Become a Teacher in Wisconsin


Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

125 S. Webster Street, P.O. Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841

(800) 441-4563

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    Become a teacher in Wisconsin

        Wisconsin Teacher Shortage areas

            Earn Your Teaching Credential in Wisconsin

            Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015

            To earn your teaching credential, you will have to complete pre-requisite work, standardized testing and all of the requirements specific to the state of Wisconsin. You may qualify for state-to-state reciprocity if you have already earned a teaching credential out of the state of Wisconsin. Click here to learn more about earning your Wisconsin teaching credential.

            Wisconsin teachers advance from an Initial Educator License to a five-year Professional Educator License once they have successfully completed 3-5 years of full-time teaching and have a professional development plan in place. There is also an optional, 10-year, Master Educator License, for which teachers have to go through a rigorous assessment process

            Learn more about getting your teaching credential.

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            Prerequisite coursework in Wisconsin

            All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a Bachelor’s degree. Many states also have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Wisconsin  does not list specific course or credit hour requirements, although it does require a major in the area or subject you plan to teach. Every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Department of Education for more information. Wisconsin does have a supervised student teaching requirement.

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            Required Tests in Wisconsin

            In order to become a certified teacher in Wisconsin, you must satisfactorily complete the Basic Skill Test requirement and any Subject Area Competence assessments required for  your desired area of instruction.

            Basic Skills Test

            Subject Area Competence

            You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

            Read more about teacher certification tests.

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            Wisconsin Teacher Certification Programs

            Teacher education programs usually consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component often includes class observation, student teaching or an internship. Wisconsin has a student teaching requirement.

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            Alternative Certification in Wisconsin

            Wisconsin allows for the development and approval of alternative programs for initial educator licensing. These programs must be pre-approved by the Wisconsin department of public instruction. Many of the programs are for licensure in “critical shortage” areas in a particular region or school district. A list of alternative programs in Wisconsin and contact information can be found in the PI 34 Index of Approved Alternative Route to Licensure Programs in Wisconsin.

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            Certification Reciprocity in Wisconsin

            Wisconsin does allow for state-to-state reciprocity from any licensure process that is of equal stringency to its own certification requirements. Contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for information on specific certification programs, or visit the reciprocity page.

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            Benefits of Earning a Master’s in Education in Wisconsin

            Earning a Master’s in education will increase your salary in some school districts. In the Milwaukee public schools in 2009, a teacher starting out with a Master’s degree could expect to earn about $5,000 more per year than a teacher starting out with a Bachelor’s degree. In the Racine school system, teachers with 5 or 10 years of experience could expect to earn close to $8,000 or $10,000 more, respectively, if they had a Master’s degree.

            Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education.

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            Master’s in Education Financial Aid

            Wisconsin residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

            Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree.

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            Wisconsin Teacher Salary & Incentives

            In 2007, Wisconsin ranked 26th in the country with an average teacher salary of $46,707. However, compensation for Wisconsin teaching jobs has continued to rise, with the average annual base salary for teachers in 2009 at $55,635. The annual salary range at this time was $39,580 – $79,160.  Wisconsin increases teacher pay according to years of teaching experience and college degrees earned. Learn more about teacher salaries.

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            Wisconsin Teacher Benefits & Retirement

            Retirement benefits for teachers in Wisconsin are handled by the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF). The ETF website provides detailed information on retirement benefits for education jobs.

            Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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            Professional Development for Teachers in Wisconsin

            Wisconsin teachers are required to obtain 6 professional development credits in order to renew their teaching licenses for 5 years. Courses for professional development credits are offered both online and at local colleges and universities. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website provides detailed information on the state professional development process.

            For license renewal, teachers are required to create and fulfill Professional Development Plan (PDP) during each 5-year licensing period.

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            Wisconsin Teaching Jobs

            The Wisconsin State Government website includes an online job search tool, where users can search for Wisconsin by region and specific job type. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction also maintains an online list of education jobs and teaching vacancies.

            Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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            Wisconsin Teacher Certification Information & Links