You are here

Licensing Definitions

DPI is currently receiving a high volume of contacts for assistance.  The four most common topics of discussion are:

Latest Licensing News

Help with WAMS IDs

Before you can submit an application to DPI, you must register for a Web Access Management Systems (WAMS) user ID.

How to set up a WAMS account

Already have one or more WAMS accounts?

How to start your WAMS account recovery:

Perform a WAMS account recovery for all emails you have. Enter your email address but do NOT enter your User ID to start your WAMS account recovery. Once in the account recovery process you will be prompted to change your password. After you change your password you will be told in parentheses what your correct User ID is. Please make note of that before you terminate the account recovery session. Once you have recovered all WAMS accounts you have, login to ELO with each of your accounts individually. If you can see your licenses, you are logging in with the correct WAMS account. If you are taken through the Onboarding process again, you are not using the correct WAMS account and should try another account.

If you encounter errors in the WAMS account recovery process, please contact WAMS directly.  DPI is unable to help with WAMS recovery because the system is used by many state agencies and is run by the Department of Administration:


In order to receive a DPI license or renew a DPI license with credits, the college or university attended must be accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.


"Administrator" means a person whose leadership in a district, school building or program area focuses on improved student learning by managing, supervising, mentoring and evaluating professional staff and by directing programs, curriculum, instruction, student assessment, and business administration in a public or private religious or nonsectarian school.

Charter License

An individual who holds a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution may be eligible to obtain a charter school teaching license to teach in a non-virtual charter school. A charter school teaching license obtained under this section is a lifetime license.

Charter School

Charter schools are public, nonsectarian schools created through a businesslike contract or "charter" between the charter governance board and the sponsoring school board or other chartering authority.

Continuous Review Process (CRP)

"Continuous review process" means a system of review and approval of teacher education programs whereby program results are reviewed by the department annually and approval is granted by the state superintendent on a 5-year basis.

Cooperative Education Services Agency (CESA)

"CESA" means a cooperative educational service agency created under ch. 116, Stats. The cooperative educational service agencies are designed to serve educational needs in all areas of Wisconsin by serving as a link both between school districts and between school districts and the state.

Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

The Department of Public Instruction is the state agency that advances public education and libraries in Wisconsin.


The edTPA is a pre-service teacher performance assessment.


A Teacher, Administrator, Pupil Services Professional or other DPI licensee who provides direct services to pupils

Educator Effectiveness Plan (EEP)

"Educator effectiveness plan" means a plan created by an individual to meet the requirements of an educator effectiveness evaluation system developed by the department under s. 115.415 (2) Stats., or a school district under ch. PI 47.

Educator Licensing Online (ELO)

Educator Licensing Online (ELO) is an application and license management system.

Educator Preparation Program (EPP)

There are two types of educator preparation programs in Wisconsin. Institutions of higher education: Thirty-three Wisconsin colleges and universities, public, private and tribal, are approved by the DPI to offer licensure programs. These programs lead to a degree (e.g. Bachelor’s, Master’s, Education Specialist) and/or licensure only based on the licensure program requirements. Alternative route programs: These alternative route programs are approved by the DPI to offer licensure programs in critical shortage areas.

Emergency License/Permit

There was an emergency rule of PI 34 as of 6/17/17 that eliminates the Emergency License/Permit and replaces it with the 1-Year License with Stipulations.  Historically speaking, an emergency license could be issued to an applicant who held a valid Wisconsin educator license but was being asked to teach outside of the subject and/or grade level of his/her license. An emergency license was issued for the specific assignment in a specific school year. An emergency permit could be issued to an applicant who held a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

Endorsed Candidates for Licensure (ECL)

The Endorsed Candidates for Licensure (ECL) data is the electronic license endorsement sent to DPI by Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) approved in the state of Wisconsin.

Entity Number/File Number/EFN

A unique identifying number that refers to one specific educator and all their license information.


On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Previously referred to as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the newly reauthorized ESEA is being referred to as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Five-Year Long-term Substitute License

A substitute license may be issued to an applicant who has completed an approved education preparation program and has held or is eligible to hold a Wisconsin license or the equivalent license in another state.


"License" means a document, including permits, issued by the department under this chapter granting authority or permission to serve as an educator in Wisconsin public schools and is available to educators in private religious and nonsectarian schools.

License Assignment

“License Assignment” means a job or position in a K-12 setting that requires a DPI license/permit.

License Based on Equivalency (LBE)

The purpose of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) License Based on Equivalency (LBE) standards-based assessment process is to provide another pathway to a Wisconsin teaching license for people with teaching experience directly related to the license being sought. The Wisconsin DPI LBE process is based on performance and designed for applicants to substantiate proficiency in the Wisconsin educator standards.

License Category

The following are license categories for Educator Licenses issued under Wis. Admin. Code PI 34:

  • Administrator
  • Pupil Services
  • Teacher
  • Other Licenses

License Cycle

The period between the start date and expiration date of a license in which the license is valid.

License with Stipulations

The License with Stipulations was first made available on 06/17/2017. Educators can apply for a One-Year License with Stipulations or a Three-Year License with Stipulations.

Life License

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. Life licenses are no longer issued (effective July 1, 1983).

Lifetime License

A license available to teachers, administrators and pupil service educators.  It has no expiration date.  However, a lifetime license will be invalidated if the educator is not actively employed by a school district for five or more consecutive years.


The first time educators login to ELO they will have to provide basic information about their licenses and themselves so that DPI may connect their license information to their specific WAMS ID. This is called Onboarding, and it is a one-time event.


Chapter PI 3 as it existed on April 30, 1988, was repealed and a new chapter PI 3 was created effective May 1, 1988. Chapter PI 3 as it existed on June 30, 2004 is repealed effective July 1, 2004.


PI 34, Wisconsin Administrative Code for Teacher Education Program Approval and Licensing, restructured teacher education, educator licenses, and professional development for Wisconsin educators.


The Praxis tests measure teacher candidates’ knowledge and skills. The tests are used for licensing and certification processes.

Professional Development Plan (PDP)

"Professional Development Plan (PDP)" means a list of activities, timelines for achievement, and a plan for assessment that indicates professional growth that has as a goal the improvement of student learning.

Professional Standards Council (PSC)

In 1997, Wisconsin Act 298 was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor which created the statutory Professional Standards Council (PSC) to assist and advise the state superintendent in improving teacher preparation, licensure and regulation. Wis. Stat. 15.377(8). Specific information regarding the framework of the Professional Standards Council can be found at Wis. Admin Code PI 34.36.

Provisional License

A three-year license available to teachers, administrators and pupil service educators.  A provisional license may be issued to educators who completed an approved educator preparation program.  This is a full license.

Pupil Services

The category licenses that includes School Counselor, School Nurse, School Psychologist and School Social Worker.

Quick Start Menu

The Quick Start Menu is the home for educator transactions, payments, and license certificates in the Educator Licensing Online (ELO) system.

Regular Employment

“Regularly employed in education” means employed as an educator providing services directly to students, families or fellow educators in a prekindergarten through college setting or providing administrative oversight in a prekindergarten through grade 12 setting for one hour per day per semester or its equivalent.


The process of keeping a DPI issued license or permit valid past its expiration date for another license cycle.


A Life License becomes invalid if the license holder is not regularly employed in education for 5 or more consecutive years. The process to make a Life License valid again is called revalidation.

Statutory License Stipulations

It is not likely that a state-approved educator preparation program outside of Wisconsin will have the same statutory requirements in their programs because each state has its own licensing requirements. As a result, applicants for a Wisconsin educator license who completed their program outside of Wisconsin will not usually have fulfilled all the statutory requirements for a Wisconsin educator license. Applicants who are otherwise eligible for a Wisconsin license based on their credentials may be issued a license with stipulations.


"Teacher" has the meaning defined under s. 40.02 (55), Stats. For the purposes of licensing under this chapter, "teacher" also means a person who demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and dispositions outlined in s. PI 34.02 to improve pupil learning through the exercise of any educational function, including instructing pupils or administering, directing, or supervising any educational activity.

Teacher Education, Professional Development and Licensing (TEPDL)

The Teacher Education, Professional Development and Licensing Team (TEPDL) supports educators, school districts, and educator preparation programs to ensure highly qualified and highly effective educators in Wisconsin schools.

Tier I, II, III, IV License

Wisconsin has a tiered licensure system.  Use the DPI Licensing Tiers PDF to review what licenses are at what tier, and the requirements for each tier of licensing.

Three-Year Short-term Substitute Permit

A substitute permit may be issued to an applicant who holds an associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university, but has not completed a state-approved educator preparation program.

Web Access Management System (WAMS)

The Web Access Management System (WAMS) is a user ID system managed by the State of Wisconsin. DPI uses WAMS IDs as the login for Educator Licensing Online (ELO).

Wisconsin Educator Standards

The Wisconsin Educator Standards outline characteristics of good educators by identifying the components and defining qualities of best professional practice.

Wisconsin Improvement Program (WIP)

The Wisconsin Improvement Program (WIP) provides an excellent opportunity for school districts, educator preparation programs, and the Department of Public Instruction to collaborate in the preparation of future teachers.

Wisconsin Talent Development Framework

With a forecasted national shortage of educators, it is time to take stock of where we are at now and strategically plan for our future. Beginning in April 2015 and continuing throughout the 2015-2016 year, the PSC will conduct a review and begin the development of a state strategic plan for the future. The first step will be to develop a document called The Wisconsin Talent Development Framework Scan to get the “lay of the land” in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Talent Development Framework Scan will then be utilized by the Wisconsin Professional Standards Council and the DPI Teacher Education, Professional Development and Licensing Team to:

  • Review current policy and practices
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to identify gaps and strategies for consideration
  • Develop a strategic plan for ensuring ongoing talent development within Wisconsin
  • Develop resources, technical assistance, and guidance for Wisconsin educators, school districts, educator preparation programs, and professional organizations