Small towns, nestled between scenic mountains and winding roadways, dot the maps of West Virginia, the self-proclaimed outdoor recreation capital of the east where hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing are popular with the locals and those who flock to the "Wild and Wonderful" state seeking adventure.
Hard work and down-to-earth friendly people define West Virginia and make it a top choice for those educators looking for small town life that brings them closer to nature and a little further from the hectic pace of big city life.
To be eligible for West Virginia teacher certification, teachers must have a bachelor's degree and a minimum undergraduate 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA). Those applicants with a master's degree must have at least a 3.0 GPA. To learn more, go to the state's official teacher certification pages.
West Virginia offers certification through several avenues, including the initial teaching certificate, the alternative teaching certificate, and the transfer teaching certificate.
Valid for a maximum of three years, the initial teaching certificate requires that the applicant have successfully taken the Praxis exams and meet these requirements:
The alternative teaching certificate, valid for a single school year and eligible for renewal once, allows for certification for professionals who are interested in becoming educators. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in the subject area in which they want to teach and must successfully complete the Praxis I and II exams.
In addition, the educator must have a job offer in a school district that is suffering from a shortage of teachers. Upon being issued an alternative teaching certificate, the applicant is required to complete an alternative certification program for 18 semester hours.
Teachers moving to West Virginia, who already have a teaching certificate from their home state, may transfer their teaching license to West Virginia, provided they meet certain requirements. In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, applicants must verify either student teaching experience or classroom experience and show evidence of successful completion of an approved educator program or an approved alternative path to certification program.
With an average annual teacher's salary of $38,000, West Virginia has a relatively low cost of living, approximately 22 percent less than the average in the United States, making it an attractive option for teachers looking for a change of scenery. The National Crime Index ranks West Virginia as having the lowest crime rate in the United States.
West Virginia is also ideally located, bordering Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, and Ohio. In addition to its many outdoor activities, West Virginia is also rich with history, particularly from the Civil War era, with reenactments and historical landmarks peppered throughout the state.
To learn more about West Virginia, check out this site from the West Virginia Department of Commerce.