According to the West Virginia Department of Education, the state consistently rates highly on national assessments of education quality, and teachers consistently score higher on well-being when compared to other occupations. Art teaching in West Virginia can be a rewarding career, and studies show that art teachers make a positive impact on students’ lives.
To become an art teacher in West Virginia, follow these steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program|
|Apply for Certification|
|Maintain and Upgrade your West Virginia Teaching License|
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
The first step to becoming an art teacher in West Virginia is enroll in an approved teacher prep program. Ten schools in West Virginia currently offer teacher prep programs with a certification in Art. Students graduate from an approved teacher prep program at the same time as they earn their bachelors’ degree, which must be from a regionally accredited institution.
Teacher prep programs in West Virginia teach future educators to understand diverse learners, processes, and styles, and to develop lessons that are developmentally appropriate for the age group. Educators also learn how to integrate technology, develop effective learning communities, communicate with parents and teachers, and encourage an atmosphere of respect. Students must complete a supervised teaching practicum.
Art-focused classes completed as part of the teacher prep programs in West Virginia focus on the arts as creative expression, developing curriculum for teaching the arts and integrating them in various learning experiences, the history of art, its theoretical foundations, different art-making techniques in various media, and the theories and techniques specific to art education.
Step 2: Apply for Certification
In West Virginia, teaching certification is sub-grouped by age range into the following categories: Birth-PreK, PreK-K, K-6, 5-9, 5-Adult, 9-Adult, and PreK-Adult. The first ste is to apply for an Initial Professional Teaching Certificate.
All prospective teachers in West Virginia applying for certification must meet the following general criteria:
- Be a US citizen
- Be of good moral character
- West Virginia State Police and FBI background report
- Be at least 18 years old on or before the first day of October of the year the license is issued
- Minimum GPA of 2.5 for all undergraduate courses or a 3.0 with a master’s degree
- Be physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified to perform duties
To obtain an Initial Professional Teaching Certificate, which is valid for no more than three years, applicants must complete:
- The general requirements listed above
- A minimum of a bachelor’s degree through a regionally accredited institution (evidence is required)
- The state-required praxis exams
The state-required praxis exams include the Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST), content specialty tests, and the professional knowledge tests from The Praxis Series. Certain exemptions apply for out-of-state and other individuals.
The PPST, also known as Praxis I, is available in paper-based or computer-based formats. It assessed whether applicants have the academic skills needed to prepare for a career in education, by measuring basic skills in reading, writing, and math through multiple-choice questions and an essay question. More information is available from the test company’s website here. In West Virginia, computer-based versions of the tests can be taken at Beckley, Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown.
Praxis II includes the content specialty test, also known as a subject assessment test, and the professional knowledge tests (called the Principles of Learning and Teaching). These are administered by computer. You can register for the tests online here.
- The content specialty tests: In West Virginia, the relevant Praxis II test for Art Teachers is the Art: Content Knowledge test (5134), a two-hour exam that measures basic knowledge of art-making and the historical and theoretical foundations of art in the Western tradition and worldwide.
- The Principles of Learning and Teaching measures general pedagogical knowledge through multiple-choice questions and constructed-response prompts based case studies. They are administered at four grade level ranges: Early Childhood, K–6, 5–9 and 7–12. Minimum scores on the Principles of Learning and Teaching test in West Virginia are 160 for grades K-9, and 157 for grades 7-12.
Individuals who have not completed the state praxis exams may apply for Temporary One-Year Teaching Certificates, which requires meeting the general requirements above and completing a bachelor’s degree through a regionally accredited institution. Other types of temporary and assignment-specific licenses are available; for more information, consult the West Virginia Department of Education website.
All prospective teachers must also undergo a criminal history investigation completed by both the West Virginia State Police and FBI.
Step 3. Maintain and Upgrade your West Virginia Teaching License
After holding the Initial Professional Teaching Certificate for three years, converting it into a five-year certificate, and renewing the five year certificate twice, teachers may apply for a Permanent Teaching Certificate. An alternative route to the Permanent certificate that does not require a five year certificate and renewing it twice is to demonstrate five years teaching in Art and hold a master’s degree in an area related to the public school program.
The West Virginia department of Education also encourages educators to “practice what they preach” by continuing their training beyond their initial certification. Options include:
- Applying for board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. West Virginia reimburses the first 200 applicants for board certification each year, and board-certified teachers receive a salary supplement of $3,500 each school year that they are employed within the public school systems of West Virginia.
- Completing a Masters’ degree. Teachers with Masters’ degrees earn a significant pay raise, as detailed here.
West Virginia Art Teacher Salaries
According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in West Virginia (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $32,533, somewhat lower than the national average of $36,141.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:
|Occupation Title||Employment||Mean Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||7,470||44,710|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||5,020||44,270|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||4,310||45,000|
However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below (note that not all areas track salaries for all locations):
|Occupation Title||Employment||Mean Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||1,030||45,010|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||1,080||44,790|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||770||47,750|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||1,440||47,430|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||530||48,010|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||780||46,950|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||380||47,890|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||480||46,050|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||670||51,190|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||480||51,750|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||660||48,130|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||570||49,530|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||330||50,110|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||540||45,700|
As in other states, pay rises with the numbers of years spent teaching and the highest degree earned. The state minimum salary schedule is available here. Salaries start at $29,698 for 4th class teachers with no experience, and rise to $59,897 for those with a doctorate who have been teaching for more than 35 years.
Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries throughout West Virginia and related areas can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: