After receiving their bachelor's degree, some students decide to pursue certification as a teacher at the k-12 level. There are several different types of programs that can assist these students in earning licensure in various states; some of these programs offer both certification and a Master's degree. Some programs offer evening and weekend courses while others follow a more traditional, residential college program format.
In choosing what program would be best, it might appear that earning an additional, advanced degree is clearly the best way to go. However, it is important to consider the fact that teacher pay is based on years of experience and education level. A school district would likely have to pay a brand new teacher with a master’s degree more than they would a brand new teacher who has a bachelor’s degree. The lower salary of the teacher with the bachelor’s degree could be more attractive all other qualifications being equal. On the other hand, many states, including Wisconsin, require a Master's within a certain number of years of certification, so a dual program may make sense depending on location.
Teacher certification requirements differ from state to state. It is a good idea to figure out where you are likely to live when you start your teaching career and aim to complete a certification program in that state. It is possible to complete the certification requirements in one state and move to another and obtain licensure to teach, but it might mean taking additional courses to complete that state’s requirements. Individual state departments of education can be helpful first steps in locating a teacher preparation institution.
If you are interested getting certified to teach you may want to consult with the School of Education’s Educational Portfolios and Career Services (EPCS). This office has a wealth of information about professional development and job openings in education.
Most programs, whether certification only or dual certification/Master's will expect applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree program with a major in the area/discipline they plan to teach. They may also require applicants to have taken the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST), aka Praxis exam. Information about this is available on the Educational Testing Service website.
- UW-Madison School of Education contains information about the various routes to certification through the UW-Madison teacher preparation program.
- State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: licensing information for the state of Wisconsin.
- The University of Kentucky has a useful webpage that includes links to teacher certification requirements for all 50 states.
Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs
This is not an exhaustive list of the certification programs in Wisconsin. Rather, it is a sampling of the different types of programs designed to give you an idea of the types of programs out there, both in the UW System and at private institutions.