Bring Your Talents to Become an Educator in West Virginia

West Virginia is known for its majestic landscapes, fantastic outdoor activities, and compelling business opportunities. If you are looking to pursue a career that allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of children and the community, look no further. West Virginia educators are well equipped to nurture and shape the minds of tomorrow as they ensure the success of all students.

To find out about the amazing moments happening in schools throughout West Virginia, please visit the “LoveMyWVSchool” website.

If you believe that you may have what it takes to lead children as they work to become champions of an exciting and technologically advanced era, please review the sections below and find out how you may teach in West Virginia!

Explore Licensure Pathways

Career Pathways Leading to a Professional Teaching Certificate

Please review the following summary information and WVBE Policies (ex. 5100, 5901 and 5202) for complete details. To speak with one of our coordinators and receive counseling on licensure pathways and careers in education, please call 1-304-558-3119.

West Virginia is home to a wide variety of colleges and universities which provide outstanding traditional programs for beginning educators. These programs ensure that our teachers are ready to provide students with a world-class education. To get started, visit the preparation section of our website to review a list of state-approved traditional program providers. Contact an approved provider to inquire about their programs which lead to licensure. Participants in state-approved teacher preparation programs must successfully complete required coursework, exams, and a student teaching experience to qualify for a Professional Teaching Certificate.

In school districts where a shortage of applicants exists for specific vacancies, there may be opportunities for individuals who do not hold a Professional Teaching Certificate to fill areas of critical need. These individuals work to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program while they are employed in the classroom. Individuals who are interested should contact local school districts to inquire about their areas of critical need for teachers.

Please, review the following preparation pathway summaries for acquiring a license to teach in an area of critical need and shortage on a certificate or permit while enrolled in a traditional or alternative program.

Traditional Programs

First-Class Full-Time Permit

The school district must have a qualifying vacancy and make an offer of employment.

Candidate eligibility criteria include:

  • Enrolled in a traditional WVBE-approved educator preparation program with 25% or six semester hours (whichever is greater) completed
  • General requirements (ex. Good character, age 18, etc.)
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Requires an official recommendation from the approved educator preparation program.

Individuals on this permit must annually complete renewal criteria including 6 qualifying semester hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Teacher-in-Residence Permit

The school district must have a WVBE-approved Teacher-in-Residence agreement and a qualifying vacancy.

These individuals receive a stipend while teaching.

Candidate eligibility criteria includes:

  • Enrolled and near completion of a traditional WVBE-approved educator preparation program leading to licensure
  • General requirements (ex. Good character, age 18, etc.)
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Pass basic skills and content specific Praxis exams

Requires an official recommendation from the approved Teacher-in-Residence program.

Non-Traditional Programs

Alternative Teaching Certificate

The school district must provide a WVBE-approved alternative certification (AC) program, have a qualifying vacancy and make an offer of employment.

Candidate eligibility criteria includes:

  • General requirements (ex. Good character, age 18, etc.)
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Pass basic skills Praxis exams

Additional criteria for general education endorsements includes:

  • An academic degree major OR occupational qualifications, related to the vacancy’s required endorsement(s)
  • Pass content specific Praxis exams

Only those acquiring an Alternative Teaching Certificate may enroll into an AC program. Upon program completion, these individuals must meet requirements for the Provisional Teaching Certificate before advancing to a Professional Teaching Certificate.

In West Virginia, there are currently two options for qualifying to receive a Professional Teaching Certificate, with a third option becoming available on May 27, 2021, as the result of changes to West Virginia State Code §18A-3-2a. All three options require that individuals receive a qualifying outcome on their criminal history check, possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with the minimum of a 2.5 overall cumulative grade point average, and passes the same subject matter and competency test or tests required by the state board for traditional program applicants for licensure. Please review option-specific requirements of the three options below:

Option 1: Traditional or Out-of-State Certification 

  • Successfully complete a WVBE-approved traditional certification program as detailed within WVBE Policy 5100; OR
  • Meet equivalent standards at institutions in other states as detailed within WVBE Policy 5202 (Pathway requirements summarized within the, “Out of State Programs” menu item on this website)

Option 2: Alternative Certification 

  • Successfully complete a WVBE-approved alternative certification program with an approved rating on the Comprehensive Evaluation Report as detailed within WVBE Policy 5901 (the Alternative Teaching Certificate is summarized within the “Licensure for Critical Need and Shortage” area for this section of the website)

Option 3 (currently unavailable): State-Approved Coursework 

  • Successfully complete WVBE-approved course(s) in substantive alignment with WVBE-approved nationally recognized pedagogical standards in accordance with West Virginia State Code §18A-3-2a (WVBE-approved courses and standards will be identified on this website as information becomes available)

Professional Teaching Certificates are issued by the Office of Certification and will only be issued to individuals who meet complete WVBE Policy requirements.

Contact school districts to inquire about substitute teaching employment opportunities and review the state-minimum eligibility criteria for the Short-Term Substitute Teaching Permit which includes the following:

The school district has substitute teaching vacancies not filled by individuals who hold a Professional Teaching Certificate.

  • Age 18; good character; physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Candidates must complete initial substitute teacher training OR have successfully completed a clinical experience (student teaching) within one year prior to application.

The Short-Term Substitute Teaching Permit is issued for three years and is renewable.

Individuals seeking employment within school districts that have a substitute shortage waiver approved by the State Superintendent of Schools may contact school districts to inquire about the Restricted Short-Term Substitute Permit.

The Restricted Short-Term Substitute Permit has state-minimum eligibility requirements which include the following:

  • Age 21; good character; physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified
  • Associate’s degree
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Candidates must complete initial substitute teacher training

The Restricted Short-Term Substitute Permit is issued for one year and is renewable.

Please review WVBE Policy 5202 for the complete licensure requirements and information about the Long-Term Substitute Teaching Permit.

West Virginia’s state-approved CTE educator preparation program provider is Marshall University. Individuals who would like to acquire a CTE Certificate must have completed the program and meet criteria identified within WVBE Policy 5202 and the CTE Endorsements and Testing Manual.

Substitute Permit for Areas of CTE

Contact school districts to inquire about substitute teaching employment opportunities in areas of CTE and review the state-minimum eligibility criteria for the Substitute CTE Permit which includes the following:

  • Age 18; good character; physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified
  • Meet the identified education level (ex. high school diploma, GED, etc.)
  • Hold identified industry credentials for the endorsement
  • Meet identified wage-earning experience requirements

Candidates must complete initial substitute teacher training.

When you are ready to apply for licensure of the preparation pathways below, please visit the Application Forms Page.

Office of Certification – Application Forms Website

Note: Licensure issued by the Office of Certification requires applicants to complete State and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background checks. This summary information does not supersede WVBE policy or State Code requirements. Complete licensure requirements are subject to change and may be identified in WVBE policy 5202 at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

Information updated on July 9, 2020.

Completing an Out-of-State Program to Acquire a Teaching Certificate in West Virginia

If you decide to pursue teacher certification pathways using programs from another state and would like to acquire a Professional Teaching Certificate in West Virginia, you will need to meet requirements which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The college or university must be regionally accredited
  • The teacher preparation program must be approved by the state department of education for equivalent licensure in the state where the institution of higher education resides
  • The teacher preparation program must include a student teaching experience or equivalent experience and have been completed successfully
  • You must possess a minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 2.5 for a bachelor’s degree or 3.0 for a master’s degree
  • If you are transferring a Professional Teaching Certificate from another state, the license and endorsement must be valid and equivalent to what is issued by the Office of Certification at the WVDE (ex. transferrable without restrictions, etc.)
  • If you are applying for a Professional Teaching Certificate based upon a qualifying institution of higher education and an approved teacher preparation program’s official recommendation from another state, you must have a qualifying grade point average and pass all WVBE required Praxis exams or qualify for exemption(s) as detailed in the West Virginia licensure testing directory

Individuals who possess an out-of-state professional teaching license that expired within the last 5 years; was valid and renewable or permanent; and equivalent to a Professional Teaching Certificate in WV; may inquire about receiving a Statement of Eligibility from the Office of Certification. The Statement of Eligibility allows individuals to seek employment in a West Virginia public school district within approved endorsement areas. Upon securing employment, qualifying individuals may apply for and be issued a Provisional Teaching Certificate. Provisional Teaching Certificates may be converted into Professional Teaching Certificates upon meeting WVBE Policy requirements.

Individuals transferring an out-of-state certificate that is equivalent to a Career and Technical Education Certificate must review WVBE Policy requirements, the West Virginia CTE Endorsements and Testing Manual and application form V7A to review eligibility criteria.

Using Documentation from Outside of the United States to Meet Qualifications

If you would like to apply for licensure in West Virginia and use official transcripts with a valid license which originates from a country outside of the United States, the documents must be evaluated by a foreign education credential service approved by the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) or the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Equivalency and eligibility is determined by the Office of Certification after a thorough analysis of a qualifying foreign education credential service’s report and other required documentation (see WVBE Policy 5202 for complete details).

Licensure issued by the Office of Certification requires applicants to complete State and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background checks. The summary information above does not supersede WVBE Policies or WV State Code requirements. WVBE Policies may be accessed at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

Information updated on April 13, 2020.

Programs for High School Students

West Virginia schools offer valuable opportunities for students in high school to begin earning credit toward careers in education. Career and Technical Education classes for Careers in Education provide students with early exposure to tenets, methods and strategies used by teachers to effectively deliver content instruction to students. As the Initial Professional Teaching Certificate requires a bachelor’s degree, this is a Career and Technical Education Program of Study designed for individuals who may have aspirations to attend college, complete WVBE approved teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education and become licensed educators.

Careers in Education program completers may also earn up to 7 semester hour of college credit towards becoming an educator at institutions of higher education with WVBE approved teacher preparation programs. Visit the West Virginia EDGE initiative website and select, “Edge Credits by School” to review the number of credits each institution of higher education is offering for completion of, “Careers in Education” coursework.

The organization formerly known as the Future Educator’s Association is now Educator’s Rising (www.educatorsrising.org). Educators Rising is a national membership organization for students who are interested in education careers. West Virginia students who participate in the Career and Technical Education Program of Study, Careers in Education, and pay the $5 state dues fee become, “state members”. State members may participate in competitions, state and national conferences and become Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Officers.

To find out more about Career and Technical Education classes for Careers in Education and beginning a chapter of Educators Rising in your school, please contact Tami Maynard at tmmaynar@k12.wv.us.

Financial Aid Programs

There are a variety of federal and state based programs designed to assist qualifying individuals in their pursuit of post-secondary educational career paths. Your first step in applying for financial aid should be accessing information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on the USDE website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.

Please review the following links to access information about programs which provide financial assistance to educators:

Visit the College Foundation of West Virginia website at www.CFWV.com for assistance when applying for financial aid programs.

Visit Teach.org to review additional financial aid and scholarship opportunities across the nation.

The WV Invests Grant is a “last-dollar-in” financial aid program designed to cover the cost of basic tuition and fees for associate degree programs at Community and Technical Colleges in West Virginia. While state-approved educator preparation programs require completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree, one may explore this opportunity and later decide to complete a state-approved educator preparation program (as part of a 4 year undergraduate level program for a bachelor’s degree, a graduate level program for a master’s degree, or a post-bachelor’s certificate program).

Individuals must complete a state-approved educator preparation program to meet one part of the requirements for acquiring licensure from the WVDE Office of Certification (as specified in WVBE Policy 5202). To review a complete list of the WVBE-approved traditional and alternative programs, please select the state-approved programs menu item in the Preparation section of this website. To review the complete requirements of licensure within WVBE policies, visit http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/.

For information on Licensure Testing Directory, please visit the Certification website.

Certification Website

Supports for the Retention of Teachers

As you become a professional educator in West Virginia, you may find yourself looking for resources to support students and their families. Within the first three years of teaching, educators can review a variety of useful resources that support building community partnerships, working with parents, and enhancing student success in the Development and Support section of our website.

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has the responsibility of providing guidance and communicating the goals of the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) in assisting county leaders with providing a system of support for teachers. Each county provides evidence of the support through the West Virginia Support for Improved Professional Practice (WVSIPP) plan included as part of the county’s strategic plan. The WVSIPP plan outlines the county professional development plan and includes the support each county will provide for the induction of beginning teachers, experienced teachers, student teachers, and other staff.

Comprehensive induction programs vary throughout the state. Decades of research has shown that the most effective induction plans include:

  • A new teacher orientation
  • Support provided by a qualified Teacher Mentor
  • Ongoing professional learning opportunities
  • Strong communication and support from the school administrator
  • Support from county instructional leaders
  • An external network of beginning teachers
  • Clear and consistent formative assessment provided to the beginning teacher to improve their practice

Induction programs have a positive impact on teacher retention and student achievement. It is estimated that teacher attrition costs school districts more than $20,000 per teacher, is a factor in low teacher morale, and disrupts student learning. The WVDE recommends that each county includes as many of the above components in their teacher induction program to strive for the retention of new teachers. The WVSIPP plan provides a description of each component included in the county level plan that addresses teacher induction. Some components of the plan may include mentor support, a county orientation, and professional learning opportunities for new teachers. The local district decides what components will best meet their needs for teacher induction.

When quality induction programs are put into practice, research shows that new teachers are twice as likely to remain in the profession and less likely to migrate to another school. The more components included in the teacher induction plan, the more likely teachers will remain in the profession.

Teachers who are more experienced may reach a time when they are exploring new ways to grow in their careers. One way of enhancing skills and advancing salary is to become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. To learn about this process, please review the Teacher Leadership section of our website. To review the WVDE’s model to create coordinated, cohesive professional learning and leadership processes and opportunities for West Virginia counties, access the Professional Learning Reimagined Framework.