How To Become a Teacher in Wisconsin

Written by TeachingDegree.org Staff


At the heart of "America's Dairyland," Wisconsin ranks among the national leaders of milk and cheese production, manufacturing, and agriculture. Emerging from a decade-long teacher shortage, Wisconsin also offers lucrative teaching careers to licensed educators.

In Wisconsin, earning a teaching degree at any level can lead to career opportunities in education. Wisconsin's residents hold associate degrees at a higher rate than the national average. Teachers in the state require a bachelor's degree to qualify for state certification, the state offers many alternative paths to licensure. Wisconsin also provides financial incentives to aspiring teachers in high-need districts.

Many schools also incentivize teaching in Wisconsin by offering convenient online degrees. Such programs may offer accelerated completion times and flexible enrollment options, potentially reducing tuition costs. Most accredited teaching degrees in Wisconsin allow students to complete their degree and the state-required teacher training program concurrently.

The following guide comprehensively explains how to become a teacher in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin at a Glance

Population 5,851,750
Per Capita Income $34,568
Full-Time Equivalent Teachers 59,484
Number of Public School Districts 464
Number of Public K-12 Schools 2,255
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 31
Climate

Average Annual Temperature: 43.1 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 32.6 inches

Major Sports Teams

Green Bay Packers

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Brewers

Top Wisconsin Schools for Teaching

  • Maranatha Baptist University
  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout
  • University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Concordia University-Wisconsin
  • Lakeland University

Why Go to College for Education in Wisconsin?

Students enrolled in teaching programs in Wisconsin enjoy numerous benefits, especially for studying online. The percentage of Wisconsinites enrolled in distance-based higher education programs (45.2%) exceeds the national figure of 34.7%, as shown below. Wisconsin also offers tuition rates lower than the national average for nearly every type of school except private four-year and public two-year institutions.

Many Wisconsin schools enable students to complete their online teaching degree while fulfilling in-person requirements at locations near their homes. Distance learners may also enjoy in-state tuition rates, regardless of their resident state. While most teachers in Wisconsin work in elementary schools, the state offers teaching preparation programs in all grades and subjects.

Education ranks second on the list of popular online majors at the University of Wisconsin. With incentives including performance-based compensation and additional pay for working in high-need schools, the state encourages students to pursue lucrative careers in education. Wisconsin's population of 59,484 full-time teachers guided students to a 90% high school graduation rate in 2017-18.

Postsecondary Education Statistics for Wisconsin

Wisconsin houses 84 two- and four-year colleges, each offering a unique path toward a teaching career. College students in Wisconsin prefer learning online, with more students enrolled in distance education than the national average. Among degree-holders, associate-level graduates over 25 in Wisconsin surpass the national total for this degree.

Higher Education in Wisconsin
WI Data National Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges 66 3,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges 18 1,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education 45.2% 34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $6,846 $8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 5.2% 5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 10.7% 8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 19.4% 19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 10.1% 12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Wisconsin Schools

Students pursuing a teaching degree should only consider accredited schools. While schools may receive regional or national accreditation, regional accreditation typically applies to nonprofit institutions, with national accrediting agencies serving for-profit and community colleges. Accreditation ensures that a program meets stringent performance standards.

As the regional accrediting body for many midwestern states, the Higher Learning Commission accredits some of the best schools in Wisconsin. Other schools in the state receive national accreditation through an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Many education programs also receive programmatic accreditation through an agency such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Such accreditation ensures that an education program prepares students properly for certification and field experience.

Considerations for a Teaching Degree in Wisconsin

Students considering teaching in Wisconsin must weigh many factors to find the right program. Many begin by deciding whether to pursue an online or campus-based program. More than 45% of Wisconsin college students study online, compared to 34.7% nationwide.

Other critical factors include paying for school, degree level, and grade and subject specializations. Nearly all types of colleges in Wisconsin offer lower tuition rates than the national average, especially public four-year universities.

Teaching Degree Levels

While the state requires a bachelor's degree for initial teaching certification, degrees at every level can prepare students for teaching in Wisconsin. Each degree type offers opportunities for students to specialize in a particular grade level or subject, preparing graduates for certification in an area of expertise.

Associate Degree in Teaching

Earning a two-year associate degree in teaching can prepare students to become early childhood educators (birth through pre-K) in Wisconsin. Graduates of associate programs may also go on to pursue a bachelor's degree, which is the minimum education requirement for Wisconsinites to obtain licensure to teach grades K-12.

Bachelor's Degree in Teaching

As the minimum education requirement for teacher certification, an accredited bachelor's program includes a teacher training component. Students typically choose a major and pursue endorsement in an area such as elementary education or special education. Aspiring teachers with a bachelor's degree in a non-education major may choose a general education program. Graduates of a four-year bachelor's in education may also pursue education administration careers.

Master's Degree in Teaching

Students aspiring to a specialized area of teaching in Wisconsin may pursue a master's degree, which takes 1-3 years to complete. Schools may offer a master of education (M.Ed.) to prepare students for careers in fields such as administrative leadership or curriculum and instruction. A master of arts in teaching program develops direct teaching skills. Students may also pursue a master's in a particular teaching subject or grade level.

Ph.D. in Teaching

Earning a Ph.D. in teaching can lead to a career as a postsecondary instructor. Doctoral degrees in education can also prepare students for educational research and policy careers. Some schools offer similar terminal degrees such as the doctor of education (Ed.D.), leading to jobs in educational administration and leadership. A Ph.D. or Ed.D. typically takes 4-6 years to complete.

What Grade or Subject Will You Want To Teach?

Degree-seekers interested in teaching in Wisconsin should consider which grade or teaching subject they prefer. Since Wisconsin grants certification to teachers based on the age of their students and the subject they plan to teach, aspiring teachers can earn a degree in a concentration aligned with their individual career goals.

Preschool

Many preschool teachers earn an associate or bachelor's degree in early childhood education or childcare. Wisconsin offers numerous career paths for aspiring preschool teachers. Candidates must achieve 80 days of experience working with preschool-aged children. They must also hold an associate or bachelor's degree, certificate, or Wisconsin teaching license.

Elementary School

Elementary school teachers need a bachelor's degree to pursue teaching certification in Wisconsin. Students may pursue general elementary education, preparing them to teach multiple subjects in grades K-5, or concentrate in a particular subject such as ESL or special education. Some schools also offer master's in elementary education programs.

Middle School

Middle school teachers need at least a bachelor's degree to obtain a teaching license in Wisconsin. Most middle school teachers major in a teaching subject such as English, math, or history for grades 6-8. The licensing process requires multiple Praxis tests in basic skills, teaching methods, and the teaching subject.

High School

High school teachers require at least a bachelor's degree in secondary education, typically with 1-2 specializations including music, science, English, and/or a foreign language. Teachers in this group may also earn a master's degree. High school instructors must take and pass Praxis exams in each of their teaching subjects.

Special Education

K-12 special education teachers require at least a bachelor's degree. Programs offer a variety of specializations including applied behavior analysis, autism spectrum disorders, and high-incidence disabilities. Alternately, students may specialize in early childhood/pre-K or secondary grades. Public K-12 teachers require endorsement in addition to state licensure.

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Schools offer programs in a variety of learning styles for students interested in teaching in Wisconsin. Many schools enable students to choose whether to attend an on-campus, online, or hybrid program.

On-Campus

Degree-seekers can pursue traditional on-campus teaching degrees throughout Wisconsin. Many students choose to study on campus so they can physically access academic resources, take advantage of campus amenities, and attend social gatherings in person. From an academic standpoint, some students simply learn more effectively in a conventional classroom environment.

Online Programs

Distance learners complete the same coursework as campus-goers in Wisconsin. Most online programs assign weekly coursework and provide student support including tutoring, virtual textbooks, and technology assistance. Online learning can require more self-management and time-management skills than campus programs.

Many online programs offer in-state tuition rates regardless of residency, which helps students reduce or eliminate living expenses and commuting costs. Online degrees can also provide more flexible enrollment and scheduling options than traditional programs.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs serve students who require a combination of in-person and online instruction. Most hybrid degrees deliver coursework online, paired with several in-person sessions each semester. Many programs accommodate working students by offering night or weekend classes in person. Part-time students and commuters with limited campus access often choose hybrid programs.
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education
Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses
WI Students 10.3% 17.9% 71.8%
United States Students 16.3% 18.4% 65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Teaching Degree

Part of learning how to become a teacher in Wisconsin involves researching degree-financing options. Most college students require financial aid to pay for their teaching degree. Schools typically require students to submit the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for financial aid, which may include federal funding, scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans.

As shown below, the average cost of tuition and fees for most types of schools in Wisconsin is lower than the national average. Public four-year institutions in Wisconsin offer average savings of more than $2,100 compared to national tuition rates. Wisconsin supports loan forgiveness and cancellation programs for teachers, including TEACH grants, through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Learn more at the links below.

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in WI, 2017-2018
Wisconsin National
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $8,475 $9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $23,500 $25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year) $33,156 $30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $4,337 $3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $6,257 $7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Among the many perks of online learning, in-state tuition rates can make earning a degree especially affordable for nonresident students. Many Wisconsin schools offer online teaching degrees with in-state tuition rates for distance learners regardless of their state of residence. Schools such as the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University offer set per-credit rates for online coursework.

Wisconsin also engages in a reciprocity agreement with surrounding states through the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) under the broader Midwestern Higher Education Compact. MSEP represents the largest program of its kind in the Midwest, enabling nonresident students at participating schools to pay in-state or discounted tuition rates.

Wisconsin's Cost of Living

Beyond the cost of attending college, the cost of living in a particular state impacts a student's choice of where to learn. Wisconsin offers a lower cost of living (97.3) than the national average of 100. Among the notable sub-factors contributing to this score: Wisconsinites also enjoy housing, utilities, and transportation costs below the national average.

Other School Selection Criteria

Students often consider a long list of crucial factors that can impact their school selection process. Such considerations may include:

School Size

Some students prefer anonymity among large crowds, while others require personalized attention from instructors in an intimate setting.

Staff Credentials/Diversity

Many students seek out schools that demonstrate a strong commitment to cultural and academic diversity.

Program Length

Learners exploring how to become a teacher in Wisconsin as quickly as possible might consider an online program with accelerated completion options.

Program Culture/Composition

Schools in Wisconsin offer a broad variety of teaching specializations for aspiring educators in every grade and subject.

University Resources/Career Services

Many schools employ career advisors to ensure that students meet curricular and licensing requirements for teaching in Wisconsin.

Extracurriculars

Some students value the tangibility of participating in activities like study groups, Greek life, and networking events on campus rather than online.

Prestige/Reputation

While licensure is critical for teaching in Wisconsin, some employers prefer candidates with a degree from a prestigious school and/or NCATE-accredited program.

Earning Potential for Graduates

Students should take note of a school's robust alumni network and/or high graduation rate, as these can indicate a commitment to improving earning potential.

Teaching in Wisconsin

Wisconsin ranks among the top 15 states in the nation for education. Specifically, U.S. News & World Report ranks Wisconsin 11th in higher education and 16th in preK-12 education.

The state boasts a favorable high school graduation rate (88.2%) and statewide NAEP math score (288). On both counts, Wisconsin ranks above the respective national averages.

The Nation's Report Card shows math, reading, and science scores among fourth- and eighth-graders in Wisconsin increasingly exceeding the national average for multiple consecutive years. Middle school teachers, the second-highest-paid group of educators in Wisconsin, help prepare students for these achievements.

Wisconsin includes more than 2,000 public schools in 421 public school districts. The state enrolls nearly 855,000 students, with the majority considered economically disadvantaged. While large districts in Milwaukee, Madison, and Kenosha employ the most teachers, the DPI recently launched the Rural School Teacher Talent Pilot Program to drive incentive for educators in these areas.

Additionally, the DPI created the Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practice in 2017 to address education gaps between white and minority student groups. This initiative includes access to Embracing Equity, a free comprehensive online course for educators, to promote the DPI's long-range vision of "every child, a graduate."

How to Become a Teacher in Wisconsin

Pursuing teaching in Wisconsin involves a unique process specific to educators in this state. Teachers who earn a license in Wisconsin cannot simply transfer their credentials out of state. Based on qualifications and experience, Wisconsin follows a tiered licensing structure for teachers in this order: provisional, professional, and master's.

Most students complete a bachelor's degree in pursuit of a provisional (initial) teaching license in Wisconsin. Candidates must hold a degree from an accredited school with a DPI-approved teacher training program. Applicants must also pass the Praxis Core exam and any additional Praxis subject tests in their specialty.

Often embedded within a teaching degree, teacher training programs include field practicums and student teaching requirements to supplement education coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 80 hours in a field practicum, and spend 5-6 hours per day as a student teacher, for at least one full semester.

Steps to Becoming a Wisconsin Teacher

  • Step 1: Earn a bachelor's degree in a field such as early childhood education, elementary education, middle school education, secondary education, or special education. The degree from an accredited institution must include a state-approved teacher-training program.
  • Step 2: Take and pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam.
  • Step 3: Take and pass the Praxis content knowledge assessment for a particular grade level and/or teaching subject as follows:
  • 3a: Early Childhood (Birth-3): Elementary education content knowledge
  • 3b: Elementary and Middle School (K-9): Middle school content knowledge
  • 3c: Middle and High School (4-12): Computer science, English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies content knowledge
  • 3d: PreK-12 (subject tests): Subjects vary from agriculture education to theatre
  • 3e: Early Childhood Special Education: Elementary education content knowledge
  • 3f: Special Education (Blind and visually impaired, cross-categorical preK-12, or deaf and hard of hearing): Middle school content knowledge
  • Step 4: Submit fingerprints and undergo a criminal background check.

Education Requirements for Wisconsin Teachers

While earning a degree is the first step toward teaching in Wisconsin, the state offers a variety of paths to licensure. Learners can pursue a degree at any level and in their choice of specialization. Like any profession, the average salary of teachers in Wisconsin reflects their credentials and experience.

Pursuing a license for teaching in Wisconsin requires a bachelor's degree, typically completed over a four-year period. Wisconsinites with a bachelor's degree in a non-education major may pursue an alternative path to licensure. Alternative licensing paths often prove ideal for students with a degree in a teaching shortage area or at least three years of unlicensed teaching experience (e.g., in a private school). Some learners pursue a master's degree to change careers or achieve additional certification.

To qualify for the necessary Praxis exams, students must complete an accredited bachelor's degree and a teacher training program, which includes student teaching in the classroom. Aspiring pre-K and elementary teachers complete a broad curriculum in multiple teaching subjects, while middle and high school teachers specialize in one or more subjects. Students may also earn a degree in special education or English as a second language.

Teacher Certification and Licensure in Wisconsin

Wisconsin teachers in public K-12 schools must hold a state-issued teaching license. Private schools and alternative learning institutions do not maintain the same universal standards for teacher licensure. Wisconsin requires aspiring teachers to take and pass ETS' Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam to receive initial licensure. The test spans 4.5 hours.

Teachers must also pass the Praxis subject test(s) in their respective grade level and teaching subject(s). Early childhood, elementary, and middle school teachers can pursue general teaching certification per grade level. ETS administers Praxis subject tests in more than 90 individual teaching subjects for middle/high school and preK-12 teachers. Completion times vary, with fees between $50 and $170.

The DPI issues licenses to qualified teachers in Wisconsin and participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, which dictates reciprocal out-of-state licensing terms. Initial (provisional) licensure lasts for three years, with unlimited renewals. Experienced teachers may apply for a lifetime (professional) license. Students may also pursue a one-year, three-year, or five-year substitute teaching license.

Student Teaching and Other Required Experience

Teaching in Wisconsin requires field practicums and student teaching experience. Many bachelor's degrees in education include field experience as part of the state's teacher training program requirements. All teachers in public preK-12 schools must complete a full-time, semester-long student teaching experience with their degree.

Most bachelor's degrees in education also include field practicums. Like the student teaching component, practicum placement varies by grade and teaching subject. As an alternative pathway to licensure, graduates of a bachelor's or master's program in a non-education field may complete a standalone teacher training program at a DPI-approved facility.

Once teachers have completed six months of experience on their provisional license, they can apply for a professional license, renewable every five years. Teachers in this category must complete a minimum of six semester credits of continuing education units (CEUs) and undergo a background check during each renewal period. Students may apply for a one-year, nonrenewable extension to meet professional license CEU requirements.

Alternative Paths to Becoming a Wisconsin Teacher

Many aspiring teachers in Wisconsin pursue a bachelor's degree and initial teaching licensure in the state after graduating from high school. Others seek an alternative path toward becoming a teacher in Wisconsin. The DPI offers several programs to accommodate students who do not meet the traditional criteria for a provisional teaching license but possess unique education or experience.

For example, graduates of a bachelor's program in a non-education field may return to school to earn a master's degree and complete a teacher training program through the post-baccalaureate pathway. Students who hold a degree in a teaching subject shortage area may qualify for licensure in that area. Others may qualify for licensure in a grade or teaching subject in which they possess at least three years of experience -- at a private school, for example.

Out-of-state teachers may apply for initial licensure in Wisconsin. The DPI offers three tiers of substitute teacher licensing: short-term, long-term, and temporary substitute teachers in an area outside of their specialty. Since substitutes must complete a substitute training program to qualify for licensure, they may apply for initial teaching licensure only after completing a general teacher training program.

Finding a Teaching Job in Wisconsin

Students can access a variety of career resources to pursue teaching in Wisconsin. Beyond local events like job fairs and annual education conferences, many professional organizations specializing in teaching jobs maintain active online hubs. Job seekers should also seek out mentor recommendations and networking opportunities. The following job boards consistently promote lucrative teaching jobs in Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Education Career Access Network This one-stop resource enables students to submit a single application to qualify for K-12 teaching jobs across all public school districts in Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction The DPI offers open positions for teachers in Wisconsin categorized by public school, private school, or out-of-state teaching credentials.
  • Indeed.com Aspiring teachers in Wisconsin can search Indeed for jobs in various specializations of education and specific locations across the state.
  • K12JobSpot.com Students can search this board for teaching jobs by preferred grade level and job type, including full-time, part-time, and seasonal schedules.

Notable Wisconsin Schools and Districts

  • Milwaukee Public Schools

    Serving nearly 78,000 students and home to more than 160 public schools, MPS is the largest school district in Wisconsin. U.S. News & World Report named several high schools in this district among the best in the state. This district's budget, which includes top salaries for high school and specialty teachers, exceeds one billion dollars. 82% of students qualify as economically disadvantaged.

  • Madison Metropolitan School District

    Wisconsin's second-largest school district, MMSD houses more than 27,000 students and 52 schools, with the majority dedicated to elementary education. Nearly 61% of teachers in this district hold a master's degree or higher. MMSD boasts an 84% graduation rate and an overall literacy benchmark of 79%. Literacy increased by 7% overall and 13% among African American students in recent years.

  • Kenosha Unified School District

    KUSD serves more than 21,000 students and houses more than 40 schools. The district boasts an attendance rate of nearly 93%. More than 60% of students in KUSD earned passing scores of three, four, or five on recently taken AP tests. KUSD features its own educational support center for students, faculty, and employees.

Wisconsin Teacher Salaries

Students interested in teaching in Wisconsin earn variable salaries based on the grade and subject they teach. While Wisconsin teachers may not always earn as much as the national occupational average, the state offers a variety of lucrative career options. Teacher assistants and substitute teachers, for example, earn well above the national average salary, as shown below.

Among educators, secondary school teachers in Wisconsin earn the highest mean salary ($59,180), followed closely by middle school teachers, who earn an annual mean salary of $58,940. While Wisconsin requires only a bachelor's degree for licensure, teachers with a master's degree earn $16,000 more on average than bachelor's degree-holders with the same experience.

The table below suggests that elementary and secondary teachers with 0-2 years of experience and a bachelor's degree can expect a base starting salary of $39,730. Beyond experience, other factors that may affect Wisconsin teacher salary averages include metro or rural districts, grade levels, and shortage subject areas.

Wisconsin Teacher Salaries

Average Annual Salary of Public Elementary and Secondary Teachers, 2018-19

Average Annual Salary

Wisconsin Teachers

$51,453
Average Annual Salary

National

$61,730

Source: NCES

Annual Mean Wage by Teaching Level in Wisconsin, 2019

WI National
Teacher Assistants $30,040 $29,640
Substitute Teachers $35,670 $32,460
Preschool Teachers $27,190 $34,650
Special Education, Preschool $44,970 $67,060
Kindergarten Teachers $58,060 $60,210
Elementary School Teachers $57,980 $63,930
Special Education, Kindergarten and Elementary School $56,820 $64,420
Middle School Teachers $58,940 $63,550
Special Education, Middle School $54,410 $65,740
Secondary School Teachers $59,180 $65,930
Special Education, Secondary School $55,080 $65,710
Source: BLS

Annual Base Salary of Elementary and Secondary Teachers by Education and Experience, 2017-18

0-2 Years 3-5 Years 6-10 Years 11-20 Years 20+ Years Average, All Levels
WI Teachers with a Bachelor's $39,730 $41,770 $43,620 $50,800 $53,810 $45,380
National Average of Teachers with a Bachelor's $42,440 $44,490 $46,990 $54,380 $60,770 $49,890
WI Teachers with a Master's $45,470 $52,090 $58,070 $65,120 $61,280
National Average of Teachers with a Master's $51,050 $56,140 $65,700 $73,430 $63,120
Sources: NCES, NCES

Wisconsin Trends in Education

Statistics Surrounding Wisconsin Schools and Education

Wisconsin Nation
Total Students, All Grades 859,333, 2018-19 56.4 million, Fall 2020
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 14.45, 2018-19 16.0, 2016
Per-Pupil Expenditure, 2018 $12,446 $12,654
Change in Public Elementary and Secondary School Enrollment, 2017-2020 -2% +7%
Projected Change in Public Elementary and Secondary School Enrollment, 2017-2029 -3% +1%
Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) for Public High School Students, 2017-18 90% 85%
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Teachers 59,483.65, 2018-19 3.7 million, Fall 2020
Percentage of Teachers 55 or Older, 2017-2018 14.4% 16.5%
Source: NTPS, NCES

Number of Public Schools by Level, 2017-18

WI Nation
Elementary 1,557 67,408
Secondary 568 23,882
Combined Elementary and Secondary 112 6,278
Alternative 95 5,185
Special Education 13 1,903
One-Teacher Schools 2 188
Source: NCES

WI Employment by Teaching Level

Teaching Level WI Employment WI Projected Growth, 2018-28 National Employment National Projected Growth, 2018-28
Teacher Assistants 28,420 +4.9% 1,380,300 +4.0%
Substitute Teachers 14,460 +5.7% 615,700 +3.3%
Preschool Teachers 11,170 +0.9% 523,600 +7%
Special Education, Preschool 140 +7.1% 24,000 +7.9%
Kindergarten Teachers 1,890 +6.3% 134,500 +3.9%
Elementary School Teachers 32,740 +5.7% 1,434,400 +3.3%
Special Education, Kindergarten and Elementary School 1,660 +4.8% 184,300 +2.8%
Middle School Teachers 14,800 +5.8% 615,700 +3.5%
Special Education, Middle School 860 +4.7% 86,800 +2.8%
Secondary School Teachers 21,450 +5.9% 1,072,500 +3.6%
Special Education, Secondary School 1,150 +5.2% 142,000 +3.0%
Source: Projections Central

Wisconsin employs a workforce of more than 59,000 full-time teachers, educating nearly 860,000 students across the state. In comparison to the national statistics, Wisconsin houses more elementary schools than other types and employs more elementary school teachers than other grade levels. Teacher assistants rank as the second-most populous employment group of teachers in Wisconsin.

The state holds job growth potential for teachers in competitive specializations. Special education preschool teachers, in particular, represent the smallest employment group (140) and the highest projected job growth rate (over 7% from 2018-2028). Projections for kindergarten teachers in Wisconsin also indicate high job growth potential (6.3%) over the same period.

Wisconsin can attribute several points of pride to its talented teaching community. As shown above, the state boasts a lower pupil-to-teacher ratio than the national figures. Wisconsin also nearly met the national per-pupil expenditure for education as of 2018. The state reported a 90% adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for public high school students for 2017-18, exceeding the national 85% ACGR for that year.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wisconsin have online teaching programs?

Wisconsin offers a variety of online teaching programs for preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school educators. Many lead to teaching licensure and teaching subject endorsement.

How do you get a teaching license in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin teachers must possess a bachelor's degree including a teacher training program from an accredited school. They must pass the Praxis Core and subject assessment tests. Those seeking endorsement must also take the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test.

Do you need a master's to teach in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin teachers do not require a master's degree for initial teaching licensure. Licensed teachers who plan to pursue a specialized subject area, dual certification, or a career in a field like social work or school counseling can benefit from earning a master's degree.

Can you be a teacher without a teaching degree in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin offers alternative paths to licensure for prospective teachers without a teaching degree. Students who complete a bachelor's degree in another subject, for example, can complete a standalone teacher training program.

How much do teachers make in Wisconsin?

While salaries vary, teachers with a bachelor's degree in Wisconsin can earn roughly $39,000-$54,000 per year. Public elementary and secondary school teachers in Wisconsin earn an average annual salary of $51,453.

Is there a teacher shortage in Wisconsin?

In response to its ongoing teacher shortage, Wisconsin developed the Talent Development Initiative in 2015 to increase education programs for teachers and provide alternative paths to licensure for high-quality educators in the state.

Professional Teaching Organizations in Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin Education Association CouncilWEAC advocates for all 865,000 children enrolled in public schools in Wisconsin. As the state's only organization created by educators for educators, its members include teachers, specialists, and counselors at all levels of practice.
  • Association of American Educators - WisconsinThe Wisconsin branch of AAE offers professional, student, and retiree memberships. AAE members enjoy benefits including liability insurance, employee rights coverage, and access to classroom scholarships and grant opportunities.
  • Wisconsin Early Childhood AssociationWECA is a branch of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The organization offers four membership categories, from entry-level to family coverage. Benefits include online networking opportunities, insurance and retail discounts, and access to online courses.
  • Wisconsin Parent Teacher AssociationFounded in 1910, Wisconsin's PTA played an instrumental role in implementing required kindergarten education and teacher certification statewide. The Wisconsin PTA encourages literacy through educational programs and policy. Prospective PTA members may contact their school to join the organization.

Related Reading

Teaching Programs in Wisconsin

The following ranking of the best schools for teaching in Wisconsin includes only accredited programs. Students should confirm that their school holds legitimate national or regional accreditation by checking the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) site, which updates annually. In addition to maintaining institutional accreditation, the following schools successfully train students to become certified teachers in Wisconsin.

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