Licensing Considerations

July 2020


DPI Licensing Pathways

Initial Teaching License Pathways
Pathway Options

  1. Bachelor's Degree Pathway
  2. Post Baccalaureate Pathway
  3. Alternative Route Program Pathway
  4. License Based on Equivalency Pathway
  5. American Board Pathway

Additional Subject Area Certification
Candidate Profiles

  1. License Based on a Content Test Pathway
  2. Post-baccalaureate Pathway
  3. Alternative Route Program Pathway
  4. License Based on Equivalency Pathway
  5. Out-of-State Pathway


School District Support License Pathways
Professional Teaching Permits Candidate Profile

Upon completing a minimum of 100 hours of formal instruction in the application of modern curricula and passing the subject-specific content tests, an individual is permitted to teach. This pathway is designed for school districts seeking to fill shortage areas with experienced content professionals.
  • Professional with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in: engineering, math, science, computer science, art, music, or world languages.
    • Engineer can get a math permit, science permit, or technology education permit
  • Five years of experience as a professional in the subject area in which the bachelor’s degree was awarded
  • Seeking a permit to teach in a Wisconsin school district in one of these shortage areas


Out-of-State Pathways
Pathway Options

  1. Out-of-State Pathway
  2. License Based on Reciprocity Pathway
  3. Out-of-State Alternative Routes Pathways
  4. Post-baccalaureate Pathway
  5. Alternative Route Program Pathway
  6. License Based on Equivalency Pathway
  7. Credential evaluation by Wisconsin approved Educator Preparation Program 


License Based on Equivalency
The purpose of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction License Based on Equivalency (LBE) standards-based assessment process is to provide another pathway to a Wisconsin teaching license for people with teaching experience directly related to the license being sought. The Wisconsin DPI LBE process is based on performance and designed for applicants to substantiate proficiency in the Wisconsin Educator Standards. To obtain a Wisconsin teaching license through the Wisconsin DPI LBE process, applicants must provide evidence of the following:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university;
  2. A subject-area major or the equivalent of a major, if applying for licensure at the early adolescence to adolescence (EA-A) or early childhood to adolescence (EC-A) developmental levels, directly related to the licensure sought;
  3. Three years of teaching experience directly related to the developmental level and subject of the licensure sought;
  4. Basic skills, content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge demonstrated through assessments prescribed by the state superintendent;
    Competence in Wisconsin Teaching Standards 1 through 8 as demonstrated by a passing score on the edTPA and the appropriate content knowledge test.


License with Stipulations
One-Year License with Stipulations (LWS1)

The LWS1, first made available on June 1, 2017, replaces the emergency license and emergency permit. Since August 1, 2018, there are several pathways and criteria that could result in our office issuing a LWS1.

Candidates who may be initially eligible for the LWS1 include:

  1. Out-of-State program: Teachers or pupil services staff prepared in another state who have not met Wisconsin testing requirements OR
  2. WI approved program: Teachers with a bachelor’s degree who have completed all coursework in a WI approved program, but who have not met all WI approved program requirements OR
  3. School district need: Individuals with a bachelor’s degree hired when a district cannot find a fully licensed educator OR
  4. Pupil Services: School counselors, School social workers, School psychologists or School nurses who hold a master’s degree or are enrolled in an approved preparation program that lead to the license for their position OR
  5. Speech and Language Pathologist: Speech and Language Pathologists with a master’s degree who hold a valid license from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). Apply for Speech and Language Pathologist found Application Directions for One-Year License with Stipulations for Speech and Language Pathology.


Three-Year License with Stipulations (LWS-3)
To be eligible for the three-year, district-sponsored license with stipulations (LWS3), a teacher must:

  • Hold a valid Provisional (Tier II), Lifetime (Tier III), or Master Educator (Tier IV) license;
  • Have at least one year of experience in the requesting district
  • Be assigned to teach grades and/or subjects outside what is authorized under their existing Wisconsin license;
  • The district, CESA, or residential school:
    • Assigns the teacher to a new subject and/or developmental level
    • Completes and signs off on the 1613 Employment Verification form and the 1624 LWS-3 District Request For License With Stipulations Form
    • Provides appropriate professional development and supervision for the teacher to become proficient in the license program content guidelines for the new license area so that the teacher is prepared to submit a portfolio to the department by the end of the term of this license.


3-Year Short-Term Substitute License
A three-year short-term substitute license may be issued to an applicant who holds an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university and who has successfully completed an approved substitute training program, but has not completed a state-approved educator preparation program.

Once an educator holds a current three-year short-term substitute license, they may short-term substitute at any Wisconsin school district that employs them.

Applicants must successfully complete the district-selected substitute training. As per PI 34.032, the substitute training must include all of the following:

  • Basic school district and school policies and procedures.
  • Age-appropriate teaching strategies.
  • Discipline, conflict resolution, and classroom management techniques.
  • Health and safety issues, including handling medical emergencies.
  • Techniques for starting a class.
  • The culture of schools and the teaching profession.
  • Working with lesson plans.
  • Working with children with disabilities, including confidentiality issues.


Substitute Teacher Training Programs

The following organizations offer training programs for substitute teaching:

  • CESA 1 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 2 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 3 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 4 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 5 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 6 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 7 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 8 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 9 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 10 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 11 Substitute Teacher Training
  • CESA 12 Substitute Teacher Training
  • WEA Professional Development Academy
  • - Note: a score of 85% or higher is required on STEDI's assessment
  • EDUStaff

Note that many districts provide their own training for short-term substitutes, which is allowed by administrative code. In addition, educators who have completed the WTCS Foundations of Teacher Education associate degree program have completed the required substitute training.

This license allows the educator to be in a short-term (no more than 45 days in a specific assignment) substitute assignment. The Three-Year Short-Term Substitute license does not allow the license holder to be in a long-term substitute assignment. For long-term substitute assignments, the applicant may apply for a License with Stipulations if requested by the employing school district. A license with stipulations requires the educator to be enrolled in and complete a state-approved educator preparation program in the subject or grade level of their assignment under the License with Stipulations.


Alternative Licensure Pathways

CESA 1 Proficiency Based Licensure Program
Proficiency Based Licensure (PBL) is an educator preparation program approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for individuals interested in obtaining Wisconsin initial teacher certification. The PBL program also provides an efficient and effective means for currently licensed teachers to expand their certification.

The mission of the PBL program is to fill critical vacancies in high-need educational areas by offering an approved personalized route to teacher certification for qualified individuals. The program provides teacher candidates with the resources and support necessary to achieve proficiency in the InTasc Learning Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers.

The PBL program develops highly qualified teachers and provides an opportunity for those working in areas designated as "high need" to obtain their Initial Educators certification.

  • Alternative Education
  • Business Education
  • Bilingual Education
  • Bilingual/Special Education
  • Computer Science
  • Cross Categorical Special Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Other World Language
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Education


CESA 6 RITE Program
The Residency in Teacher Education (RITE) program is a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) approved teacher licensure program. The RITE program provides formal instruction in the planning and delivery of effective instructional practices, assessment of student progress, classroom management, and educational technology implemented during a residency-based teaching experience.

Licensure Areas:

  • Agriculture Education
  • Art
  • Bilingual
  • Business Education
  • Computer Science
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Music: General, Choral, and Instrumental
  • Mathematics - Secondary
  • Secondary Science: Broad Field Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Special Education: Cross-Categorical
  • Technology Education 
  • World Languages: Chinese, French, German, Spanish


CESA 7 Teacher Development Center Alternative Licensure
The CESA 7 TDC Alternative Licensure Program is a one-to-three year accelerated, performance based, intensive Alternative Licensure teacher preparation program for emergency licensed teachers and those wanting to add a license. The program is primarily designed for teachers hired in shortage areas. Teachers working in private programs can also apply. It is also a program for certified teachers who want to add English Language Learner (ESL), Bilingual or Special Education certification to their existing license.


CESA 9 Excellence in Teaching Pathway
Our vision is to provide an outstanding, rigorous, relevant program of study that actively engages candidates. We use a job-embedded, learn-by-doing approach that models effective instruction for deep 21st century learning. This method prepares candidates for career opportunities as highly qualified teachers.

Program Overview:
Whether pursuing a second career or looking to do something different with your degree, CESA 9 offers a pathway to become a teacher. Click here for our Special Education route.

If you have a Bachelor’s Degree in one of the following areas: Art, Business, Computer Science, English, Health, Math, Music, Science, Social Studies, Theatre/Drama, or World Languages, our DPI-approved, 11-month program consisting of rigorous and relevant courses, on-the-job learning, and support from our staff will prepare you to become a licensed teacher.


American Board Online Teacher Certification
You can become a teacher in Wisconsin on your own schedule, without quitting your current job or going into debt. Our program is entirely online and self-paced, so you can start any time and work towards earning teacher certification on a schedule that works for you.

Certification areas:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • History
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Reading
  • Science (General)
  • Special Education


 Members are invited to join the Reopening Wisconsin Schools Discussion on WASBO's ConNectwork by clicking this link, signing into your WASBO account, and pressing the "Join" button! 

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