How to Become a Teacher in Wisconsin

how to become a teacher in Wisconsin

Now is the time to become a Wisconsin teacher. In five easy steps, you can transition into a new career. Teaching is a unique profession because it gives you the opportunity to change the lives of others. Even if you did not earn a bachelor’s degree in Education, it does not mean your opportunity to become a teacher in Wisconsin is over. Follow this guide to make your dream of becoming a Wisconsin teacher a reality.

This is not a journey to take alone. Organize your steps and find partners along the way. We have started the work for you and outlined the steps below for how to become a Wisconsin teacher. Use the links in this guide and reach out to the suggested resources and organizations. There are many opportunities in teaching, and we want to help you. So, let’s get started!

Becoming a Teacher in Wisconsin

1. Obtain a Teaching Degree

To become a teacher in Wisconsin, you must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. If you major in education, your university will guide you through the steps to becoming a certified teacher in Wisconsin. If you have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program, there are other pathways to earn a Wisconsin teaching license.

2. Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

Candidates must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers a teacher preparation program finder that is updated frequently and includes traditional and alternative licensure programs. You can access the document for approved teacher preparation programs through the Wisconsin DPI website.

3. Take the Required Testing

Test registration takes place on the ETS and LTI websites. All candidates seeking a Wisconsin Educator License must take one or two of the following initial exams:

  • Praxis® Exams(s) or
  • ACTFL World Languages
  • 190 NES®  Foundations of Reading Test (Required for the following endorsements: Elementary Education K-5, EC, EC-MC, MC-EA, Special Education, Reading Teacher, and Reading Specialist)

4. Apply for Certification

You must have an ELO licensure account before beginning the application process. You can use the ELO Log-In Resource Guide to troubleshoot any problems you have with logging into your ELO account. The application process involves completing a background check. You can access the Fingerprint Decision Tree to determine if you need to be fingerprinted. Processing times vary and are frequently updated on the DPI website.

5. Apply to a Teaching Position

Once you have received your teaching license, you can begin to apply for a teaching position. You can research specific districts by using their website to view job listings, or you can search the Job Center of Wisconsin to search all educator job openings in the state of Wisconsin. In order to have a successful job search, you will want to write a resume and cover letter tailored to the position you are seeking. Also, think of at least two professors, colleagues, or supervisors who can serve as references for you during your job search.

How to Become a Teacher at Various Grade Levels

Here are the lists of Praxis® subject-specific exam choices by grade level.

  • All Areas:
    • 5713 Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading 
    • 5723 Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing 
    • 5733 Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics
    • 5752 Core Academic Skills for Educators: Combined Test 
  • Early Childhood Education (Birth-3)
    • 5018 Elementary Education: Content Knowledge 
  • Elementary and Middle School (K-9):
    • 5146 Middle School: Content Knowledge 
  • Middle and High School (4-12): 
    • 5652 Computer Science
    • 5038 English Language Arts: Content Knowledge
    • 5165 Mathematics
    • 5435 General Science: Content Knowledge
    • 5081 Social Studies: Content Knowledge
    • 5235 Biology: Content Knowledge
    • 5245 Chemistry: Content Knowledge
    • 5652 Computer Science
    • 5571 Earth and Space Sciences: Content Knowledge
    • 5911 Economics
    • 5921 Geography
    • 5941 World and U.S. History: Content Knowledge
    • 5265 Physics: Content Knowledge
    • 5931 Government/Political Science
    • 5391 Psychology
    • 5952 Sociology
    • 5221 Speech Communication: Content Knowledge
  • Prekindergarten through Grade 12:
    • 5701 Agriculture
    • 5134 Art: Content Knowledge
    • 5101 Business Education: Content Knowledge
    • 5362 English to Speakers of Other Languages
    • 5122 Family and Consumer Services
    • 5551 Health Education
    • 5561 Marketing Education
    • 5113 Music: Content Knowledge
    • 5091 Physical Education: Content Knowledge
    • 5331 Speech-Language Pathology
    • 5051 Technology Education
    • 5641 Theatre
  • Pupil Services
    • 5421 Professional School Counselor 
    • 5422 School Counselor
    • 5402 School Psychologist 

Renewing Your Teaching Certification

Once you obtain your Wisconsin Teaching License, you will need to follow the renewal requirements dependent on which Wisconsin license you hold. To renew, you will log into your ELO account. You can find a list of renewal requirements in the state statutes of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Teaching Job Outlook and Salary in Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin had more than 800 thousand students enrolled in their public schools in 2020. According to the DPI’s Public Schools at a Glance, the state had over 110,000 staff members in their public schools and allocated 6.8 billion dollars for funding. Each district’s pay scales vary, so be sure to research district pay scales before filling out your job applications. These pay scales will be on each district’s website.

Wisconsin Districts With the Highest Salaries

According to the Public Teacher Salary Report, the following five districts offered the top average salary for Wisconsin teachers in 2021. The starting pay for teachers in these school districts ranged from about $70,000 to $81,000 annually.

  1. Arrowhead UHS School District($81,534)
  2. Nicolet Union High School School District ($77,851)
  3. Swallow School District ($72,628)
  4. Wilmot UHS School District ($71,771)
  5. Muskego-Norway School District ($70,379)

Can You Be a Teacher Without a Degree in Wisconsin?

The short answer is no. A bachelor’s degree and completion of a state-approved educator preparation program are required to be a fully-certified classroom teacher in Wisconsin. However, you can become a Paraprofessional by holding a high school diploma or its equivalency and completing the following:

  1. An associates degree,
  2. Two years of post-secondary education (48 semester hours), or
  3. passing one of the Hiring Requirements Options

Frequently Asked Questions about Teaching in Wisconsin

Which teaching positions are in-demand?

The US Department of Education reported in 2022-2023 that Wisconsin had a teacher shortage in Special Education Pre-K-12, Core Subjects Pre-K-9, Bilingual Pre-K-12, Mathematics Pre-K-12, English as a Second Language Pre-K-12, and Psychology Pre-K-12. You can view in-demand teaching positions on the US Department of Education website by filtering teacher shortage reports.

What is the average salary for teachers in Wisconsin?

According to salary.com, the average Wisconsin teacher made $55,489 in 2023. However, most teachers typically fall between an average salary of $46,000 and $67,000. Depending on the criteria for averaging districts, the numbers will differ. In general, teachers in rural areas make less, and teachers in urban or suburban areas make more.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Wisconsin?

Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, which takes approximately four years, you will then need to complete a state-approved educator preparation program. When you finish your teacher preparation program, you will then take your initial Wisconsin examinations and apply for a Wisconsin teacher licensure. In less than five years, you should be ready to teach in Wisconsin!

How much does it cost to become a teacher in Wisconsin?

Becoming a teacher in Wisconsin requires a financial commitment. The main initial cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree will vary widely from person to person. If you are majoring in education, or know you are going directly into the field upon graduation, look into grant and loan programs. You can find information about finance and grants on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website here.

In addition to the bachelor’s degree, other costs associated with becoming a Wisconsin teacher include the required teacher preparation program, state certification tests, and license and registration fees. Plan ahead for the financial costs, and your teaching career will be off to a great start.

What other certifications can teachers in Wisconsin obtain?

The short answer is…many! After you receive your initial certification, you can take additional certification tests and become certified in other teaching areas. Endorsements may be added by taking the required exam(s). You can find a list of additional subject area certification requirements on the Wisconsin DPI website. Some endorsements have statutory requirements. You can find more information on the requirements needed for those endorsements here.


Are you ready to become a Wisconsin-certified teacher? 240 can help! 240Tutoring.com offers FREE Wisconsin exam resources to help you master your certification tests. When you subscribe to 240 Tutoring, you will gain access to every 240 Praxis® Study Guide for Wisconsin for one monthly price. With the 240 Tutoring Pass Guarantee, it is no wonder so many are choosing 240 to pass their Wisconsin exams. We wish you the best on your journey to becoming a Wisconsin-certified teacher!

Interested in becoming a teacher in a different state? Check out these additional articles:

How to Become a Teacher in Texas
How To Become a Teacher in North Carolina
How To Become a Teacher in Florida
How to Become a Teacher in Ohio
How to Become a Teacher in Illinois
How to Become a Teacher in Tennessee
How to Become a Teacher in Virginia
How to Become a Teacher in Colorado
How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas