How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in West Virginia

The West Virginia Department of Education tasks its Office of Professional Preparation with ensuring only qualified PE teachers are employed throughout the state. Becoming a physical education teacher in West Virginia takes years of dedicated commitment to complete the required coursework, student teaching and exams.

Complete these steps to become a PE teacher in West Virginia:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Minimum Including a Professional Educator Preparation Program
Pass the Learning and Teaching Exam
Apply for the Appropriate PE Teacher Certification
Maintain and Upgrade Your West Virginia PE Teacher Certification



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Minimum Including a Professional Educator Preparation Program

Planning ahead to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a PE teaching program is the fastest way to meet the requirements for PE teacher jobs in West Virginia. These academic programs provide foundational knowledge in the field of physical education, and combine this with a pedagogical teacher preparation program that will fulfill the requirements for your initial teaching certification.

Most programs begin with instruction in the field of PE, with courses such as:

  • PE teaching for different age levels
  • Physical education fundamentals
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Games and American culture
  • Motor skills learning
  • Fitness education
  • Sports teaching
  • Gym training
  • Dance

Bachelor’s programs are available that include a state-approved Professional Educator Preparation Program. This is the point in the academic program where the emphasis shifts from PE education to pedagogical education.

If you are a non-traditional student who already holds at least a bachelor’s degree and you have no prior teaching experience, you will need to apply for admission to a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program. Before you are admitted to a Professional Educator Preparation Program, you will need to accomplish one of the following:

  • Pass the CASE (Core Academic Skills for Educators) exams
  • Have a master’s degree
  • Have passed a similar test in another state
  • Hold an out-of-state teaching certification with at least three years of teaching experience
  • Have attained the minimum score on one of these exams:
    • ACT – 25
    • ACT Enhanced – 26
    • SAT (before the year 1995) – 1035
    • SAT (after 1995) – 1125
    • SAT (after 2005) combined reading and math scores – 1170

The CASE exams, also referred to as Praxis I exams, are proctored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and held in three different categories:

Your Professional Educator Preparation Program will help you develop essential skills in teaching the subject of PE. This includes:

  • Taking and passing the Praxis II Physical Education: Content Knowledge exam
  • Completing a student teaching segment that is a minimum of 125 hours

The student teaching segment of your Professional Educator Preparation Program is the point where the rubber hits the road. You will start initially as an observer and assistant to an experienced PE teacher in a school setting, and gradually move to become the instructional leader in the classroom. The length of the student teaching program depends on your teacher prep program, but will include at least 125 hours of field experience. The student teaching segment is traditionally completed in the final year of a degree or teacher prep program.

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Step 2. Pass the Required Exams

Praxis II PE: Content Knowledge Exam

As with the CASE exams, the Praxis II Physical Education: Content Knowledge exam is administered by ETS. You may wish to consult a study guide to prepare for this exam, which is comprised of 120 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in two hours. The exam is divided into four sections:

  • Content knowledge and student growth/development – 30%
  • Management, motivation, and communication – 25%
  • Planning, instructions, and student assessment – 25%
  • Collaboration, reflection, and technology – 20%

Learning and Teaching Exam

One final requirement remains before you apply for a teaching certificate, and that is the Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam. This exam covers the fundamentals of pedagogy and effective teaching, and is not specific to the field of PE. It is also offered by ETS, and there are three versions of this exam tailored to different student age groups. You will need to choose which test is most appropriate for your own career goals:



Step 3. Apply for the Appropriate Teaching Certificate

The West Virginia Department of Education recognizes that PE teachers come from diverse backgrounds and are not always college students who have followed the most direct path towards physical education teacher jobs in West Virginia. As such, you have several choices when deciding on your route to certification, and can choose which of the following certifications best fits with your background:

Initial Professional Teaching Certificate – Valid for up to three years, you can apply for this as either an in-state, out-of-state, or alternate route teacher. You will need to:

  • Have at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Completed the Praxis II PE: Content Knowledge Exam
    • In-state: completed a state-approved Professional Educator Prep Program
    • Out-of-state: completed either an out-of-state approved teacher preparation program or already hold a teaching certification from a different state
    • Alternate route: make a commitment to complete a mentored, state-approved alternate education preparation program and obtain a Professional Certification in PE within three years

You may need to renew this certificate every year and may do so a maximum or two times. To be eligible to renew your Initial Certificate, you will need to complete at least six hours of renewal credits with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Temporary Teaching Certificate – This certification is for prospective PE teachers from out-of-state who have not yet passed the appropriate Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam. To be eligible for this certification you must have completed a professional educator preparation program in your home state and have already obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. This certification is only valid one year and may not be renewed.

Alternative Teaching Certificate – You can be eligible for this certificate if there is deemed to be a shortage of PE teachers. You will need to have:

  • At least a bachelor’s degree
  • Have an offer of employment
  • Enroll in a Department of Education-approved alternate certification program
  • Have already passed the CASE exams and Praxis II PE: Content Knowledge Exam
    • If you meet one of the previously stated exemptions, such as a master’s degree or SAT and ACT scores, you may be exempt from taking the CASE exams

You will need to renew this certification every year, and it is only valid for a maximum or three years.

Professional Certificate – You can apply to have an Initial or Alternative Teaching Certificate converted to a Professional Certificate after three years. Doing this requires that you meet several conditions:

  • Have already completed the Beginning Educator Internship
  • Meet at least one of the following:
    • Six credits of a master’s degree program in the field of education
    • Six credits of college coursework designed to improve your teaching effectiveness
    • Six credits that have been prescribed for you by the county in which you are teaching as the result of an evaluation
    • Master’s degree and a salary classification at 30 hours
    • Be at least 60 years of age
    • Master’s degree, the Beginning Educator Internship, and five years of experience
    • Certification by the NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards)

A professional certificate is valid for five years, and after renewing this twice you may apply for it to be converted to a Permanent Teaching Certificate.



Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your West Virginia PE Teacher Certification

As you explore the options to renew and upgrade your PE teaching certification you will come across three subjects:

  • Renewal credits
  • Beginner Educator Internship
  • NBPTS Certification

Renewal Credits – These are college semester credits that contribute to your quality as a teacher and may be earned through relevant master’s degree programs.

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Beginner Educator Internship – This program is designed to help new PE teachers be as effective as possible while also providing a professional network of support. Generally, a teacher’s school principal, a member of the county professional staff development council, and an experienced PE teacher comprise the support network. Through evaluations the support network will provide you with advice on how you can improve your teaching methods. Most often you will meet with your experienced PE teacher mentor, and you will also have periodic meetings with the other professionals on your internship team. At the end of the year you will receive a final evaluation that will make one of three conclusions:

  • You are recommended for full professional licensure as a teacher
  • You must undergo the internship process for another year
  • Your employment status will be recommended for termination

NBPTS Certification – Commonly referred to as National Board Certification, this can be obtained by going through an in-depth and lengthy evaluation process with the NBPTS. PE teachers with this certification have been able to demonstrate a strong commitment to ensuring their teaching is effective and stimulates growth among their students.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in West Virginia

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