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Life License (Pre-1983)

Prior to July 1, 1983, Life Licenses were issued to individuals who taught for six full semesters in a Wisconsin school district while holding a three-year educator license. Licenses of this type are no longer issued (effective July 1, 1983). 

The 2017 Act 59 created a different Lifetime License.  Educators who hold a Life License issued pre-1983 now fall under the new provisions created in the 2017 Act 59, described below.

Maintaining a Lifetime License

Wisconsin Administrative Code PI 34 provides that a Lifetime License remains valid if the license holder remains actively employed in the education profession.  A Lifetime License will be invalidated if an educator is not actively employed by a school district for five or more consecutive years. The Lifetime License will be invalidated if the educator fails to log into the online system and submit to a background check (and pay a processing fee) once every five years.

Lifetime License Revalidation Requirements 

If a Lifetime License has been invalidated, educators are able to reapply for a Provisional License at any time.  A Provisional License may be issued to educators who completed an approved educator preparation program. This is a full license. There is no limit to the number of Provisional Licenses an educator may receive.

You may also apply for a Five-Year Long-Term Substitute License.  This license allows you to substitute long-term in the subjects and grade levels on your license.  A substitute position is long-term if the teacher is gone for more than 45 days. It also allows you to substitute short-term (45 days or less) in any other subject and grade level.


Educators may use the 3020 application to apply for a Provisional License. This application is for educators who meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Requesting reissuance of a three-year Provisional License since the applicant has not had the opportunity to complete the required 6 semesters of successful experience within the past five years; OR
  2. Requesting reissuance of a three-year Provisional License since the applicant has not yet satisfied one or more stipulations; OR
  3. Requesting a three-year Provisional License based on the applicant holding an expired Wisconsin license. Check for Lifetime License eligibility on Lifetime Educator License (Post-2017).

Note: If you have had regular employment in a school during the past five years and believe that your Life License has been incorrectly invalidated, please contact us.

Submit questions and comments about this information to the Licensing Online Help desk.