Below is information on three separate licensure topics: Initial Licensure, Substitute Licensure, and how to renew your initial license with a Professional Development Plan.
1) How to apply for a Wisconsin Initial Teaching License:
When students have successfully completed ALL program requirements including student teaching, coursework, Praxis exams, field experience, TWS, and portfolio requirements they will be eligible to apply for a State of Wisconsin Teaching License. To apply, a student will need to download the correct application from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) website at: http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/forms/pdf/f1602-is.pdf
Students are urged to read carefully all portions of the license to determine if they will need to be fingerprinted. If so, applicants must order official fingerprint cards from the DPI and not use those provided by law enforcement agencies. If you already have a substitute teaching license you might not need to obtain new fingerprint cards, but carefully read the directions to ensure this is correct for your situation.
If you are legally changing your name (getting married/divorced) but have not legally completed this yet, you may not use your new name for the license application per DPI rules. Your license will be valid under the name you provide on the application the entire length of the license or you may resubmit for a namechange for a $50 fee. For more information on this go to: http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/fqlname.html
Please drop off or mail in the completed application, credit card # or check (written to the DPI), and fingerprint cards (if applicable) to: Viterbo University, ATN: Betty Pfaff, 900 Viterbo Drive, La Crosse, WI 54601. I will verify your completion and have Dr. Batell (licensing officer) sign your application. We will then mail your materials directly to the DPI. No transcript is required for Wisconsin licenses as Dr. Batell's signature covers this part.
The DPI dates all licenses as starting July 1 and running for five years. They also ask for 10-14 weeks to process your application and it usually takes at least four weeks if you apply during the summer as this is their busiest time. Do not be worried that a district will not hire you without the actual license as it is very common for the processing of applications to take all summer and for some students to not apply for a license until they obtain a job. We are happy to verify your completion status either orally or in writing to any distict that needs this information and this will usually satisfy an administrator until your official license arrives.
When students complete the licensure program they will need to complete a Certificate Program Completion form and return to the program coordinator for final approval. This form is used to process the license(s) earned and record it on the student's official transcript.
When to apply:
The subject of when to apply for your license is up to you. Some students want the license right away and others wish to wait until they obtain a job. If you obtain a license right away, and are not hired the following semester, you may use the license to sub. The DPI has assured us that if you do apply for the license and are not hired immediately that they will work with you to ensure you get the full five years after you are employed to work on your Professional Development Plan for your license renewal. They have made the same promise if you move or take time off from teaching.
For peace of mind, it is recommended to students that they obtain their license right away. Many students delay obtaining a license and later needed it quickly for a job (especially in another state) so they wished they had done it earlier. The decision is yours. We have heard from students teaching in CA, AZ, MA, and NY that is was significantly easier to obtain a license in these states because they already had their Wisconsin license in hand.
Other States: See Employment Information link
2) How to apply for a Substitute Teaching License:
If you would like to substitute teach you may do so at any school district that has a shortage of subs. In our region, La Crosse, Onalaska, and Holmen do not have a shortage, but the rest do. You must have a regular teaching license to sub OR if the district has a shorage they can hire you if you have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and have obtained a substitute teaching license. You will need an administrator (principal/superintendent) from a district that has a shortage to sign your application. I have yet to hear from a student than any local administrator that was asked to sign the form declined. Here is the link for the three year substitute permit: http://dpi.wi.gov/forms/pdf/pod1602-sp.pdf Most local districts pay in the $75-$110/day range. For more information, please go to the DPI website at: http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/fqlsub.html
3) How to renew your Initial License with a Professional Development Plan:
As of Fall 2004 all initial educators need to complete a Professional Development Plan for renewal of their initial license. Districts are not required to assist their new hires on how to write a plan, but most provide help during their in-service meetings for new teachers. The DPI has the forms and all the details for how to complete a PDP on their website at: http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/pdp.html Many CESA's also provide training sessions and you will also find help at this site: www.qei.wisconsin.edu
All first year teachers are to reflect during their first year on what area of teaching they would like to learn more about or improve upon in their own classrooms. In the fall of your second year of teaching you will need to locate a peer, administrator, and university member to be on your PDP goal approval team. The DPI has a database for each level of trained reviewers at: http://dpi.wi.gov/tepdl/pdpteammembers.html Scroll down to the bottom half of the page for the list of IHE, administrators, and peers who have been trained.
Viterbo has a list of trained faculty, myself included, to be on your team if you wish. Please contact Rhonda Rabbitt at email@example.com if you are interested in working with a Viterbo University representative. Viterbo University does not charge a fee or require that a course be taken.
4) How to renew a five year license if not under PI-34 rules: **Only if license obtained prior to Aug 30, 2004**
Here is the link for a regular five year license renewal application: http://www.dpi.wi.gov/forms/pdf/f1602-5r.pdf As you will see on the application, you will need to turn in the application, fee, and verification of six or more credits. The DPI allows either graduate or undergraduate coursework to apply, but some districts will only accept graduate credits for lane changes. If your renewal credits were taken at Viterbo here is the link for a transcript request: http://www.viterbo.edu/registrar.aspx?id=850