West Virginia Teaching Certification

west virginia

Learn how to become a teacher in West Virginia (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:

West Virginia Educ. Statistics

Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary $43,700
Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary $43,410
Teacher Retention (?) 97%
Average Admin. Salary $63,170
Vacation Wks/Yr 15

Getting Involved...

Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country's overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how West Virginia measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).

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Initial West Virginia Teaching Certification

West Virginia is known nationwide as a great place to teach in America. In fact, West Virginia even to ranked sixth the nation for Education Week's “Quality Counts 2008” based on ratings in areas such as teaching profession, school finance, chance-for-success, and K-12 achievement.

West Virginia teachers are committed to ensuring quality education and opportunities for their students, pushing for increased learning and skill-building activities that are often on the cutting edge of technology.

The West Virginia K-12 system has received some of the highest marks in technology in the classroom in the United State, and is one of only two states to receive an A for “Use of Technology” and “Educator's Capacity to Use Technology.”

Teachers in West Virginia truly love their careers, and more students are looking to get into the profession. So what's the first step?


Education Requirements

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The West Virginia Department of Education (DOE) requires potential teachers to complete approved teacher preparation programs before applying for certification. Teacher preparation programs are offered by accredited colleges or universities, and give candidates the knowledge and experience to become successful teachers one day.

For a list of all approved teacher preparation programs in West Virginia, click here.

During teacher education, students focus on one of several different initial teacher certification areas in West Virginia:

  • Birth to Prekindergarten
  • Prekindergarten to Kindergarten
  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade
  • Fifth Grade to Ninth Grade
  • Fifth Grade to Adulthood
  • Ninth Grade to Adulthood
  • Prekindergarten to Adulthood

During their education programs, students also pick between a variety of content specialization areas. They will need a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework in:

Kindergarten through Sixth Grade

  • English/Language Arts
  • Health
  • Math
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Art

Secondary Education Levels

  • Biology
  • Business Education
  • Chemistry
  • Foreign Languages
  • General Science
  • Math
  • Social Studies

There are three levels of teacher certification in West Virginia: a three year initial certificate, a five year professional certificate, and a permanent teacher certificate. Initial teaching certificates are valid for three years, after which, a teacher has the option to renew for another three years or upgrade to a five-year professional license. For more information on renewal requirements and certificates, see License Renewal and Reinstatement.



In West Virginia, all teacher certification seekers are required to pass PRAXIS I Pre-Professional tests, a Principles of Learning and Teaching test, and the PRAXIS II content area test.

The PRAXIS I exam is a pre-professional skills test that asks potential teachers to prove their knowledge in reading, writing, and math. The exams test candidates on the critical thinking and comprehension skills necessary for successful teaching.

You may be exempt from the PRAXIS I exam if:

  • You hold certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
  • You hold a West Virginia Professional Certificate
  • You hold a master's degree from an accredited institution
  • You've scored high enough on the ACT or SAT
  • You hold a valid out-of-state teaching license

The Principles of Learning and Teaching test varies depending on the grade level a potential educator wishes to teach. The tests include:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12

PRAXIS II content examinations are specifically tailored to a student's specialization. For example, students interested in becoming science teachers take science content exams.

More information and study guides may be found on the Educational Testing Service's West Virginia PRAXIS website.


Experience Requirements

Candidates for teacher certification in West Virginia must complete student teaching hours during their teacher education programs.

Student teachers are assigned to classrooms where they help development lesson material, gain classroom management skills, and learn what it's really like to be a teacher. For many students, this is the most important part of the teacher preparation experience, giving them a first-hand look at their future careers.

document application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

After successful completion of a teacher preparation program in West Virginia, potential teachers are ready to being the certification application process.

The first step is to download and complete Form 20-T.

This form verifies you've completed a teacher education program, as well as all requirements for certification. All applicants must fill out the applicant information page, include official transcripts, a $25 non-refundable processing fee, and a superintendent's recommendation from their teacher education program.

A superintendent's recommendation must be signed by the superintendent of the school where an applicant served as a student teacher in West Virginia. If students served in schools out of state, they must complete Form 4B.


Criminal History Background Check

In West Virginia, teacher certification applicants must pass both state and FBI background checks. This is to verify that a potential teacher is the best candidate for the position.

During the application process, applicants must print and complete Form 7, where they submit to a background check. Applicants must also order and complete finger print cards to submit with Form 7. You may request fingerprint cards here.


Contact Information

After completion of all forms and requirements, candidates must mail their application packets to the West Virginia DOE office at:

West Virginia Department of Education
Office of Professional Preparation
Building 6, Room 252
1900 Kanawha Boulevard,
East Charleston, WV 25305

More information may be found on the DOE website.

**Teacher Retention Sources - U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”), and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.

State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.