Become a Teacher in West Virginia

West Virginia Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $46,010
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $44,550
Vacation Weeks per Year 16
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 14.06
Expenditure per Pupil $11,260

Teacher salaries are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 558-2681

West Virginia Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage area is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which … there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.” The Department allows states to identify their own teacher shortage areas, but encourages them to follow a prescribed methodology based on unfilled teaching positions, teaching positions filled by instructors with irregular certifications, and positions filled by teachers certified in other subject areas.

  • Elementary Education (Pre-K-Grade 6)
    • Elementary Education
  • Middle School Education (Grades 5-9)
    • General Science
    • Mathematics
  • High School Education (Grades 5-Adult)
    • Arts
    • Biological Sciences
    • Business Education/Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • English
    • Family Consumer Science
    • Foreign Language
    • General Science
    • Health Education/Physical Education
    • Language Arts
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Social Studies
  • Pre-Kindergarten-Adult Areas
    • English as a Second Language (ESL)
    • Reading Specialist
  • Individual Endorsement Areas
    • Career and Technical Education
    • Counselor
    • School Librarian/Media
    • School Nurse
    • School Psychologist
    • Social Services/Attendance
    • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Special Education
    • Autism
    • Behavior Disorders
    • Gifted
    • Multi-Categorical (Behavior Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Mentally Impaired)
    • Preschool-Special Needs
    • Severe Disabilities
    • Specific Learning Disabilities
    • Visually Impaired

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in West Virginia

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/28/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of West Virginia, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a West Virginia teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Teaching Credential in West Virginia

The West Virginia Department of Education issues four kinds of teaching certificates:

  1. Temporary Teaching Certificates (valid for one year and not renewable), for teachers who have completed approved out-of-state teacher education programs, hold foreign credentials, or hold valid out-of-state certificates;
  2. Initial Professional Teaching Certificates (three years, renewable), for teachers who have completed approved teacher preparation programs, received their program’s recommendations, and passed the necessary tests;
  3. Professional Five-Year Teaching Certificate (five years, renewable), for teachers who have completed Beginning Educator Internships/Inductions, taken six semester hours of college coursework, taught for two years and received their superintendent’s recommendations;
  4. Permanent Professional teaching Certificate (valid until surrendered, suspended or revoked), for teachers who have held Professional Five-Year Teaching Certificates, earned their master’s degrees, taught for at least five years and received their superintendent’s recommendations.

Learn more about earning your West Virginia teaching credential on the website of the West Virginia Department of Education. Read more about getting your teaching credential in general on

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework for West Virgina

Teacher education programs typically consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. Curricula often includes foundational skills and knowledge, designing learning experiences in particular fields of study, and pedagogy. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and internships.

Generally, states require that certified teachers hold, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. West Virginia does not list specific course or credit hour requirements, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Contact your teacher preparation program or the West Virginia Department of Education for more information.

Step Two: West Virginia Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher certification programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar, as well as a fieldwork component of student teaching. A list of state-approved college and university teacher preparation programs in West Virginia can be found on the state Department of Education’s website.

Step Three: Required Tests in West Virginia

In order to become a certified teacher in West Virginia, you must satisfactorily complete the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators series of exams in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as the appropriate Principles of Learning and Teaching test and the examinations relevant to your specific licensure areas. The website of ETS, which administers all of the Praxis exams, hosts a breakdown of the required tests by subject areas.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

Read more about teacher certification tests on

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

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Alternative Certification in West Virgina

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Details on alternative certification options in West Virginia can be found on the state Department of Education website.

Troops to Teachers is one example of an alternative certification program in West Virginia. It aids qualifying military personnel transition into teaching at high-needs public schools through career counseling, job placement assistance, and financial aid.

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Benefits Of Earning a Master’s Degree in West Virginia

As a teacher with a master's degree in the field of education in West Virginia, you may command a higher salary. According to the state minimum salary schedule, teachers with their master’s degree earn at least $1,959 more annually than their peers without advanced degrees.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on  

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Certification Reciprocity in West Virginia

West Virginia will accept some out-of-state teaching credentials if they are from equally stringent credentialing programs. Contact the West Virginia Department of Education to inquire about your specific situation, or visit reciprocity page to learn more.

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Financial Aid in West Virginia

Teachers in West Virginia who would like to pursue their Master’s in Teaching but are prevented from doing so by a lack of financial resources may want to consider applying for awards such as the Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship, which offers students pursuing teaching careers up to $5,000 a year. Residents of West Virginia may also apply for the TEACH Grant, which offers students financial aid in exchange for service teaching in high-needs public schools.

Learn more about how to finance your master's degree on

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West Virginia Teacher Salary and Incentives

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, West Virginia ranked 47th in the nation for teacher pay in 2013, with an average salary of $46,405. Salaries and benefits for teachers in West Virginia depend on both experience and qualifications.

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West Virginia Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Retirement benefits for teachers in West Virginia are handled by the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). Teachers in West Virginia are provided regular benefits at age 60 with five or more years of service, at age 55 with 30 or more years of service, or at any age with 35 or more years of service. Reduced benefits are granted to those retiring before age 55 with at least 30 but less than 35 years of service. For more information, visit the TRS website.

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Professional Development for Teachers in West Virginia

West Virginia’s E-Learning program was created in order to boost educational standards throughout the state. All West Virginia educators are able to use E-Learning, which allows them to take a variety of professional development courses. E-Learning courses may be applied as credit for various purposes, including certification renewal and graduate level credit. The College Foundation of West Virginia also offers professional development events through Connect, its “online toolkit” for teachers, mentors, and community leaders.

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West Virginia Teaching Jobs

Teachers in West Virginia can search for teaching positions through the state Department of Education’s WV K-12 Education Job-Bank. The department also hosts the “Job Flash Service,” which sends email notifications to prospective teachers when new positions become available. Additionally, the department lists its own job postings online on the WVDE Vacancies page of its websites. Teachers should check back often for new availabilities.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

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