How to Become a Teacher In West Virginia

Knowing the guidelines on how to become a teacher in West Virginia will be a huge boom to your career research.

Facts on Teaching in West Virginia

Teachers in West Virginia earn an average of about $53,000, according to industry sources, actual pay can depend on a wide variety of factors. Beginning teachers, for instance, may earn considerably less while veterans with advanced degrees could earn more. More on West Virginia teacher pay is at this page for educators in the state.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, West Virginia had 765 schools, 282,879 students and 20,338 teachers in 2011, which equates to a student-to-teacher ratio of 13.91, which is below the national average of 15.97-to-1.

Teachers need to earn a bachelor’s degree and certification to become licensed to teach in West Virginia. Prospective teachers must take courses at a regionally accredited college or university, or from one of several accepted online degree programs.

General Guidelines

To qualify for any teaching license in West Virginia, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree and be at least 18 years old by October 1 of the year the license is issued.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, of good moral character and physically, mentally and emotionally fit for the position, and able to pass a state and FBI background check. Applicants need to have at least a 2.5 GPA for undergraduate work and a 3.0 GPA for graduate work. Applicants must take pass the Pre-professional Skills Test (PPST), a test of basic reading, writing and math skills. Additionally, they will need to pass the Praxis series test for each certification area that they want to teach in.

Requirements for Specific Certification

In West Virginia, educators provide instruction in several areas of specialization. They may become licensed in:

  • Birth to pre-K
  • Pre-K to K
  • K to 6
  • grade 5 to 9
  • grade 5 to adult
  • grade 9 to adult
  • Pre-K to adult


West Virginia has five types of teacher certifications:

Initial Professional Certificate

This requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though some positions may require a master’s degree. This must be obtained from a regionally accredited program either traditionally or from one of the approved online degree programs. The institution’s designated official must provide a recommendation. The candidate must pass the required state Praxis exam.

In lieu of these requirements applicants must meet all out-of-state requirements or the guidelines for any alternative certification program. This certificate type will be valid for three years.

Temporary Certificate

This may may be granted to prospective teachers who have not met the Praxis exam requirements. They must meet all other requirements for the initial professional certificate. A temporary certificate is valid for one year. Temporary certificates granted to December graduates after January 1 will be valid until the end of the following school year.

Alternative Certificate

Applicants must meet the general requirements and posses at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to what they want to become certified to teach. They must also either pass the state competency exam or qualify for an exemption of Praxis I. They will need a passing score on the Praxis II in the area they want to become certified in. Documentation of related work and life experiences may be acceptable in lieu of these conditions if the particular content area does not require an exam.

To become certified though an alternative route, applicants must have accepted an offer to teach in a critical-needs or shortage area. Then they must enroll in an 18-semester-hour state-approved alternative certification program. The alternative certificate will be valid for one year and can be renewed for up to two years.

First Class Full-time Permit

This permit can be granted to applicants who have met general guidelines, have a bachelor’s degree and have completed either 25 percent or six semester hours of an approved program in the area where the permit is needed. This documentation must be provided by the designated official of the institution. The candidate must also be endorsed for the job vacancy by the district superintendent as being the most-qualified applicant available. It is valid for one school year.

Permanent Certificate

This certificate is granted to those who have held an initial professional certificate for three years, converted it to a five-year certificate and renewed that certificate twice. In lieu of these requirements, applicants can document five years teaching experience and hold a master’s degree in their endorsed area.