Wisconsin Alternative Teacher Certification

Most states offer an alternative pathway for individuals who wish to be teachers but have chosen not to take the traditional route. Wisconsin is no different. Described below are the options and requirements that Wisconsin maintains for these individuals.

The state of Wisconsin offers nine alternative pathway programs that individuals can take advantage of. Each of the programs has its own individual requirements, but all adhere to the basic requirements set by the Wisconsin Department of Education. These requirements, both for the state and each program, will be discussed.

Wisconsin Alternative Educator Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Education Professionals in Wisconsin $56,420 (Kindergarten), $56,940 (Elementary), $58,560 (Middle School), $57,320(High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Any
Testing Requirements Praxis II Exam OR ACTFL World Language Exam
Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

In order for an individual to obtain a teaching license through an alternative pathway, the state of Wisconsin requires that the individual hold a bachelor's degree at the very least. This itself often requires that the individual have majored in the subject in which he or she wishes to be licensed. The Wisconsin Department of Education requires that the individual interested in becoming a teacher through an alternative route do so by applying to one of nine approved alternative pathway programs. These include: Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESA) 1 Proficiency-Based Learning (PBL), CESA 6 Residency in Teacher Education (RITE), CESA 7 Teacher Development Center (TDC), CESA 9 Excellence in Teaching Program (ETP), Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC), eduCATE Progect Teacher, eduCATE 10SPED, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alternative Careers in Teaching (ACT), and University of Wisconsin Parkside Alternative Route to Technology Educator Licensure.

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Certification Requirements

The State of Wisconsin requires that all of its educators complete three examinations: subject-area competency, Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test, and the edTPA exam.

Subject-Area Competency

The primary way in which the Department of Education in Wisconsin verifies subject-area competency is by having the prospective educators complete the Praxis II or ACTFL World Language exams. The Praxis II exams can be taken by any pupil enrolled in an education preparation program in any subject, minus world languages. The main exams that the educators have to take are reading, writing, and mathematics. They must score 156, 162, and 150, respectively, on the exams.There are also examinations for those looking to become licensed in a specific area such as: early childhood, early childhood - middle childhood, middle childhood - early adolescence, early adolescence - adolescence, early childhood - adolescence, special education, and pupil services.

The ACTFL World Language Exam is available for prospective world language educators who are required to complete the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI-OPIx) and the Writing Proficiency Test (WTP). The individuals who take the ACTFL World Language Exam are required to score intermediate-high on both the oral interview and the writing portion of the examination.

The state of Wisconsin also offers two additional, non-examination, paths to complete the subject-area competency. This includes achieving a grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in the content area of the licensure program. The second alternative is for the prospective educator to create, complete, and submit a content portfolio that is approved by their specific program.

Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

Potential educators who wish to teach at the elementary level in special education or reading must also pass the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test. This is a four-hour long, computer-based test that is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions and two written assignments. In order to take the exam, the potential educator must cover the test fee of $139, and to pass, he or she must score a minimum of 240.


The final exam that potential educators must complete and pass is the edTPA examination. This examination allows educators, from both the traditional and alternative routes, to demonstrate their knowledge and use of teaching practices. There are a number of assessment areas that candidates for a teaching license can choose from, but they should speak with a program provider/advisor in regards to what assessment or assessments they should take. There are three types of assessments: 13-Rubric, 15-Rubric, and 18-Rubric. In order to pass, the candidates must score a 32, 38, and 45 respectively.

Resources for Wisconsin Educators Interested in Alternative Certification

Below are resources that Wisconsin professionals interested in pursuing an alternative certification can use to assist them further. The links below lead to courses that can provide more information.

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