfilling and rewarding vocation and a timely and strategic choice. With a growing demand for educators, especially given the looming teacher shortage, there has never been a better moment to contribute to the education and development of the next generation.
With starting salaries for teachers in West Virginia at nearly $39,000 and potential for salary growth with experience and additional qualifications, it’s a financially viable career.
For those looking to accelerate their journey into the classroom, iteach offers an innovative and efficient pathway. Tailored to fit the needs of modern educators, iteach provides a state-approved alternative certification program that streamlines the process without sacrificing quality or rigour.
If you have a bachelor’s degree and want to transition swiftly into teaching, iteach might be the right fit for you.
If you’re passionate about education and eager to contribute to the future of West Virginia’s children, now is the perfect time to take the first step toward a fulfilling career in teaching. The Mountain State awaits your talent, dedication, and enthusiasm!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I get a teaching certification in West Virginia?
To get a teaching certification in West Virginia, you must meet specific educational background requirements, complete an educator preparation program, pass state-required tests and submit an application to the West Virginia Department of Education.
First, you must have or obtain a Bachelor’s degree from a school accredited in its region with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Then, you must complete a state-approved teacher education program, considering schools that may also hold accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). You must also pass the required tests, including the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test, the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test, and content-specific exams in your endorsement area(s).
Next up is submitting your application with all the necessary documents, such as a criminal background check, official transcripts, proof of program completion, passing scores on required examinations, and payment of the non-refundable certification processing fee, to the West Virginia Department of Education. Alternatively, you may pursue teaching certification through iteach, a state-approved alternative certification program. This route allows individuals with a bachelor’s degree to transition swiftly into teaching in West Virginia, providing a streamlined and efficient pathway without sacrificing quality.
2. Can I teach in West Virginia without certification?
No, you cannot teach in West Virginia without certification. The path to becoming an educator in the state involves several vital elements. Firstly, earning a bachelor’s degree, either with a minimum 2.5 GPA for undergraduate or 3.0 GPA for graduate studies, from a regionally accredited institution is a mandatory requirement. Moreover, candidates must complete an approved educator preparation program and be recommended for certification through that program. In addition, West Virginia requires three Praxis Series tests to be successfully passed to include core academic skills, principles of teaching and learning, and content-specific knowledge for the area of interest.
All applicants must fulfill background checks conducted by the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation before certification. Finally, the application process must be finished with all the required documentation, along with paying the certification processing fee. These measures are in place to ensure that students are learning from qualified teachers who are adequately prepared to help in their growth and development. As an alternative, the iteach program is available for a more efficient approach, but certification remains a necessary process for teaching in the state.
3. How long does it take to get teacher certification in West Virginia?
If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can earn your certification in 12 – 18 months by completing a post-baccalaureate or alternative teacher certification program. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, it takes about five years on average to become a certified teacher in West Virginia, depending on the route taken and individual circumstances.
The process begins with obtaining a bachelor’s degree and typically takes four years. After that, aspiring teachers must complete an accredited educator program, which might take an additional year if pursued separately from undergraduate studies. However, some integrated programs may allow candidates to meet the degree and teacher certification program within four years. Next, candidates must pass the required Praxis Series tests, which can vary in length depending on preparation and scheduling. The subsequent application process, including the criminal background check, may take up to 90 days. All these steps contribute to the time required to become a certified teacher in West Virginia.
For those looking to accelerate the process, the iteach program offers an innovative alternative that can shorten the timeframe. Tailored to modern educators, iteach provides a state-approved certification program that streamlines the essential steps without compromising quality. In addition, it offers a more flexible and efficient pathway for those with a bachelor’s degree looking to transition swiftly into teaching. By considering this option, candidates may find themselves in the classroom faster, leveraging iteach’s targeted approach to meet West Virginia’s educational standards and demands.
4. What is the fastest way to become a teacher in West Virginia?
For a prospective teacher with a bachelor’s degree, the fastest way to become a teacher in West Virginia is through alternative certification programs like iteach. iteach provides a state-approved alternative certification program that condenses essential elements of teacher training without sacrificing quality or dedication. It offers a swift transition into teaching for individuals with a bachelor’s degree, focusing on practical and relevant training that aligns with West Virginia’s educational standards. With an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability, iteach accelerates the journey into the classroom.
The program includes online coursework and field experiences, allowing candidates to move independently, often completing the certification within a year. Moreover, it provides job placement assistance and mentorship to ensure a smooth transition into teaching. iteach stands out as the fastest route for aspiring educators to embark on a fulfilling career in West Virginia’s educational system. In addition, it offers a time-saving pathway without compromising on the necessary preparation and quality of instruction, allowing individuals to contribute to education and the development of the next generation.
5. Can you become a teacher in West Virginia without a degree in education?
Yes. If you have a bachelor’s degree that is not in education, you can become a teacher in West Virginia by completing an alternative teacher certification program.
Traditional pathways for pursuing a career in teaching often involve completing an education degree; however, alternative routes are available to those with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education. For those aspiring to teach in West Virginia, there is the option of completing a state-approved educator preparation program, such as the one offered by iteach. In addition, these programs provide the necessary training and credentials to people with a bachelor’s degree in another field so they can pursue a career in teaching. The curriculum of these alternative certification programs focuses on equipping candidates with the essential teaching skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to thrive in the classroom.
The program entails a combination of coursework, practical experience, and assessments that align with West Virginia’s educational standards. The flexibility of these programs makes it easier for individuals with diverse backgrounds to contribute to the educational system in West Virginia. It acknowledges the value of various disciplines and provides a way for candidates from different fields to bring their unique perspectives and expertise into the classroom.
6. Can I take more than a year to complete a West Virginia alternative teacher certification program?
You can take more than a year to complete most West Virginia alternative teacher certification programs if the need arises. They will often even extend your probationary certificate for up to two years. Your educator preparation program can advise you regarding the possibility of an extension.
7. How long does my teacher certification last in West Virginia?
Your Initial Professional Certificates are generally valid for three years.
In West Virginia, the length of your teacher certification varies based on the type of credentials you have. Upon completing the state’s requirements for more experienced educators, you can upgrade to a Professional Five-Year Certificate. Also, exceptionally qualified individuals may also seek the Permanent Professional Teaching Certificate, although the qualifications are quite demanding. Time management is crucial when it comes to renewing your teacher certification. Additionally, In both three-year and five-year certificates, the renewal process should ideally commence at least six months before the expiration date. This is to ensure that the West Virginia Department of Education has ample time to process your application and verify that all required conditions for renewal have been met.
Educators who are 60 years or older are exempt from the renewal process altogether. However, you must provide proof of age to benefit from this loophole. All in all, the duration of your teacher certification in West Virginia depends not only on the type of certification but also on your years of experience and age, making it crucial to keep track of these timelines for the sake of career continuity.
8. How do I renew my teacher certification in West Virginia?
To renew your teacher certification in West Virginia, there are several routes you can take depending on the type of certificate you hold. If you possess a three-year initial teaching certificate, the renewal process involves completing Form 4 and undertaking six semester hours of coursework. On the other hand, if you want to convert your initial three-year certificate to a five-year professional teaching license, you’ll need to complete a beginning educator internship, accumulate six semester hours of coursework, and have two years of teaching experience, one of which must be in West Virginia.
For those with a five-year professional teaching certificate, you have several options for renewal. You can apply for a Permanent Teaching Certificate, obtain a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification, or have renewed your five-year Professional Teacher Certificate twice already. Luckily, if you are aged 60 or above, you are exempt from the six-semester-hour requirement; however, you’ll need to provide a photocopy of your birth certificate. Also, you may have to fulfill professional development requirements that could include coursework towards a master’s degree or county-prescribed courses. West Virginia’s renewal process aims to provide flexibility and align with your individual career goals and needs.
9. How do I get approved to teach in West Virginia if I have a teaching certificate from another state?
If you have a teaching certificate from another state, you can get approved to teach in West Virginia by fulfilling specific criteria outlined under W. Va. Code §18A-3-1 and WV Policy 5202 §126-136-16. Firstly, ensure you hold a valid teaching certificate or a certificate of eligibility from the state where you’re currently licensed. Next, you should have graduated from a state-approved educator preparation program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education. Additionally, you must send an official, seal-bearing transcript from the educational institution where your teacher preparation program was completed.
Additionally, West Virginia says that out-of-state applicants must have successfully completed a student teaching experience or its equal in the state where the approved program was undertaken. This hands-on teaching experience is a crucial evidence of your ability to manage a classroom in West Virginia. Also, upon satisfying these three major prerequisites, your next step is to submit an application to the West Virginia Department of Education. Along with your application, include all necessary documents, such as your criminal background check, official transcripts, and proof of program completion.