Teaching Programs in Wisconsin
Working as a teacher in Wisconsin offers professional benefits and the satisfaction that comes from preparing the next generation academically. Whether you’re looking to explore some of the many teaching programs in Wisconsin or considering a move to the Badger State, this page provides all the information you need regarding how to become a teacher in the state.
How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides numerous paths for becoming a teacher, depending on your existing qualifications and subject interests. Routes outlined below cover options ranging from first-time learners to career changers to teachers transferring from out of state.
Traditional Pathway to Becoming a Teacher in Wisconsin
The most traditional route to working as a teacher is to pursue one of the many state-approved teaching programs in Wisconsin offered at the bachelor’s level, receive passing scores on required examinations, and apply for licensure.
While working toward degree requirements, you will participate in a student teaching practicum to help build real-world classroom skills before graduation. Exams required include the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators alongside PRAXIS subject area tests. Those seeking licensure at a particular level (e.g., early childhood, secondary) must also sit the Wisconsin Foundations Reading Test. All teachers-to-be are subject to fingerprinting and background checks.
Becoming a Wisconsin Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher
If you already possess a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education, you may qualify to apply for a teaching job via alternative certification. Many career changers seek this option, specifically if they majored in a license subject. This is also a popular option for those looking to work in a shortage area. In Wisconsin, these currently include mathematics, science, CTE, language, special education, and ESL.
To receive licensure under the alternative route, you must locate a state-approved educator preparation program. These typically take between six to 18 months and are currently available via online, hybrid, weekend, and competency-based formats at nine schools throughout the state. After meeting all requirements, you can apply for an Initial Educator License.
Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification in Wisconsin
Several paths exist for individuals looking to work as career and technical education teachers (also known as trade specialists). Because requirements are often very different from standard teaching pathways, it’s essential to read all instructions carefully. Some states, such as Wisconsin, may not require bachelor’s degrees in all cases, whereas others do with no exception. Qualifying paths include:
Rather than receiving licensure, trade specialists earn a teaching permit. They can only teach the subject area in which they possess training and/or extensive occupational experience.
Teachers Moving to Wisconsin from a Different State
Educators who already possess a valid teaching license from another state can apply to transfer their licenses to Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction determines comparability with current state requirements to ensure the applicant met similar prep, exam, and statutory mandates to receive their license. If so, they can apply for an initial license.
Those who possess less than one year of teaching experience must provide a passing score on the edTPA, either by taking the test in Wisconsin or demonstrating passing grades from their previous state.
The Department notes that application review typically takes 12 to 16 weeks, so build this into your timeline when considering a move.
Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth for Wisconsin Teachers
Wisconsin teachers receive salaries that sit slightly below the national average for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Although this may initially seem disappointing, it’s important to remember that many parts of the state have costs of living that are also below the national average.
|Career||2018 Average Salary||Projected Job Growth|
|Elementary School Teachers||$55,860||3%|
|Middle School Teachers||$58,260||3%|
|Secondary School Teachers||$56,700||3%|
|Postsecondary Teaching||$81,743*||Varies by subject|
*Averaged from all postsecondary salaries
Teacher Training Programs in Wisconsin
Many schools in Wisconsin participate in tuition reciprocity practices with both Minnesota and the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). If you are a resident of Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, or Ohio, you may be eligible for MSEP tuition rates.
Alverno College (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Since 1887, Alverno College has provided liberal arts educations taught via the Roman Catholic tradition. Established as a women’s college and still primarily serving that demographic, learners can select from undergraduate programs in elementary education (early childhood, middle childhood), secondary education (science, social studies, chemistry, ELA, mathematics), Montessori, and special education degrees. Those seeking graduate studies choose from either an M.A. in education or an Ed.D, the latter of which is available online.
Full-time undergraduates: $14,328 per semester
Graduates: $785 per credit hour
It may also be of interest that Alverno College offers undergraduate housing for as little as $1,961 per semester.
Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
The College of Education at Marquette University serves teachers, administrators, and support staff alike through a variety of programs. The B.S. in education offers tracks for certification in elementary/middle and middle/secondary education, with 17 different subject areas available. Graduate programs on offer include an M.A. in educational policy and foundations and M.Ed. degrees in educational administration, STEM teaching, and student affairs in higher education. An Ed.D. also exists, as do several counseling education pathways.
Undergraduate: $43,350 per year
Graduate: $875 per credit hour
Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin)
The second university founded as a coeducational institution in the United States, Lawrence University has provided degrees since 1849. At the baccalaureate level, programs exist for Elementary, Secondary (English, social studies, math, science, computer science), and K-12 (art, music, theatre, world languages, ESL). Students can also choose from minors in education policy, law, or administration; counseling, school psychology, or special education; education outreach; or community development and social work.
Tuition per year: $48,822 regardless of residency
University of Wisconsin–Madison (Madison, Wisconsin)
Operating as the flagship institution within the UW system, the Madison campus’s School of Education offers an expansive array of degrees at every level. Programs available for undergraduates include art education, education studies, elementary education, music education, and special education, among others. An M.S. in professional education is offered via the department of educational psychology, while a doctoral research program also exists. All except the master’s program must be completed in person.
Undergraduate tuition per semester:
Wisconsin residents: $5,362.66
Undergraduate Minnesota residents: $7,385.02
Undergraduate non-residents: $18,892.54
Graduate tuition per credit hour:
Wisconsin residents: $807.19
Minnesota residents: $1,235.47
University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point (Stevens Point, Wisconsin)
Undergraduates at UWSP can choose from a vast array of programs in early childhood, elementary, English, family and consumer sciences, foreign languages, mathematics, music, physical education, science, social science, or special education. Those seeking an M.S. in education can choose from add-ons in family and consumer sciences, health, reading, early childhood, or special education, while doctoral candidates can pursue an Ed.D. in educational sustainability. The school plays home to the Harju Center for Equity in Education, the Talent Development Center, and the PK-18 Council.
Tuition per semester:
Undergraduate Wisconsin residents: $3,349.08
Undergraduate Minnesota residents: $3,766.92
Undergraduate MSEPs: $5,719
Undergraduate non-residents: $7,700.88
Graduate Wisconsin residents: $4,033.17
Graduate Minnesota residents: $5,001.30
Graduate MSEPs: $5,902.20
Graduate nonresidents: $8,853.12
Wisconsin Teacher Resources
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