According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roughly 41,740 teachers work in West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Education recognizes 19 colleges and universities that offer approved educator preparation programs and alternative certification. These programs take place through individual school districts that enable educators to apply their skills in areas with critical teacher shortages. Although some approved programs are available online, most take place through traditional, on-campus formats.
Obtaining teacher certification in West Virginia costs $35 for in-state applicants and $100 for out-of-state applicants. Standard teaching certification in West Virginia is valid for 3-5 years, though teachers with extensive experience may qualify for Permanent Teacher Certification that does not need to be renewed.
West Virginia teachers earned a median annual salary of $45,530
West Virginia teachers earned a median annual salary of $45,530 in May 2017, with the highest teaching salaries reported in the metropolitan areas of Wheeling, Huntington-Ashland, and Charleston.
The following information can help prospective students decide which path works best for them as they pursue West Virginia teaching jobs.
How to Become a Teacher in West Virginia
Requirements for teacher licensure vary by state, with licenses not transferring to other states. West Virginia participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which outlines the types of teacher certifications accepted in the state. In order to receive full reciprocity, out-of-state teachers must hold a valid teaching certificate in their state. Additionally, they must have completed a state-approved educator preparation program at a regionally accredited institution that included a student teaching component.
In some cases, out-of-state teachers must receive passing scores on tests for basic skills, content specialization, and professional education. Candidates who taught in public school settings for at least three of the past seven years are exempt from these exams. Candidates may also be issued an Initial or Professional Teaching Certificate if they met some, but not all, of West Virginia's teaching requirements for educator licensure.
Although some states grant teacher certification after the completion of an associate degree, West Virginia teaching certification mandates a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees must be earned from accredited institutions in order to qualify candidates for teaching certification. Most approved bachelor's programs can be completed in four years.
The West Virginia Department of Education lists more than 300 approved programs leading to educator licensure in the state, with most consisting of campus-based undergraduate degrees. These programs unfold in 60 different fields of study related to general education, educational administration, special education, and specific subject instruction. This lists consists of 19 colleges and universities in West Virginia.
As a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, West Virginia authorizes certified educators from the other NASDTEC member states to teach in West Virginia.
According to West Virginia statute 18A-3-1, the state board plans to adopt standards requiring all teacher candidates to complete coursework in multicultural education and classroom management. Candidates must also take part in student teaching components for their educator preparation program. Certified educators must supervise student teachers for the duration of this component. The student-teaching should also include participation, multicultural aspects, and at-risk and exceptional children at each grade level for which the candidate seeks certification. This program requires at least a 12-week commitment.
As a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, West Virginia authorizes certified educators from the other NASDTEC member states to teach in West Virginia, provided these out-of-state candidates hold full certification in their state of residency and have completed the necessary educational requirements. The only states currently without membership to the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement are New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in West Virginia
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Foundations in American Education||This course explores how schools serve as social institutions and fit into American society as a whole. The curriculum includes a look at different historical and philosophical perspectives and includes 10 field experience hours.|
|Administration of Early Childhood Education||This course delves into various considerations for ECE administrators, such as school incorporation and financing, teacher staffing licensure, and curriculum development. Health and social services and parental involvement are also discussed.|
|Introduction to Exceptional Learners||This course discusses methods and best practices for teaching special education students and other exceptional learners. The curriculum includes laws and current issues pertaining to special education and strategies for using individualized learning to accommodate different learners.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Inclusive Classroom Practices for Individual Differences||This course covers considerations that K-12 teachers must make to accommodate different students, including at-risk learners, special education students, and learners from culturally diverse backgrounds.|
|Organization and Administration of School Health Programs||Focusing on health and physical education at the elementary and middle school levels, this course covers best practice methods for health-oriented curriculum planning, instruction, and program evaluation.|
|Technology Applications in Education||This course studies the various forms of technology used to enhance the learning experience for K-12 students, including software, hardware, applications, and tech-centered classroom activities.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Mathematics for the Elementary Teacher||Due to the foundational nature of math instruction at the elementary level, this course provides an overview of key concepts, such as sets, binary operations, decimals, integers, and basic algebraic structure.|
|Structures of Effective Student Assessment||This course surveys the theories, practices, and historical perspectives that inform student assessment at all grade levels, and contemporary issues. The curriculum emphasizes the use of both testing and alternatives to testing as methods of evaluation.|
|Promoting Academic Learning and Achievement for Special Needs||This course explores techniques used to assess progress and achievement among special education learners. The curriculum focuses on student achievement in core subjects like reading and literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies.|
How to Get a Teaching Certificate in West Virginia
Per West Virginia state law, the West Virginia State Board of Education directs teacher preparation and education in cooperation with the Secretary of Education and the Arts and the Chancellor for Higher Education. West Virginia teaching credentials break down into four standard certification categories: Temporary, Initial Professional, Professional, and Permanent Teaching Certificates.
Teaching candidates in the process of completing their educational or experiential requirements normally receive Temporary Teaching Certificates. Additionally, West Virginia offers Temporary Teaching Certificates to military spouses stationed in West Virginia. These candidates must submit documentation of teacher certification in their current state of residence and provide proof of their spouses’ station orders.
The Initial Professional Certificate is open to in-state and out-of-state candidates who meet college GPA and assessment requirements for teachers in West Virginia but have not completed the experiential requirements for licensure. These requirements include teaching at a public school for at least three of the past seven years. It costs $35 to obtain an Initial Teacher Certificate for in-state teachers and $100 for out-of-state teachers. These West Virginia teaching certificates are valid for three years and expire on June 30 of their final year of validity.
West Virginia teaching credentials break down into four standard certification categories: Temporary, Initial Professional, Professional, and Permanent Teaching Certificates.
After teaching at a public school for the required three of the past seven years, Initial Professional Teaching Certificate holders qualify for the Professional Teaching Certificate. This certificate is valid for five years and costs $35. In order to renew the Professional Teaching Certificate, candidates must complete at least six semester hours of college coursework pertaining to their public school program. However, candidates with a master's degree or those aged 60 years or older are exempt from this coursework. West Virginia also waives this requirement under extenuating circumstances.
Unlike Initial Professional and Professional Certifications, the Permanent Certification does not require renewal once obtained. Candidates who have held Initial Professional Certification for three years, upgraded to the five-year Professional Certification, and renewed this certification at least two times receive Permanent Certification. Alternatively, in-state and out-of-state candidates with a master's degree related to their content area and at least five years of teaching experience may also qualify for Permanent Certification.
In addition to the standard West Virginia teaching license options, the state also approves alternative teacher certification programs. Candidates may receive alternative certification for certain occupational qualifications, such as substitute teaching for at least 133 days in the area where the certification is being sought. In order to participate in an alternative certification program, candidates must contact a state-approved school district for eligibility and receive a job offer in an area in need of qualified teachers.
Choosing a Degree Program in West Virginia
In West Virginia, most approved programs leading to educator licensure are not available online. However, some state-approved programs do take place online, including graduate-level degrees with specializations in areas like elementary education and special education.
Online students should also consider the costs of earning a teaching degree in West Virginia. According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, West Virginia colleges are more affordable than the national average. In-state students in West Virginia pay $6,900 in annual tuition and fees, compared to a national average of $8,778. Out-of-state students pay $18,833 in tuition and fees per academic year, while the national average for these students is $24,354.
School location is also important for online learners. The best online colleges and universities allow students direct access to faculty members, libraries, and other learning resources. In terms of program duration, most online bachelor's degrees require four years of full-time study, and master's degrees require two years of full-time study. However, self-paced -- or asynchronous -- online programs may allow students to complete their required coursework in less time.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in West Virginia?
Students may earn their teaching degrees online in West Virginia, but the majority of approved programs leading to educator licensure take place on campus. Prospective online students who plan to become certified teachers in West Virginia should contact the institution they plan to attend to ensure the program meets all state licensure requirements, including the mandatory 12 weeks of student teaching under the supervision of a certified educator.
The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) oversees approval of all educator preparation programs for teachers in the state. The board's authority extends to new and continuing programs, and colleges and universities seeking initial approval for their programs. As of 2014, the WVBE requires all degree-granting institutions that offer educator preparation programs to earn both WVBE approval and accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP. CAEP accreditation covers both brick-and-mortar and online programs.
Additionally, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin ruled in 2013 that educator preparation in West Virginia should require reading emphasis in order to be effective. The WVBE established the West Virginia Higher Education - High Quality Educator Stakeholder Committee to oversee the governor's directive. This committee includes P-12 practitioners, educator preparation program representatives, WVBE members, and West Virginia Department of Education representatives.
Directory of Teaching Schools in West Virginia
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in West Virginia
Many students use financial aid to pay for their teaching degree in West Virginia. Federal student loans are available at fixed interest rates and do not need to be repaid until the recipient graduates from their program or leaves school. Private loans, on the other hand, may need to be repaid during student enrollment.
students with exceptional financial need may be eligible for Perkins Loans
Federal loans can be split into several categories. Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate degree earners who demonstrate financial need, and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are for both undergraduates and graduate students regardless of their financial need. Both loans fall under the category of Stafford Loans. The amount of aid per Stafford Loan recipient varies. Undergraduates receive $5,500-$12,500 in subsidized or unsubsidized loans, while graduate students receive $20,500 in unsubsidized loans. In addition to subsidized and unsubsidized loans, students with exceptional financial need may be eligible for Perkins Loans, which provide up to $5,500 to undergraduates and up to $8,000 for graduate students. The amount of financial aid a student received from other sources determines the total amount for the Perkins Loan.
Students must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form in order to qualify for federal financial assistance. They may also apply for scholarships and grants to pay for college. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not need to be repaid.
Loan Forgiveness for West Virginia Teachers
The federal government provides loan forgiveness for teachers who work at low-income schools or educational service agencies for at least five years after earning their degree. Candidates must be highly qualified, which means they have earned at least a bachelor's degree, received full state teaching certification, and have not had their licensure requirements waived for any reason. Candidates who meet this criteria will be eligible for up to $17,500 in subsidized or unsubsidized loan forgiveness.
Teachers may also qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. In order to be eligible for this program, candidates must make 120 monthly payments while working for a qualifying employer, such as a government or nonprofit organization. However, teachers may not receive forgiveness under the Teacher Forgiveness Program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program for the same period of employment.
The U.S. Department of Education designates certain public and private nonprofit elementary and secondary schools as low-income based on their concentration of students from low-income families. According to the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory, 680 schools in West Virginia met this criteria during the 2017-18 academic year.
Scholarships for Teaching Students in West Virginia
Students earning a teaching degree in West Virginia may qualify for scholarship awards that can be used to offset the high costs of college attendance. One-time and renewable scholarships are available, including awards reserved for students who can demonstrate financial need.
Dr. Joseph C. Basile, II Scholarship $1,500
Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program $5,000
Evans Memorial Scholarship $2,000
C Raymond and Delsia R. Collins Scholarship $2,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in West Virginia
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for all educators in West Virginia is nearly $9,000 below the national average salary for teachers. Based on grade level, kindergarten teachers earn the highest median annual salary, followed by elementary and secondary school teachers. Preschool teachers earn the lowest annual salary.
Salaries for teaching positions in West Virginia vary by geographical location. Elementary teachers outside of special education earn the highest wages in the metropolitan areas of Charleston, Huntington-Ashland, and Wheeling. Non-metropolitan areas of northern and southern West Virginia offer the lowest wages. Secondary school teachers not working in special education reported slightly different results. For example, the annual salaries for these teachers were higher in the non-metropolitan areas of northern and southern West Virginia than those reported in the cities of Charleston and Beckley. Secondary school teachers in the state earned the highest wages in the cities of Huntington-Ashland, Weirton-Steubenville, and Wheeling.
Special education teachers in West Virginia who work at the elementary, middle, or secondary school level earn a median annual salary of $43,000-$43,380, depending on the level they teach.
|Elementary School Teachers||$45,530|
|Middle School Teachers||$45,000|
|Secondary School Teachers||$46,560|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in West Virginia
How do I get a teaching license in West Virginia?
How much does a teacher make a year in West Virginia?
- Preschool teachers: $31,460
- Kindergarten teachers: $48,310
- Elementary school teachers: $45,530
- Middle school teachers: $45,000
- Secondary school teachers: $46,560
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in West Virginia?
Resources for Teachers in West Virginia
- West Virginia Department of Education This site lists current educational policies in West Virginia, information about the State Board of Education, and a directory of schools. The website also hosts WV TREE, which offers detailed information on academic and professional readiness standards for teachers in West Virginia at all grade levels.
- Approved Programs Leading to Educator Licensure The West Virginia Department of Education maintains a list of 329 approved educator preparation programs offered at 19 colleges and universities in the state. A list of approved programs categorized by academic subject is also available.
- State-Approved Alternative Teacher Certification Programs West Virginia allows teachers to earn alternative certification if they receive employment offers in areas with critical teacher shortages. The West Virginia Department of Education maintains a comprehensive list of alternative certification providers for general education and special education professionals, including school districts where the certification is applicable.
- West Virginia Education Association With more than 15,000 members, the WVEA is the state's largest professional organization for teachers. Current teachers may use the page to receive updates on certification changes and access the WVEA's current professional development catalog. Five levels of membership are available, including active teachers and retired education professionals.
- American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia Established in 1916, the AFT-West Virginia represents teachers and other personnel working in public schools. Services for members include $1 million in liability insurance, occupation-related legal defense, and group rates for health, disability, and accident insurance. AFT-West Virginia also provides mentorship through the New Teacher Assistance program.