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Life License (Pre-1983)

DPI is currently receiving a high volume of contacts for assistance.  The three most commonly asked questions and their answers are below:

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:

Revalidating Life or Lifetime License

Educators, whose Life or Lifetime license was invalidated in July, have until December 31 to revalidate their license. Upon approval of the $45 Request Background Check - Lifetime Licensee [5900] application, the Lifetime license will be revalidated just as if the educator completed the application before June 30. Educators will have until December 31 to complete this application for their license to be revalidated.

Background Checks

DPI is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license regardless of whether it is an initial request or a renewal request.

All educators are required to complete a background check to maintain or revalidate a life or lifetime license. There are directions for how to complete the $45 Request Background Check - Lifetime Licensee [5900].

To find the year in which your most recent background check was submitted, search License Lookup using your name or entity number and check see the “Last Background Check Submitted” field.

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 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.  These provisions are 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 is 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.  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.  It also allows you to substitute short-term in any other subject and grade level.  A substitute position is short-term is the teacher is gone for 45 days or less.  A substitute position is long-term is the teacher is gone for more than 45 days.

Application

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 3 year Provisional License, since the applicant has not had the opportunity to complete 6 semesters of successful experience, within the past 5 years, required to obtain a Lifetime License; OR
  2. Requesting reissuance of a 3 year Provisional License, since the applicant has not yet satisfied 1 or more stipulations, required to obtain a Lifetime License; OR
  3. Requesting a 3 year Provisional License, based on the applicant holding an expired Wisconsin license, and not being eligible to hold a Lifetime License. Check for Lifetime License eligibility on Lifetime Educator License (Post-2017).

To complete the (Re)issue Provisional License Application, follow the Application Directions for (Re)issuance of Provisional License.

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 using the button below.