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Out-of-State Alternative Routes to Licensure

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.

The information on this page pertains to educators who have completed one of the following:

  • completed an alternative route program outside of Wisconsin
  • received licensure directly from another state's education agency via a certificate program or equivalency process
  • received licensure through a two-year institution outside of Wisconsin
  • received licensure through another process outside of Wisconsin (e.g., passing a content examination)

Applicants who completed an educator preparation programs for teachers, pupil services, and/or administrators at a college or university headquartered outside the state of Wisconsin, including online colleges or universities and out-of-country (non-U.S.) colleges/universities, should apply for Wisconsin licensure via the Out-of-State pathway.

If you have completed an alternative route to licensure in another state you may complete the following pathways to Wisconsin licensure:

  • License Based on Reciprocity
    • Hold a current teaching license in good standing from another state
    • Have taught one year with the teaching license from out-of-state
    • Hold a current administrator license in good standing from another state
    • Have worked one year with the administrator license from out-of-state
  • Post-Baccalaureate Pathway
    • Bachelor's degree
    • Career changer, entering teaching
    • Educator seeking additional license
    • College graduate, seeking MS degree in a new content area
  • Alternative Route Pathway
    • Bachelor's degree, with a major in the license subject
    • Career changer, entering teaching
    • Educator seeking additional license in shortage area
    • Seeking licensure in a shortage area in Wisconsin
      • Mathematics, Science, Career and Technical Education Subjects, World Languages, Special Education, Bilingual/Bicultural and ESL; also regional shortages
  • License Based on Equivalency Pathway
    • 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
  • Credential evaluation by Wisconsin approved Educator Preparation Program