ESL Certification in West Virginia

Jun 26, 2018

English as a second language (ESL) teachers work at various grade levels. To obtain ESL teacher certification in West Virginia, certain education and testing requirements must be completed. When these are satisfied, candidates can apply for an initial teaching license and the ESL endorsement.

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Increased economic globalization and migration into the U.S. has led to a surge in ELLs (English Language Learners) throughout the country. This has led to an increased demand for qualified ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers in most states, including West Virginia. To become an ESL teacher in West Virginia, it is necessary to obtain an ESL endorsement. Here, the steps that need to be followed to qualify for this endorsement are described.

ESL Teaching Certification Requirements in West Virginia

Average Salary for Teachers in West Virginia (2016)* $45,520 (Elementary), $44,420 (Middle), $45,240 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core), Principles of Learning and Teaching (Pedagogy), English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESL 5362)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

To acquire a teaching license in West Virginia candidates must obtain a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college or university. Additionally, while completing a degree, candidates should undertake an educator preparation program approved by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). West Virginia has nineteen approved colleges and universities offering traditional educator preparation programs.

In West Virginia, ESL certification is only available as an add-on endorsement. There are three approved ESL endorsement programs in the state. These programs are offered by Marshall University, Salem International University and West Virginia University.

As an example, the Marshall University program offers 21 hours of coursework (three hours per course) which leads to a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). Candidates must take the following courses to get their certificate:

  • Second language acquisition
  • Linguistics for ESL
  • Intercultural communication
  • Methods and materials for ESL: language development
  • Methods and materials for ESL: literacy acquisition
  • Technology course - one from the following:
    • Applications software in the classroom curriculum area
    • Instructional design and technology
    • Using the internet in the classroom
  • Practicum for teaching ESL (75 hours of field experience throughout a semester)

Another option for obtaining ESL endorsement in West Virginia is a Master of Arts program in TESOL. Marshall University offers a 36 hour program which offers courses such as Methods and Materials for ESL and Educational Evaluation, in addition to the courses featured in the Graduate Certificate described above.

Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

ESL teacher candidates must pass three Praxis tests administered by ETS. These tests consist of basic skills, pedagogy, and ESL exams. The specific tests are as follows:

  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (basic skills)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching (pedagogy)
  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESL)

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam must be successfully completed in order to gain entry into an educator preparation program. This exam assesses the basic skills which are necessary for being an effective teacher. The exam is divided into three sub-tests that can be taken all at the same time or separately:

  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (code: 5712, minimum pass score - 156)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (code: 5722, minimum pass score - 162)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (code: 5732, minimum pass score - 150)

The Principles of Learning and Teaching is a pedagogy exam which can be taken around the time of graduation from an educator preparation program and is compulsory for all teaching licences. There are three versions of this exam. so candidates will take the exam(s) for the grade levels they aspire to teach. These exams, and their associated minimum pass scores are as follows:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 (code: 5622, minimum pass score - 160)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9 (code: 5623, minimum pass score - 160)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12 (code 5624, minimum pass score - 157)

The English to Speakers of Other Languages PreK-adult exam (code: 5362) assesses whether candidates are qualified to be an ESL teacher. The minimum pass score is 155.

Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License and Endorsement

Once candidates have completed their degree and approved educator preparation program, they may apply for Initial Teacher Certification. Applications can made electronically, using WVDE's certification portal website, or by paper (form 20A). The applications should include the following:

  • Criminal background check clearance.
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school.
  • Proof of educator program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
  • Passing scores on the required examinations.
  • Completed application for teaching certification in West Virginia.
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee ($100).

When applying for the ESL endorsement (Form 8), candidates must forward their application to the appropriate representative at their school. They will verify that the candidate has completed the program and the supervised practicum. The application fee is $35.

Candidates who are currently employed in the West Virginia school system, should have their school send the application to their Superintendent, as they must sign the endorsement application. Official transcripts must be submitted with the application.

ESL Teacher Certification Resources

Please follow the links below to access our resources for helping ESL teacher candidates study for their teacher certification exams in West Virginia:

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