WVUteach Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the WVUteach program?
A: WVUteach is a program targeted for undergraduate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) majors who are interested in expanding their professional skills and exploring a career in secondary teaching. Most students can graduate in four years with a degree in his or her content area as well as obtain licensure as a highly qualified teacher. The program emphasizes field-based experiences early and throughout your college career.
Q: Do I have to change my major to work towards teacher certification?
A: No. WVUteach courses can be added to any WVU major in any college; however, this could add more hours overall.
Q: If I follow a teaching degree option, could I still compete in my field or go to graduate school if I decide not to teach?
A: Yes. Under the teaching options you take the same courses as students in the nonteaching options, except for slight variations. You could compete with students in the non-teaching option for the same jobs and graduate programs in your field.
Q: I've heard that students start teaching their first semester in the program. Is that true?
A: Yes, that is true. In our ARSC 120 course, students start to write lesson plans and teach these lessons to elementary school children the very first semester in the program. Students visit elementary schools to observe twice, and return on three separate occasions to teach short lessons. This way, students get a very early idea of what it is like to teach and can decide if they would like to continue towards certification.
Q: The courses seem to have significant time requirements. How can I fit the time into my already packed schedule?
A: Fitting it in will be easier than you think. For the first two courses (Step 1 and Step 2), just make sure that at least one day a week you have a 2.5 hour block of time to go out to schools. Elementary schools generally close at 2:30; middle schools close at 3:30. The other courses in the professional development sequence (two in particular: Classroom Interactions and Project Based Instruction) will require significantly more time per week. Students are generally able to work required teachings and projects into their schedule just as they would any other course.
Q: Is there a specific GPA I need to enter into the WVUteach Program and to graduate from the program?
A: Yes, to enter the WVUteach Program (students generally enter the Program during the same semester they enroll in UTCH 222 - Classroom Interactions in Math and Science), a student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75. In order to graduate from the WVUteach Program, students must have a 3.0 GPA.
Q: What are the special resources devoted to WVUteach students?
A: WVUteach students enjoy program-specific options to support their academic work. Within a community of like-minded students, the WVUteach program provides resources such as program-specific classrooms, customized advising, a dedicated workspace, and a well-supported student organization.
Q: How will I be supported in school-based experiences?
A: Master Teachers, Mentor Teachers, and University Faculty are part of the school-based WVUteach program expereinces. Before, during, and after teaching, students are offered feedback and support as they plan, practice, and reflect upon their lessons.
Q: Will I be able to get a job?
A: The demand for math, science, and engineering teachers is still very high, not only in West Virginia, but across the U.S. Being a part of a well-respected program nationwide - dozens of universities have UTeach programs across the country graduating exceptional teachers. WVUteach will support students through the job search, with coaching on all aspects of the process, such as resume writing, best interview practices, etc. In addition, the WVUteach program supports it's graduates through their first year of teaching with mentoring, professional development, and more.
Q: Where can I get more information about the job market?
A: Currently, the UTeach Institute, which manages replication of the UTeach model, publishes statistics about all UTeach programs. In addition, the United States Department of Labor publishes their Occupational Outlook Handbook, with a section for high school teachers.
Q: Do I need to take any tests to become a teacher?
A: Yes, you will need to take three Praxis tests required for licensure. Two of these tests are required for all licensure areas, and one of these tests is required for your specific licensure area (i.e. Biology, Chemistry, Chemistry and Physics, Earth and Space Science, Mathematics, and Physics). More information about the West Virginia testing requirements and the individual Praxis tests can be found on the ETS Praxis website.
Q: When do I take the tests to be a teacher?
A: The following are the approximate timelines to plan on taking the required Praxis exams:
- Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) test (all three parts: 5712, 5722, and 5732), is to be taken prior to enrolling in UTCH 222: Classroom Interactions in Math and Science.*
- Tests Required for Specific Licensure Areas - Secondary Education/Content Endorsements (in one of the following areas: Biology (5235), Chemistry (5245), Chemistry and Physics (5245 and 5265), Earth and Space Science (5571), Mathematics (5161), and Physics (5265)) is to be taken prior to UTCH 430: Apprentice Teaching.
- Principles of Learning and Teaching (5624) is to be taken during the semester you are enrolled in UTCH 430: Apprentice Teaching.
*This test in ONLY required if you attained below a 25 on the ACT, below a 26 on the ACT enhanced (effective November 1989), below a 1035 on the SAT, below a 1125 on the re-centered SAT (effective April 1995), and/or below a 1170 on the revised SAT using the combined Critical Reading and Math score (effective March 2005).
More information about the West Virginia testing requirements and the individual Praxis tests can be found on the ETS Praxis website.
Q: Is West Virginia the only state I can teach in once I certified to teach?
STEM teachers are in high demand across the country. Upon graduation, students who have achieved their certification in West Virginia through the WVUteach program are eligible for reciprocal certification in 47 states and territories in and around the United States. The State of West Virginia participates in a reciprocal teacher certificaiton agreement with the states listed below via the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Certification Contract. This agreement makes it easier for teachers certified in one state to become certified teachers in another state. The following states/territories/organizations also participate:
- British Columbia
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina