West Virginia Teacher Certification

West Virginia is committed to improving their schools and introducing innovative programs for teaching and learning, such as “project-based learning.” A 2011 CNN article explains that the West Virginia superintendent of schools believes that concentrating directly on test scores has not been working and he wants to not only develop curriculum and new standards, but more importantly to make sure teachers were supported.

General Requirements

All individuals applying for teaching certification in West Virginia must meet general requirements. Each applicant must be:

  • A US citizen.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • Of good moral character.
  • Physically, mentally and emotionally qualified to perform duties.

In addition, each applicant must:

  • Clear both State Police and FBI Background reports.
  • Attain a minimum GPA of 2.5 for all undergraduate courses or a 3.0 for graduate courses.


Certifications for Teachers

West Virginia offers a range of Teaching Certificates, including:

  • Initial Professional Teaching Certificates.
  • Professional Teaching Certificate – Five Year
  • Temporary One-Year Teaching Certificates.
  • Permanent Teaching Certificates.
  • Alternative Teaching Certificates.

Each candidate applying for teacher certification must meet all of the general qualifications. Applicants must also satisfy specific requirements for each type of certification and each individual area of endorsement that will be noted on their teaching certificate.

Initial Professional Teaching Certificates Requirements

An Initial Professional Teaching Certificate may be issued to a person who has completed:

  • General requirements for teacher licensure.
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree through a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
  • All state-required Praxis exams

Applicants will succeed in satisfying the conditions for certification issuance when they present evidence that they have accomplished the following:

  • Graduated from an institution of higher education’s state approved program, including recommendation from the designated official at school.


  • Satisfied all requirements for out-of-state-applicants.


  • Met all guidelines for alternative route to certification.

The Initial Professional Teaching Certificate is valid three years.

Professional Teaching Certificate – Five Years

An individual must secure the recommendation of the superintendent of the county in which s/he is/was employed. Since this certificate is a conversion from the initial three-year professional certificate, the individual has already completed fingerprinting and a background check.

This professional certificate is valid for five years and is renewable. An individual may convert from a three-year professional certificate to a five-year certificate by completing renewal requirements.

Temporary Teaching Certificate Requirements

The Temporary Teaching Certificate is for individuals who have not yet met the state’s Praxis exam requirements, but who have satisfied all other general requirements for certification, including a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited higher education institution and
successful completion of an out-of-state approved teacher education program.

The Temporary Teaching Certificate is valid for one school year, during which the applicant must complete the Praxis exams.

Alternative Teaching Certificate Requirements

An Alternative Professional Teaching Certificate may be issued to a person who has:

  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited higher education institution in a field related to the content area or grade level in which the individual seeks certification.
  • Complete and clear West Virginia State Police and FBI background checks.

To be issued an alternative teaching certificate, applicants must also:

  • Meet the proficiency scores on the state competency exams: Praxis I and II.


  • Qualify for an exemption of the Praxis I and pass the Praxis II in their certification area.


  • Provide documentation of related life experiences, if no competency exam is available for the subject area.


  • Be offered employment in an academic shortage area.


  • Enroll in an 18 semester-hour West Virginia Department of Education-approved program leading to alternative teaching certification.

The Alternative Teaching Certificate is valid for one school year and may be renewed for no more than two years.

Permanent Teaching Certificates

A Permanent Teaching Certificate may be issued to teachers who have accomplished the following:

  • Fulfilled all general requirements for licensure.


  • Held an Initial Professional Teaching Certificate for three years.


  • Converted the Initial certificate to a five-year Professional certificate.


  • Renewed the five-year certificate twice


  • Demonstrated five years teaching experience in the endorsed area(s).


  • Earned a master’s degree in an area related to the public school program.

Overview of West Virginia Testing Requirements

Individuals, who complete a Teacher Certification Educator Preparation program approved by the West Virginia Board of Education, must also meet the testing requirements of that program. The testing requirements include the following:

Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST).

Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching Tests

  • Professional Knowledge Tests
  • Content Specialty Test

Candidates for licensure must take the appropriate Praxis II tests for each area of certification they seek.

Substitute Teachers

  • West Virginia offers two types of certifications for substitute teachers:
    • The short-term substitute teaching permit is required for an individual who fills a teaching position for 30 days or less.
    • The long-term substitute teaching permit is required for an individual who fills a teaching position for more than 30 days.
  • To be granted a Substitute Teaching Certificate, candidates must fulfill the following:
    • Possess a bachelor’s degree.
    • Have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA.
    • Receive a recommendation from the superintendent of the county in which the teacher is employed as a substitute.
    • Receive 18 hours of training.

Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers is a program provided by the Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support. According to “The West Virginia Troops to Teachers Program Guide,” West Virginia is seeking new teachers in part because many teachers are reaching retirement age. The Troops to Teachers program is looking to replace these dedicated public servants with experienced members of the military who want to share “their knowledge and experiences with America’s youth” by becoming professional educators.