Wisconsin Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Wisconsin

Teaching License Updated July 23, 2015

A career as an educator in Wisconsin requires similar steps to becoming a teacher somewhere else, but each state has their own requirements. You can obtain a teaching certification in Wisconsin several ways. Most programs require completion of an education preparation program.

Requirements for certified teachers in Wisconsin

Most licenses in Wisconsin require you to complete an education preparation program, which includes a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate degree. You should choose one of Wisconsin’s approved educator preparation programs.

You will also need to pass a number of tests, including the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test, the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators series (CORE), and a PRAXIS II test specific to the grade level and subject you wish to teach.

You may also need to take a post-baccalaureate certification program or obtain a master’s degree for certain specializations. You must have a license for the subjects you want to teach. Once you obtain a license, you still need to renew it at least every five years.

Some applicants must submit fingerprints for a background check prior to obtaining a teaching certification in Wisconsin People who lived or worked in states other than Wisconsin, Canada, Great Britain, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands within the last 20 years, not including time prior to age 17, must submit fingerprints along with their application.

Wisconsin jobs for licensed teachers

First-time applicants to become a licensed teacher in Wisconsin can apply for several initial licenses. You can get an Initial Educator License by graduating from a Wisconsin educator program or an approved out-of-state educator program. You can also apply for a reading teacher or reading specialist license if you complete a Wisconsin program.

Once you have completed three years of teaching under your Initial Educator License, you may apply for a Professional Educator License. Optionally, if you have a Professional Educator License and have successfully completed a National Board Certification by National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) or a Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process (WMEAP), you may apply for a Master Educator License.

Another license option is a Substitute License. This also requires that you complete an approved educator program. An educational interpreter license is awarded only to people who have finished an educator preparation program.

Some licenses in Wisconsin do not require completion of an approved program, but have other requirements. If you want to become an orientation and mobility teacher, you can apply for an initial license after completing an orientation and mobility program.

Wisconsin requires that school audiologists graduate from a master’s in audiology degree program before becoming licensed.

You can apply for a short-term Substitute Permit with a bachelor’s degree in any field, not only education. This license only allows people to substitute for fewer than 20 days consecutively if there are no licensed teachers or licensed substitute teachers available at that time.

Wisconsin also awards Intern Licenses for teacher interns. This program allows pre-service teachers to start a teaching career as an intern for a full semester.

Applying for a license in Wisconsin requires a fee along with the appropriate application. Each application for an initial license must be accompanied by a fee dependent on whether you are applying with an in-state or out-of-state school.

If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Wisconsin for the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Career and Technology Education
    • Business Education
    • Family and Consumer Education (FACE)
    • Technology Education
  • Special Education
    • Cognitive Disabilities
    • Cross Categorical
    • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • Early Childhood-Special Education
    • Emotional/Behavioral Disorders156
    • Learning Disabilities
    • School Speech and Language Disabilities
    • Visual Disabilities
  • Standard Disciplines
    • English as a Second Language/Bilingual Education
    • Foreign Languages
    • Library Media
    • Mathematics
    • Music
    • Reading
    • Sciences

A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Teaching license reciprocity in Wisconsin

Wisconsin explicitly does not issue teaching licenses based on interstate reciprocity agreement. Teachers must fulfill all Wisconsin requirements, including proof of passing their state’s tests.

For more information, visit Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.

Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.

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