Frequently Asked Questions about the Program
Is this an alternative program?
The Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program offers an alternative delivery method, but is not classified as an alternative and/or experimental program by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This unique program closely mirrors our excellent undergraduate teacher licensure program and is fully accredited by DPI, North Central, and NCATE.
Can you describe the typical student for this program?
There is no “typical” student. Some individuals hold emergency licensure and need to be enrolled in a program and complete six credits annually to continue the provisional license; some have been substitute or emergency licensed educators who want to complete licensure as soon as possible so as to be in the pool of qualified candidates for the position; some are teacher educators licensed in one area and are seeking licensure in another; and most are career professionals with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in related areas and want to prepare for a career change into middle or secondary education.
Am I earning a master’s degree in education in the VU post baccalaureate teacher licensure program?
No, you are earning a certificate and recommendation for licensure. Up to 15 graduate credits earned in the Post Baccalaureate program are potentially eligible for the graduate elective component of the Viterbo University Master of Arts in Education program. Only four of the eight student teaching credits are eligible for consideration for both initial and second licensure students. Master of Arts in Education core classes are offered all over Wisconsin and Iowa.
Students need to apply separately for the master’s program. It is advised that they complete the teacher licensure program and have some teaching experience before enrolling in the Master of Arts in Education program.
How much does it cost?
The three instructional units (Foundations, Methods/Technologies, and Student Teaching) are designed for 26 credits, but will vary slightly depending upon different DPI requirements in some content areas. Tuition for 2012-2013 is $320 per credit. Students are expected to purchase course texts and pay a portfolio fee of $60.
Does this program qualify for financial aid?
Yes, but only for initial licensure as the federal government decided 5/1/2012 that second licensure students are not eligible. After completing the Application for Admission, you are encouraged to complete the FAFSA form and contact the VU Financial Aid at 796-3390. Graduate financial aid is usually only offered as loans, but students are encouraged to apply for grants or scholarships for which they qualify. The Veteran's Administration approved this program for the GI Bill staring in May 2008. For more details on the GI Bill contact our financial aid office at 608-796-3900. Additional information is available on this site on the homepage link: Scholarships.
What is the registration process?
We have designed the program to address the variable situations of the “non-typical” students. Activities leading to teacher licensure program participation will be a three-part process:
- Program Application (on-line) where the individual declares intent and submits official transcripts.
- Program Admission based on content area readiness, portfolio review for recognition of prior learning if applicable, and completion of the identified “gap” courses within three or fewer classes.
- Program Registration based on being within three or fewer identified "gap" classes and the feasibility for Student Teaching full days in semester #3.
What is required for admission to the teacher licensure program?
A bachelor’s degree (official transcripts mailed directly to Viterbo University), work experience and course preparation comparable to the licensed area major courses, passing scores on the PPST, an approved Department of Justice background check, and an essay effectively describing the desire to become an educator are required for admission. These requirements represent some of the knowledge, skills and dispositions required for educators.
When do cohorts start?
All cohorts start in mid-May and meet every Tuesday and Thursday until mid-December. Student teaching will begin in mid-January and conclude in early June or when the district you are assigned to for student teaching concludes. Three additional evenings are required for programatic training outside of the regular schedule. These are publishing in advance on the cohort calendar.
How long would I have to complete the program?
Students are expected to continue to make progress in the program until they complete it. The Master of Arts in Education program allows seven years for completion.
When does student teaching need to take place?
Students are required to student teach the spring of their cohort year or the following fall semester.
Can I be working under an emergency teaching license and complete this program?
If a student has an emergency license in their content area before their May cohort begins we will work with the student to allow them to student teach in their district. If a student obtains an emergency license after they start their May cohort program they will not be allowed to complete their student teaching on-the-job. The Wisconsin DPI is very explicit about full-time student teaching for a full semester for an initial license. For students who already have a secondary teaching license accommodations will be made to work with your current district. Any adjustment to this policy is at the discretion of the Dean of the School of Education in conjunction with the Wisconsin DPI.
How far back will Viterbo consider accepting previous coursework?
Viterbo has a limit of seven years on all previous education and content area coursework with some exceptions made at our discretion. A maximum of six credits may be waived from the education course sequence.
If I have almost completed a program elsewhere how many classes do I need with Viterbo?
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires a university to really get to know any applicant for teacher licensure before granting a license. For this reason Viterbo requires all students with previous education classes to take a minimum of 12 education credits with us in addition to student teaching and seminar.
Can I test out of any indentified content "gap" classes?
Viterbo allows students to take any C.L.E.P. exam we offer as a recognized substitute for a required course if a passing score is obtained. Exams usually are given just before each semester begins. For more information on the C.L.E.P. please visit School of Graduate, Professional, and Adult Education.
The School of Graduate, Professional, and Adult Education handles all C.L.E.P. exams and will send me your scores. I suggest that all students attempting an exam check out a corresponding textbook from our library and carefully read it before taking the text. The Post Bac pass rate averages about 75 percent for those who seriously study for exams.
About the License
How would the DPI teaching license I obtain from this Post Baccalaureate Teacher License Program differ from that of one who has obtained their Master’s Degree in Teacher Education or someone who became a teacher in a bachelor’s program?
Students successfully completing the coursework, field experiences, and student teaching in an institution that is recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) as having an “approved program” for teacher education (PI 34) will be eligible for licensure. This post baccalaureate teacher licensure program contains the same objectives as the 35 credit education core requirements in the state and nationally recognized Viterbo University School of Education program; however, courses are compressed and offered in accelerated delivery with expectations of graduate course-level participation (26 graduate credits). There is no difference in the licenses resulting from any of the above-mentioned methods of delivery.
Would there be any limitation to the license I obtain in this program?
No. The license is issued by the DPI and grants you authority to serve as an educator in the content area and grade level for which you are licensed.
There is a new administrative code in Wisconsin requiring all graduates/initial educators after 2004 to be assigned mentors in classrooms and submit portfolios, etc. to obtain and keep up their license. Would this program prepare me for the professional development model?
The VU post baccalaureate teacher licensure program provides portfolio exploration and interpretation of the PI 34Licenses and Stages requirements and has professional development assessments based on the Wisconsin Standards for Teacher Educators and national INTASC standards.
I understand that I must take the PPST for program admission. Will I also have to take a content knowledge exam before I get my license?
The PPST (Pre-Professional Skills Tests) for Reading, Writing and Math is required for all students entering teaching education program. PPST will be required for initial Teacher Licensure--Post Baccalaureate (TLPB) program admission. The Praxis II exam is a content knowledge assessment and will also be required for all license seekers. Passing Praxis II scores will be required to be passed by the start of classes in May. The knowledge tested is content represented in the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for the licensed subject and grade level, as indicated in PI 34 Subchapter VII sections 34.27--34.30. Viterbo's Learning Center on the third floor of Murphy Center has study materials and tutors available to assist students with the exams. For more information on the Praxis exams see the link on the homepage of this site: Praxis Exams.
About the Classes
When are the classes held?
Courses will be taught every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5-9 pm from Mid-May to Mid-December. Students will attend 8 credits of classes in the summer and 8 credits in the fall. Students will also need to plan for some partial days (between 8 am and 3 p.m.) in the fall semester for required field experiences of a minimum of 50 hours. The spring students teaching session will last the entire second semester of the school district they are placed with. One additional Wednesday is required in the summer session for portfolio and field experience training.
Is this program based on individual work or group work? I am familiar with learning communities where much of the work is done in a group format. How will this program be organized?
The individual will be responsible for meeting all the standards for teacher education. Their personal portfolio of projects, course required papers and exams, field and student teaching evaluations and other similar artifacts would be comprehensively reviewed in relation to the INTASC standards and Wisconsin Standards for Teacher Educators. Instructors will assign individual projects, but will sometime allow group projects. Group projects are not the norm in this program.
Can I take Foundations and then take Methods later, or must I commit to all three semesters at one time?
The ideal would be for an individual to stay within the cohort sequence. Foundations is a pre-requisite for Methods and both of these instructional units must be completed prior to Student Teaching. If an individual chooses to complete one unit and then wait for the next offering, he/she needs to know that it will possibly delay his/her licensure for a year or more.
If I drive to La Crosse for the Foundations and Methods evening courses, will I be required to student teach in the La Crosse area?
Student teaching placements are assigned in the La Crosse area for all local students, but arrangements can be made elsewhere if a student lives further away provided we are able to locate qualified cooperating teachers and supervisors. An extra fee of $200 may be assigned depending upon the difficulty level of making these arrangements. Student teaching is not allowed in a district a candidate was a student in or has children currently enrolled.
Will this always be only a La Crosse-based program?
As this time this program is based in La Crosse and no expansion is planned.
Is a TB test required?
Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires all school personnel (including student teachers) to pass a TB skin-prick test. The test is given at Viterbo University free of charge to all enrolled undergraduate and Post Baccalaureate education students. The test needs to be scheduled for two short visits 48 hours apart. It is recommended to take the test on a Tuesday before class and have your arm "read" on a Thursday evening before class. Call 608-796-3806 to schedule an appointment at the Viterbo health services in the Student Development Center (near the San Domiano Chapel).
Is a police background check required?
Yes. The State of Wisconsin will not license anyone convicted of a felony or who has committed crime against children. Viterbo University completes a background check during the processing of an application. If you have lived outside of Wisconsin for more than a semester you will need to have a federal background check conducted by contacting: www.certifiedbackground.com and using code: VI87/”Academic” - (the I is a capital I and not a one). You will need to print off your results and give us a copy. If you have only lived in WI or were away for a semester or less we will only require the $7.00 State of WI background check that we conduct. This fee will be collected at orientation. The cost for the national background check is $48 dollars and you will pay it online.