Wisconsin defines elementary teaching as covering grades one through eight. Prospective elementary school teachers can complete a program resulting in a bachelor's or master's degree; this training prepares students to take teaching certification exams. Students learn how to teach elementary students through classroom lessons and practical experiences. They will likely choose an area of concentration, such as science, math, Spanish, history or health.
For undergraduate students, a certain number of credit hours must be completed before beginning core teaching classes, so students typically start learning about the field in one's sophomore year. A master's degree program is designed for licensed teacher who want to become certified in another field or those with a bachelor's degree in another field seeking initial certification. Admission to an elementary teaching certification program is competitive and varies by program, but students may need an above average GPA (at least 2.5) and the passing of a skills test.
Concordia University - Wisconsin
Concordia University - Wisconsin in Mequon, operated by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, offers a bachelor's degree program that qualifies graduates for a Wisconsin elementary teaching license; individuals who already have a bachelor's degree can enroll in the Graduate Teacher Certification Program-Elementary, which is offered at the Mequon, Appleton, Madison and Kenosha campuses. At the bachelor's level, Concordia also offers a Lutheran school track for members of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and a Christian public educator option for teachers in a public or Christian school. Students must apply separately to the education program, after they have completed some prerequisite requirements including the Praxis I exam. The bachelor's degree curriculum includes courses in education theory, such as teaching exceptional children and professional ethics, as well as practical courses that involve student teaching experiences. Graduate students can also pursue a master's degree while earning certification.
In Milwaukee, at Marquette University, students can qualify for certification to teach grades one through eight with a bachelor's degree in education and an additional major in an academic content area. The education curriculum requires three and a half years of study; students spend the final semester gaining teaching experience in a real classroom. Courses in the bachelor's degree program in education include integrating the arts in the classroom, teaching literacy and examining diversity in the schools. Individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree can qualify to teach through Marquette's post-baccalaureate teacher certification program and can combine the coursework with a master's degree program.
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
The University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire requires that students complete a pre-admission program in order to enter the teacher education bachelor's degree program. Pre-admission requirements include passing the Praxis I test of basic skills and maintaining a 2.75 grade point average (GPA). Students with a middle childhood - early adolescence major get experience working with students early in the program, and a semester of student teaching gives them more practice at the end of the program. Teachers who already hold a license to teach at the elementary level can earn a Master of Science degree that focuses on improving instructional methods.
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Students seeking a bachelor's degree in the middle childhood - early adolescence licensure program at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse should apply after they have completed 24 course credits. They must have passed the Praxis I exam and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Students earn a bachelor's degree in education in this program. Required courses include educational psychology, lifespan development, elementary level reading and curriculum development. Students have several opportunities for clinical experience and spend a semester in a student teaching experience or a teaching internship.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
At the University of Wisconsin - Madison, students seeking a bachelor's degree in elementary education have several options that may lead to certification in two areas. The programs offered are early childhood/English as a second language, middle childhood-early adolescence/English as a second language, middle childhood-early adolescence/special education and middle childhood-early adolescence/content focused minor. Students apply to the program during the sophomore year and must have an acceptable score on the Praxis I or a GPA of 2.5 or better. Courses vary depending on the option chosen, but all include teaching methods and education theory as well as student teaching in a real school.
University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
In Oshkosh, the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in elementary teaching. Students earning a bachelor's degree can pursue licensure through an early childhood through middle childhood program or a program for middle childhood through early adolescence. Programs are also offered that include licensure in special education. Courses include child development, children's literature and educational psychology. Students also gain practical experience through student teaching and clinical experiences in real classrooms. The master's degree program in elementary education is for licensed teachers who want to expand their knowledge. The 30-credit program offers evening, weekend and summer courses, both online and in a hybrid format.
University of Wisconsin - Platteville
For admission to its School of Education, the University of Wisconsin - Platteville requires satisfactory scores on the Pre-Professional Skills Test along with grades of 'C' or higher in prerequisite courses. Bachelor's degree students who want to teach at the elementary level can pursue licensure in early childhood through middle childhood, which prepares them to teach children from infants to age 11. Students gain experience through student teaching in early childhood, kindergarten and elementary classrooms and take courses in cognitive and creative development. Master's degree students can choose an emphasis in teaching reading, reading specialist, special education or English language learner. Classes in the 30-credit master's program are offered both on campus and online in the evenings and summers. Master's degree students work with their professors to create courses that suit their needs.
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
The University of Wisconsin - River Falls offers bachelor's and master's degree programs that lead to licensure in elementary education. The bachelor's degree program requires that students spend three days a week for two semesters in a public school in addition to student teaching. Courses include teaching methods and theory along with educational psychology and the exceptional child. Students in the bachelor's degree program must undergo a review before admission to upper level courses. The master's degree program for initial certification in elementary education is open to individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than education. Classes meet in the evening, with full- and part-time course plans offered. Student teaching is required, along with courses in teaching all elementary school subjects.
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
At the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, the elementary education major for a bachelor's degree prepares students to become certified to teach children age six through 13. Before admission to the teacher education program, students complete general education requirements, and only the top 50 applicants are admitted to the program each year. Students learn to teach various subjects and gain experience through internships. The master's degree program in elementary education is for people who are interested in elementary education or who have fewer than two years of teaching experience. Students create their own 30-credit plan of study in the areas of liberal arts, professional education and an area of specialization. They can opt to write a thesis or take two additional courses and complete a comprehensive exam.
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Bachelor's degree students who major in elementary/middle education at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater can earn licensure to teach grades one through six and seven through nine. Courses cover the foundations of education, teaching exceptional children and mathematics for elementary students. Health education, children's literature, reading and social studies education are covered, as are professional teaching methods. Student teaching gives students hands-on experience.
Teachers in Wisconsin are licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. They must have a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher education program that meets state standards and pass a background check. Wisconsin requires that its public school teachers demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics through the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test and show competency in their subject area through the Praxis II examination. Below are brief overviews of Wisconsin's ten largest schools offering state-approved degree programs in elementary teaching, along with a table of important facts about each program.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Elementary Teaching Degree Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Concordia University - Wisconsin||Four-year; private not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor in Elementary/Middle Education||$27,100*|
|Marquette University||Four-year; private not-for-profit; large city||Bachelor of Science in Education||$37,170*|
|University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire||Four-year; public; small city|| Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education,
Master of Science in Teaching Elementary Education
|Undergraduate: $8,822, in-state; $16,395, out-of-state;
Graduate: $8,901, in-state, $18,032, out-of-state*
|University of Wisconsin - La Crosse||Four-year; public; small city||Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education||$8,832, in-state; $16,783, out-of-state*|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Four-year; public; midsize city||Bachelor of Science in Education||$10,415, in-state; $29,665, out-of-state*|
|University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh||Four-year; public; small city|| Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education,
Master of Science in Education: Elementary Education emphasis
|Undergraduate: $7,487, in-state; $15,060, out-of-state;
Graduate: $8,705 in-state; $17,836 out-of-state*
|University of Wisconsin - Platteville||Four-year; public; distant town|| Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with Early - Middle Childhood Emphasis,
Master of Science in Education
|Unddergraduate:$7,488, in-state; $15,338, out-of-state;
Graduate: $8,680, in-district; $8,710, in-state; $17,841, out-of-state*
|University of Wisconsin - River Falls||Four-year; public; distant town|| Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education,
Master of Science in Elementary Education
|Undergraduate:$7,937, in-state; $15,510, out-of-state;
Graduate: $8,997, in-state; $18,128, out-of-state *
|University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point||Four-year; public; distant town|| Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education,
Master of Science in Education - Elementary
|Undergraduate: $7,672, in-state; $15,939, out-of-state;
Graduate: $9,063, in-state; $18,467, out-of state*
|University of Wisconsin - Whitewater||Four-year; public; distant town||Bachelor of Science in Education||$7,637, in-state; $15,710, out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.