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Additional Subject Area Certification

Candidate Profiles

  1. License Based on a Content Test Pathway
  2. Post-baccalaureate Pathway
  3. Alternative Route Program Pathway
  4. License Based on Equivalency Pathway
  5. Out-of-State Pathway

License Based on a Content Test Pathway

Many teachers who hold a valid Wisconsin Provisional Educator, Lifetime Educator or Master Educator license have options to add licenses by passing a content test. This pathway has certain limitations based statute and administrative rule that are related to both the licensure held and/or the licensure sought.

The first major limitation, effective 01/01/2019, involves statutory stipulations attached to license subject areas. Specifically:

Co-operative Marketing & Consumer Cooperatives Statutory Stipulation

In granting certificates or licenses for the teaching of courses in economics, social studies, or agriculture, adequate instruction in cooperative marketing and consumers' cooperatives shall be required (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.19 [6]). The specific subject areas affected here are Economics (1710) and Agriculture (1200).

Environmental Education Statutory Stipulation

In granting certificates or licenses for the teaching of courses in science or social studies, adequate instruction in the conservation of natural resources shall be required (Wis. Stat. sec. 118.19 [6]). The specific subject areas affected here are:

  • Biology (1605)
  • Chemistry (1610)
  • Earth/Space Science (1635)
  • Economics (1710)
  • Environmental Studies (1615)
  • Geography (1715)
  • History (1725)
  • Life/Environmental Science (1606)
  • Physics (1625)
  • Political Science (1735)
  • Psychology (1740)
  • Sociology (1745)

Statutory Stipulations and Rank of the Teaching License 

Provisional/Initial license holders will be given these statutory stipulations with the granting of the license and will then have time to address them during the tenure of the license. NOTE—educators with unmet statutory stipulations ON ANY license cannot advance any of their licenses to Lifetime status.

Lifetime license holders must meet all statutory stipulation requirements before obtaining a license based on a content test. They can demonstrate completion of the required training by either possessing another license that already required such training (e.g. a person with a biology license without any license stipulations will have met the Environmental Education statutory stipulation and can get a physics license without further evidence), or they will have to address the stipulations through coursework/training from providers that can be found on the Statutory License Stipulations page.  Documentation from this coursework will be submitted with the application for a license based on a content test.

Grade and Developmental Levels of License Limitation

The second limitation relates to the grade and developmental levels of the license held by the educator that is used (via the five scenarios below) to add additional licenses. For the first three scenarios, the phrase “or an equivalent license” applies to educators who hold grade or developmental levels that generally correspond to or fall within the developmental level of the scenario. In the case of an “equivalent” license, any license granted by a content test will be at the developmental or grade level of the existing license (e.g. someone with a 7-12 Agriculture license can add math under Scenario 1, but will get it only for grades 7-12).

Five different scenarios in which an educator is eligible for this pathway are laid out below, along with additional details regarding specific tests to be taken:

  1. Teachers who hold a middle and high school license (34.046, grades 4-12), a special education license(34.049, K-12, EA-A), a pre-kindergarten through grade 12 license (34.047, PK-12), or an equivalent license can add certain additional subjects at the 4-12 grade level by passing a content test. Specific eligibility requirements for this pathway related to subject areas and development/grade levels are outlined in the LBCT- Adding 4-12 licenses PDF

2. Teachers who hold a pre-kindergarten through 12 license (34.047) or an equivalent license can add another PK-12 license or Middle and High School license (grades 4-12) in certain non-special education subject areas by passing a content test. Specific eligibility requirements for this pathway related to subject areas and development/grade levels are listed in the LCBT- Adding PK-12 Licenses PDF

  • If adding on a Middle and High School (grades 4-12) subject area, use the LBCT-Adding 4-12 licenses PDF to find information about what subject areas can be added, which content test to take, and the passing score for each test.

3. Teachers who hold an elementary and middle school (34.045, grades K-9), a special education license (34.049, K-12, MC-EA), or the equivalent license and have at least four semesters of teaching experience in grades PK-3 (may include Head Start program teaching) can add an Early Childhood-Regular Education license (birth to grade 3) by passing the Praxis II Elementary Education Content Knowledge test and the Foundations of Reading Test.

4. Teachers who hold an elementary and middle school license (34.045, grades K-9, MC-EA), a special education license (34.049, grades K-12, MC-EA or EA-A), or the equivalent license and have at least four semesters of teaching experience in English/language arts or math in grades 7 or 8 can add a license in that subject at the middle and high school level (grades 4-12) by passing a content test.

5. Teachers who hold an elementary and middle school License (34.045, grades K-9, MC-EA), a special education license(34.049, grades K-12, MC-EA, EC-A) or an equivalent license may add a license in English as a Second Language or a world language at the K-9 grade level by passing the applicable content knowledge test.

If you fit this pathway profile:
 

  1. VERIFY your eligibility on the license look-up page: License Lookup
  2. CHOOSE the test you will take. Register directly with the test vendor to take the test.
  3. TAKE the test, and obtain an original score report from the test vendor. Verify minimum passing score. Do not request score reports to be sent directly to the department (DPI).
  4. APPLY for the new license using the Educator Licensing Online (ELO) System. Upload a copy of the original score report from the test vendor. An applicant may add more than one related area license at a time based on a passing score.

IMPORTANT!

If you pass an approved content test by August 31 and are otherwise eligible for licensure, the effective date of your license will be July 1st of that same year.

If you pass an approved content test after September 1 and are otherwise eligible for licensure, the effective date of your license will be the following July 1st.

Post-baccalaureate Pathway

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Career changer, entering teaching
  • Educator seeking additional license
  • College graduate, seeking MS degree in a new content area

Having earned a Bachelor's degree, these candidates choose to return to a Wisconsin college/university approved to offer a teacher licensure program. Post-baccalaureate programs provide subject area and teaching coursework that lead to teacher licensure only or towards a master's degree program.

Download a PDF version of the video.

If you fit this pathway profile:

  1. DECIDE what you are interested in teaching.
  2. IDENTIFY the Wisconsin colleges/universities that are approved to prepare teachers for the Wisconsin teaching license you are seeking on the Find a Preparation Program page.
  3. CONTACT the college/university directly to learn about their program and enrollment. See Contact Information for Approved Educator Preparation Programs on the Approved Educator Preparation Programs page.
  4. COMPLETE all the requirements of the approved teacher licensure program.
  5. APPLY for a Wisconsin Initial Educator License using the ELO system.

Alternative Route Program Pathway

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor's degree, with a major in the license subject
  • Career changer, entering teaching
  • Educator seeking an additional license in a shortage area
  • Seeking licensure in a shortage area in Wisconsin
    • mathematics, science, career and technical education subjects, business education, world languages, special education, bilingual/bicultural and ESL; also regional shortages

For subject-specific licensure, the candidate must have already completed a major in the subject area of the license they are seeking. Wisconsin Alternative Route programs prepare candidates with teaching coursework for Wisconsin licenses in shortage areas. These programs are for licensure only and do not lead to a degree.

Download a PDF version of the video.

If you fit this pathway profile:

  1. DECIDE what you are interested in teaching.
  2. IDENTIFY the Wisconsin Alternative-Route Program Providers that are approved to prepare educators in the Wisconsin teaching license you are seeking on the Find a Preparation Program page. 
  3. CONTACT the Alternative Route Program Providers directly to learn about their program and enrollment. See Contact Information for Approved Educator Preparation Programs on the Approved Educator Preparation Programs page.
  4. COMPLETE all the requirements of the approved alternative route licensure program.
  5. APPLY for a Wisconsin Initial Educator License using the ELO System.

License Based on Equivalency Pathway

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Three years of teaching experience in PK-12, postsecondary, and/or industry
  • Major or major equivalent in content area
  • May have completed alternative-route teacher preparation program in another state or a teacher preparation program in another country
  • May be a teacher in a private or charter school, postsecondary education, or a workplace

Candidates in this pathway have not completed a Wisconsin recognized and approved educator preparation program. Three years of teaching experience and a performance-based assessment process will be used to determine competency in the Wisconsin educator standards. These programs are for licensure only and do not lead to a degree.
 

Download a PDF version of the video here.

If you fit this pathway profile:

  1. Work directly with one of the providers in the chart below.
  2. Complete all the requirements of the program you choose. The provider will assist you in completing the application materials for licensure.

License Based on Equivalency - Options

Program Program Provider Contact
Licensed Based on Equivalency (LBE) Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Wisconsin DPI LBE
Assessment-Based Licensure for Educators (ABLE) EducatorsAbroad ABLE

 

 


 

 

Out-of-State Pathway

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Completed an approved educator preparation program outside Wisconsin
  • Seeking Initial WI license

Applicants have completed the testing requirements of a state-approved educator preparation program and are eligible for licensure in that state. Candidates should apply for the Wisconsin license that most closely matches their out-of-state license. Upon application, a review will be completed to determine comparability with Wisconsin preparation, testing, and statutory requirements.

Self-Screen for Eligibility

See the Self-Screen for Eligibility web page to verify the completion of all requirements to become licensed in Wisconsin. 

If you fit this pathway profile:

  1. DETERMINE the Wisconsin license that most closely matches the out-of-state license you hold.
  2. COMPLETE the Wisconsin testing requirements. Elementary Educators, please see Out-of-state Elementary Education Candidates for more specific information.
  3. UNDERSTAND the Wisconsin statutory and administrative rule requirements. Learn about the most common stipulations at Common Wisconsin Stipulations for Out-of-State Applicants
  4. APPLY for a Wisconsin License using the ELO System.

Notes and related information:

  • It takes approximately 12-16 weeks for out-of-state applications to be reviewed. You can speed the approval of your application by providing all required documents when you apply.
  • Upon application review, DPI will determine for which license you are currently eligible. If you are not eligible for the license for which you applied, DPI will issue the most similar license for which you are eligible. This may be a One-Year License with Stipulations, a License Based on Reciprocity, or a Five-Year Long-Term Substitute license. If there is no license for which you are eligible your application may be denied.
  • If you have a valid license from another state and have at least one year of experience under that license, you may be eligible to apply through our License Based on Reciprocity Pathway.
  • If you completed an alternative route program outside Wisconsin, refer to the Out-of-State Alternative Routes section below to determine your best pathway.
  • For Frequently Asked Questions about the Out-of-State Pathway see the Frequently Asked Questions - Out-of-State page.

Out of State Elementary Education Candidates

The grade ranges for teacher licenses in Wisconsin do not always match up to the grade levels used on other states' licenses. Wisconsin grade ranges are:

Teaching Areas Grades Ranges
Early Childhood (Regular Education and Special Education) PK – 3
Elementary and Middle School K – 9
Middle and High School 4 – 12
Prekindergarten through grade 12 PK – 12
Kindergarten through grade 12 Cross-Categorical Special Education K – 12


The corresponding Wisconsin license for most elementary education preparation programs in other states is our Elementary/Middle School license. Examples from neighboring states:

State License WI License Required Tests
Illinois

Early Childhood Education (Birth-grade 3)

 

 

Elementary Education (K-9)

PK-3

 

 

 

K-9

  • Praxis II Elementary Education (5014) or (5018)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

 

  • Praxis II Middle School Content Knowledge Test (5146)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test
Iowa

PK-K or PK-3

 

 

Elementary Classroom (1-6)

PK-K or PK-3

 

 

K-6

  • Praxis II Elementary Education (5014) or (5018)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test
     
  • Praxis II Middle School Content Knowledge Test (5146)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test
Michigan

Elementary Education Certificate with Early Childhood Education endorsement (ZA or ZS)

 

 

Elementary Education Certificate (K-5)

 

Regular Education EC-MC

 

 


K-5

  • Praxis II Elementary Education (5014) or (5018)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test


 

  • Praxis II Middle School Content Knowledge Test (5146)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test
Minnesota

Pre-Kindergarten, Pre-Primary, or Early Childhood Education (PK-3 or K-3)

 

 

Elementary Education (K-6 or 1-6)

PK-3 or K-3

 

 

K-6 or 1-6

  • Praxis II Elementary Education (5014) or (5018)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

 

  • Praxis II Middle School Content Knowledge Test (5146)
  • Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

Kindergarten

Wisconsin licenses that include Kindergarten require that a candidate have proper preparation in Early Childhood Education. Few K-6 preparation programs outside of Wisconsin are comparable to DPI-approved Early Childhood programs.

A candidate would likely qualify for a Wisconsin Early Childhood license with a double-major in elementary ed and early childhood or possibly with a major in elementary ed and minor in early childhood. A Kindergarten endorsement from another state is not by itself sufficient to obtain a Wisconsin teacher license that includes Kindergarten.

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