Become a Teacher in West Virginia
Located entirely within the splendor of the enchanting Appalachian mountain range, West Virginia is rightly nicknamed ‘The Mountain State’. Numerous state parks, quaint covered bridges, folk music, and antique hunting are the highlights of the state that you will truly relish. In addition, West Virginia, like so many other states, continues to seek the best ways to meet the educational challenges posed by a sluggish economy. It currently ranks low in the bottom five in terms of teacher pay, but some teachers find the low cost of living and the natural beauty of the state as sufficing offsets.
Read on to know more about what it takes to become a teacher in West Virginia.
- The traditional route for residents to become a teacher in West Virginia begins with graduating high school, then enrolling in an approved teacher preparation program in the state of West Virginia. In this program, students will take classes in education, in their subject area, and in general education courses that lead to a bachelor’s degree. They will also teach under supervision and prepare to take their required exams.
- West Virginia teachers are required to take the Praxis exams in order to obtain a teacher certificate in West Virginia. The Praxis tests are accepted in most states. Praxis I is a general knowledge exam, and Praxis II tests the student on his or her area of specialization.
- West Virginia offers several different paths to teaching certification for those who already have a bachelor’s degree but wish to transition into teaching. These include completing:
- an approved post-baccalaureate teaching certification program
- a master’s degree in teaching
- a transition to teaching program
- the Troops to Teachers program, if the aspiring teacher is also a qualifying veteran
- an approved teacher preparation program
- West Virginia’s out-of-state teacher certification procedure covers both those who are moving in from another state and those who may be residents of West Virginia but have attended their teacher preparation program in another state. In either case, the applicant has to fill out Form 20-A, pay a small fee, and send in records of his or her preparation or certification. They will also be required to undergo a background check and to complete fingerprint cards so that their fingerprints will be on file.
- West Virginia teacher preparation programs usually include getting a bachelor’s degree in education. It’s the easiest and most direct way to get the qualifications an aspiring teacher needs, as well as passing the Praxis tests. If a student doesn’t have a bachelor’s in education, he or she will have to find another way to acquire the educational training and test preparation they will need.
Once one of these programs is completed, the aspiring teacher can apply for a teaching certification in West Virginia and search for employment as a teacher.
Aspiring teachers can generally find numerous teaching positions in the state’s cities such as Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, and Wheeling. One can also find job openings in the public school systems in all 55 West Virginia counties through the West Virginia K-12 Job Bank. Moreover, owing to the inadequate supply of teachers trained in mathematics, the sciences, physics, and some special education areas, employment opportunities are wide open for teachers in the state. So, a surefire way to market yourself and to make the most of the amazing opportunities early on in your career is to earn a master’s or advanced degree in any of the aforementioned fields of study.
- Virginia students seeking certification in one of Virginia’s critical shortage fields may be eligible to receive scholarship assistance through the Virginia Teaching Scholarship Loan Program. This program provides up to $3,720 toward a student’s tuition that does not need to be repaid provided that upon graduating the recipient teaches in any Virginia public school for two years.
- Students who wish to be certified as speech-language pathologists and work in Virginia schools may be eligible for scholarship support through the Virginia Incentive Program for Speech-Language Pathology. The Virginia Education Department will award program participants up to $3,000 per year for up to three years.
- The Virginia Space Grant Consortium offers scholarship assistance to Virginia students pursuing teacher certification in math or science through its Teacher Education STEM Scholarship Program. This scholarship is awarded in the amount of $1,000.
- The AFCEA Educational Foundation awards the MG Eugene C. Renzi Scholarship each year to a Virginia student pursuing certification as a science or math teacher. This scholarship is awarded in the amount of $2,500. Both undergraduate and graduate applicants are eligible.
Note: You can find the application form and more information on the grant/scholarship you would like to apply for on its website