Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Wisconsin

If you’re hoping to become a teacher in Wisconsin, has all the information you will need to pursue this goal. This page describes the key steps you’ll need to take to be a licensed Wisconsin teacher and obtain a teaching position that meets your professional expectations.

1. Choosing a Program: The first step is to find a teaching program that supports your needs and career goals.

  • To ensure you select a program that meets your needs and goals, consider the following questions: What is important to you as a student? Is studying a faith-based college or university a priority? Are you concerned about the cost of the program? Where will you be living while in school? Are campus accommodations are consideration? Is there a specific specialization you hope to pursue and its it available?

2. Planning for Licensure in Wisconsin: In Wisconsin, you will need a minimum of a bachelor degree and an appropriate post-graduate degree in education. You will also need to write and pass the state’s applicable licensure exams.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed your education and passed the applicable exams, you can launch your teaching career.

  • At this point, consider the type of teaching environment in which you hope to work? Are you interested in working in a city or small town? What are your lifestyle priorities? Can you live in an isolated community? How much money do you need to survive and thrive? During this stage of the process, you should also keep developing your resume and profile as an educator. Network, volunteer and stay on top of new developments in the education field.

Choosing an Education Program in Wisconsin understands that choosing the right program may pose a challenge. For this reason, we have streamlined the process. With our complex algorithm, we have reviewed and tested top education programs across the state. Using 2015 data, our team has taken into account the things that matter most to aspiring teachers, including total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, return on investment and much more.

Every school on list is committed to the pursuit of excellence. Find out which ones stand above the rest and best match your own priorities by reviewing the information posted below.

University of Wisconsin-Parkside

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 19 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 29264
  • Acceptance rate 75.47 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 30.24 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 24250

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 21 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 30308
  • Acceptance rate 82.85 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 58.88 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 25000

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 18 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 41612
  • Acceptance rate 67.92 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 82.34 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 23000

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 22 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 29604
  • Acceptance rate 81.34 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 51.78 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 23868

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 19 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 35076
  • Acceptance rate 72 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 68.5 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 23203

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 20 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 34840
  • Acceptance rate 76.46 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 66.22 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 23250

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 21 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 30312
  • Acceptance rate 84.68 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 56.42 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 25250

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 21 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 29936
  • Acceptance rate 96.47 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 53.21 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 24000

Silver Lake College of the Holy Family

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 6 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 92720
  • Acceptance rate 60 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 39.13 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 30500

University of Wisconsin-River Falls

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 20 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 30884
  • Acceptance rate 86.63 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 33546
  • Graduation Rate 52.79 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 24700

Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.

How to Become a Teacher in Wisconsin

Individuals who are working towards their career as a teacher should consider the following components in order to become successful in the state of Wisconsin. Specific credentials are expected of all teachers prior to entering the field, and helpful tools will guide professionals throughout their teaching career.  The following aspects will be of great use to all individuals entering the field, and should be considered to build a competitive skill set and resume.

Licensing in Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin requires that aspiring teachers complete the following credentials in order to be properly prepared for a career in education:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent program
  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree; majors should reflect the subject area that will be taught
  • Completion of a teacher preparation program either at an accredited college or university

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) offers a list of accredited schools within the state of Wisconsin.

Courses will generally include regular classroom lessons as well as fieldwork, to provide hands on experience to students prior to entering the field. A master’s degree in education (ME) will offer the opportunity to expand teaching knowledge into realms such as pedagogy, philosophy and educational technology. Benefits of a master’s degree in education can be found here.

Are online programs available for teachers in Wisconsin?

The University of Wisconsin offers a wide variety of online bachelor degree programs, including an elementary education major. The major meets the highest standards for teacher certification, and graduates are eligible for licensure teaching in one of two systems:

  • Pre-kindergarten through sixth grade  
  • First grade through eighth grade

A large portion of this program is completed online, while internships in nearby schools will also be an important component to gain the proper preparation.

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee also offers a wide range of degrees, certificates and programs to meet the various needs of students. Those teachers pursuing a master’s degree may consider programs such as:

  • Educational Administration and Supervision
  • Higher Education Administration

What tests need to be completed?

Wisconsin requires that all individuals complete the Basic Skill Test requirements and any Subject Area Competence tests that reflect areas of instruction. Prior to entering a teacher preparation program, students must complete:

  • A Pre Professional Skills Test (PPST); covers general knowledge of the field
  • Praxis II subject-specific tests; tests knowledge in specific area of future instruction

Provided by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Praxis II test information is available including qualifying test scores, state contacts and frequently asked questions.

What certifications are required?

The state of Wisconsin awards Wisconsin Initial Licenses and Renewals to teachers using the Educator Licensing Online (ELO) system; this system streamlines the license application process between individuals and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

First-time teacher applicants will need to complete the following requirements:

  1. Ensure that the educator preparation program completed has submitted the endorsements requested to the DPI.
  2. Create a Wisconsin Access Management System (WAMS) account
  3. Conduct a fingerprint scanning if necessary
  4. Pay the required fees
  5. Log in and use the ELO system to complete an application

All other first-time requests for applications can be found at the Initial License for Wisconsin Program Completers page. All other licenses offered by the DPI and their requirements can be found here.

What is the job outlook for teachers in Wisconsin?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following stats are a reflection of the Wisconsin employment and wages of teachers at various levels in 2014:

  • Wisconsin employed 25,390 elementary school teachers; the annual mean wage was $54,560
  • There were 11,130 middle school teachers employed, with an annual mean wage of $54,630
  • Secondary school teachers had 20,260 jobs, with an annual mean wage of $54,580

Both elementary and middle school teachers had employment levels in the second highest sector across the country, while secondary school teachers were in the highest sector. All three levels had average annual incomes which were slightly lower than the country’s average; however they still sat in the second highest sector in comparison to all other states.

The BLS has also reported that since 2010:

  • Elementary teaching positions have declined from 28,070 to 25,390
  • Middle school teaching positions have decrease in employment from 12,820 to 11,130
  • In contrast, secondary school teachers have seen an increase from 18,770 employed teachers in 2010 to 20,260
  • All three levels have seen significant wage increases

Individuals who are seeking employment in this state should consider various job opportunities across the state, based on economy, average wages and employment fluctuations.

What resources are available for teachers?

Individuals will find a helpful tool in the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), which represents educator’s interests, public policy, and labor of its members all across the state. It is helpful for teachers with all levels of experience to refer to this resource throughout their career for up to date news, continuing education opportunities and more.

Some of the benefits of becoming a WEAC member include:

  • Professional resources only available to members
  • National Board Certification support programs
  • On-site training for specific courses, ESP, health and safety and more
  • Discounted legal advice
  • Leadership opportunities

Other opportunities that are offered by the WEAC include:

  • Networking with local and state-wide partners and members
  • Calendar of events for upcoming meetings, conferences, summits, etc.
  • Helpful resources such as Educator Effectiveness, WEA Academy, Quality Educator Interactive (QEI) page and more

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