Become a Teacher in Wisconsin

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Teaching in Wisconsin Snapshot

$59,180Secondary School Teacher Salary
$57,980Elementary School Teacher Salary
$11,968Public School Spending Per Student

All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing's most recent data 2016

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

125 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707-7841
(608) 266-3390

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Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Wisconsin

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com 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 update: 04/27/2020)

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Prerequisite Coursework in Wisconsin

Generally, states require that certified teachers hold, at a minimum, 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 every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for more information.

 

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Wisconsin Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher education programs usually consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. Coursework often includes instruction on foundational knowledge,  skills, and pedagogy (the art and science of teaching) as well as preparation in researching, designing and implementing learning experiences in various fields of study. The fieldwork component often includes class observation, student teaching or internships.

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Required Tests for Wisconsin

In order to become a certified teacher in Wisconsin, you must satisfactorily demonstrate subject area competency through passage of a Praxis II or ACTFL World Language Test (unless GPA or portfolio alternatives are pursued), pass a Wisconsin Foundations of Reading test, and an edTPA test.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting Teach.coms' Ultimate Guide to the Praxis Exams and read more about teacher certification tests on Teach.com.

Initial Teaching Certifications

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issues new teachers their Initial Teaching Licenses, which are valid for five years and are non-renewable, except under extenuating circumstances as a one-year extension. After at least three years of teaching, teachers may advance to their Lifetime Educator Licenses, which require a background check every 5 years. The department also offers the Master Educator License to teachers who hold a Professional Educator License and have successfully completed either their national board certification or their Wisconsin master educator assessment process.

Learn more about earning your Wisconsin teaching credential on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website. Read more about getting your teaching credential in general on the Teach and CertificationMap websites.

Discover an 8-week Online Teaching Short Course from Harvard's Bok Center

Learn more about an 8-week short course from Harvard's Bok Center

Earn recognition of your ability to develop and deliver a memorable teaching experience when you receive a premier certificate from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX, upon successful course completion.

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Alternative Certification in Wisconsin

Wisconsin allows for the development and approval of alternative programs for Initial Teaching Licenses. These programs must be pre-approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and many are dedicated to licensure in shortage areas. A list of approved alternative programs in Wisconsin can be found on the state Department of Public Instruction’s website.

Wisconsin Teacher Certification Information & Links

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Transferring Your Certification

Certification Reciprocity in Wisconsin

Wisconsin allows interstate reciprocity for teaching credentials from other states with similar licensing requirements. Contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for information on specific out-of-state licensure circumstances, or visit the Teach.com reciprocity page to learn more.

To find out what other state teaching licenses can be used in Wisconsin, check out our Teacher Certification Reciprocity page on Teach.com.

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Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Teaching Jobs

While the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction does maintain its own list of teaching positions open to the public, it also directs educators searching for work to a number of other online resources. These include the Job Center of Wisconsin, which hosts a search engine for positions throughout the state and the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network, which features an online application system for certified staff.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on Teach.com.

Wisconsin Teacher Salary and Incentives

According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin teachers earn an average of  around $51,000 per year. Wisconsin school districts increase their teachers’ salaries according to their years of experience and the advanced degrees they’ve earned.

Learn more about teacher salaries on Teach.com.

Wisconsin Teacher Benefits and 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 on Teach.com.

Wisconsin Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage area is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which … there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.” The Department allows states to identify their own teacher shortage areas, but encourages them to follow a prescribed methodology based on unfilled teaching positions, teaching positions filled by instructors with irregular certifications, and positions filled by teachers certified in other subject areas.

There are currently no shortage areas listed for the state of Wisconsin.

Financial Aid in Wisconsin

There are several forms of aid available to teachers pursuing their Master’s in Teaching. The TEACH Grant, for example, offers financial aid in return for teaching full time in a high-need field at a low-income school for at least four academic years. Similarly, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program allows teachers to teach full-time at a low-income school for five years in exchange for forgiveness of up to $17,500 of student loans. The college or university where you plan to attain your master’s degree may also offer its own aid.

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

Career Advancement

Professional Development for Wisconsin Teachers

Wisconsin lifetime professional license holders must maintain their certification buy getting a background check every 5 years.

Benefits of a Master's Degree in Wisconsin

Earning a Master’s in Teaching may increase your salary in some school Wisconsin districts. Specific salary schedules will vary from district to district. 

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on Teach.com.

Explore Sponsored Program Options in Education

Sponsored Online programs
University Name Type of Program Program Description
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.
Harvard University's Bok Center Advanced Certification in Teaching The 8-week Teaching and Learning Strategies for Higher Education online short course is delivered by Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX. Students in this course will engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective teaching methods in the higher education context, while refining their own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy.

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Last Updated May 2020