Wisconsin is bordered by the Great Lakes and expansive countryside of rolling hills and family owned farms. Immigrants — primarily from Germany, England, Scotland and Wales— came here in the 1700 and 1800s to settle what eventually became known as the cheese capital of the country. As an English teacher in Wisconsin public schools, you will have the opportunity to teach in metro cities such as Madison, with more than 240k residents and fifty schools, or Allenton, which has one elementary school and a population of just over 800.
No matter where you decide to settle, your job will give you the opportunity to help students all over the state as you teach the next generation English Language Arts — a key component to education. To start you in the licensing process, follow these steps lined out below:
|Complete Teacher Education Program|
|Pass Wisconsin Teacher Exams|
|Wisconsin State Licensing|
|Wisconsin Licensing Renewal|
Step 1. Complete Teacher Education Program
The first step on this new career path as an English teacher will start with an accredited teacher education program. Wisconsin colleges and universities have created options for you to choose the correct program that will properly prepare you as an educator. Selecting the right school will often be determined by several factors.
Answering questions such as the following will help you narrow down your choices:
- What grade level of English do you intend to teach?
- Will you have to work while you attend classes? Scheduling may prove a challenge if classes are not available during your off time.
- What type of financial aid does the school offer? You may need your parents tax information if you are 23 or under.
- What kind of extracurricular activities do you want to participate in?
- Does the school offer an online program? This may be a good option especially if you need a flexible schedule.
- Do you want the requisite bachelor’s, a master’s, or a doctorate degree? Consider the salary differences of each level prior to making that decision.
How the Programs are Designed
Most teaching programs are all designed in a similar manner. The first few years you will take general college coursework that is typical for any degree. Once you have completed those, you will then navigate to more focused classes in English or elementary education and English Language Arts (depending on your grade level choice). After you have completed those classes, you will then enter the final phase of the degree. This section is commonly referred to as the teaching program.
This section will offer you courses in actual classroom training. You will learn what it means to take over a class and learn the ropes as a teacher. The prior part of your college experience taught you your subject matter, now you will learn how to teach it to your students.
Learning the art of teaching will happen in two ways. You will take part in classroom training learning theory through discussion and testing. You will then have the opportunity to take what you learn and apply it in the field. In the last part of your teacher training, you will participate in an internship. During that time you will teach English to students in a Wisconsin school while a mentor teacher guides you.
Step 2. Pass Wisconsin Teacher Exams
Once you have completed your education, you will need to also complete the state mandated exams. Wisconsin has several required tests that you will have to take in order to have a full teaching license. These tests include basic skills in reading, math, and writing as we’ll as subject- area proficiency.
Wisconsin employs the Praxis testing system to test their future teacher’s knowledge in these areas. When you are ready to apply for your exams, you may sign up for your tests by going to the Wisconsin educator testing page and confirm which tests you need to take.
When you have determined which tests are right for your grade level, you may then register for an account. Once you have registered, you can make your appointments and pay the testing fees from your personal account page.
You will also have access to study materials from this site. These materials may prove invaluable to you when the time comes for you to test. They will give you a better sense of preparation and will explain what you can expect on each test including the number of questions, how long the tests are, give sample questions, and how to select the best answers.
Step 3. Wisconsin State Licensing
When you are ready to apply for your license you will use the online ELO system. The ELO system will allow you to submit the information required for licensing including, support materials and fees needed for the system to process your application. This online system makes the application process easy to manage your licensing information. You will be able to print a copy of your new license certificate from the site as well. When the time comes to renew, you may come back here and print your renewal license.
Here are the general steps you will need to follow in order to get your first license once you have completed your education and passed your tests:
- Verify that your teaching program sent in an endorsement to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on your behalf.
- Go to gov and create an account. This is a Web Access Management System (WAMS) account. There are time restrictions for account creation. Please read all the instructions carefully.
- Follow the “onboarding” instructions. This will link your Educator Licensing (ELO) account with the WAMS
- Determine if you will need to be fingerprinted. Not all candidates are required to have fingerprints
- Complete the questions
- Pay the fee
These will be the basic steps once you are ready to follow the application process. When you are ready to create an account and apply you may go to the WAMS site here.
Step 4. Wisconsin Licensing Renewal
After teaching for five years under your initial license you will then need to renew. You will be required to complete one of the following in order to qualify for renewal:
Six semester college units of continuing education.
Completion of a professional development plan.
You will need to scan your proof of completion documents into PDF files in order to submit them online through the WAMS system. You will use the WAMS portal and ELO account to renew your license just as you did the first time you applied for you license.
Wisconsin English Teacher Salaries
Schools in Wisconsin are changing. Some districts do not consider formal education as a measure of a teachers qualifications while others do. Some schools are considering—or have actually begun to implement a reward system for performance based on subjective evaluations. Others are holding to more traditional approaches on how they pay teacher salaries.
In Madison, Wisconsin, for instance, they take a more traditional approach to teacher salaries. As an example, an English teacher who begins her career at a local high school would start at $34,250 annually if she held a bachelor’s degree. If she decided to continue on with her education, by her twelfth year she could be making as much as $56,291 if she sought a doctorate degree. Not all schools take this approach to rewarding teachers in Wisconsin for seeking higher education however.
For instance, if you were a new English teacher just starting out in the Chippewa Falls Unified School District you can expect to have a base salary at level one of $35,000. You will then need to complete a Summary Year in which you are evaluated using what they call the Educator Effectiveness Model in order to move to the next level. Level two will increase your pay to $40,000. The very top pay is at level eleven, paying $67,000.
A teacher who doesn’t advance to the next level after an evaluation will go back to the beginning of a three-year cycle at the level where they were previously. They would be eligible to move up again at the conclusion of the next evaluation.
In this new compensation program your degree or certification and even new levels of learning is not the school’s goal; their goal is your performance and provable student learning. They do offer stipends of $2000 for English teachers with a master’s degree and $2000 for a doctorate, but you must get approval from the HR department prior to enrolling in a program if that is your intent.
As you consider your career opportunities, it is a good idea to look over the school contracts to consider how they view advancements to see if they are in line with your goals. To see more salary information of other schools throughout the state of Wisconsin, see the table below: