Wisconsin Teacher Licenses: What You Need To Know

WEAC License Change FAQs

What is a lifetime license?

A lifetime license enables a teacher in Wisconsin to teach in their area of certification without renewal throughout the course of a career. All educators who held a valid, unencumbered professional or master educator license when Act 59 passed in 2017 now should have had their licenses converted to lifetime status.

What is a provisional license?

A provisional license replaces initial licenses issued prior to Act 59. It is notable that it takes 3 years or 6 semesters of successful teacher to move to lifetime status whereas initial licenses were on a 5-year cycle.

How do I check to see if my license was converted?

The DPI hosts a public license look up database. You can click here to look your license up.

Why do my old licenses show up?

You may have noticed your initial or professional licenses are still visible. This allows you and others to see a complete list of your license history.

What is DPI doing about background checks?

Every 5 years educators will undergo a conduct and competency questionnaire and background check. There will be a small fee involved for this process. At this time the DPI does not have a system in place for background checks. Do nothing related to your background check until you hear from WEAC or the DPI.

When will I undergo my background check?

Background checks will continue to be on the cycle of your current 5-year license. For example, if your license was to expire in 2018 you’d complete the background check in 2018. DPI expects to send e-mails as reminder, but teachers are ultimately responsible for submitting the background check questionnaire every 5 years.

Will the DPI mail me a license?

No, DPI has gone paperless for applications and licenses. Hard copies on parchment paper are no longer mailed. To print your license log into your ELO Account, navigate to “manage your existing licenses”, choose “print license certificate from the drop down. Based on your browser’s default behavior a file will be available for you to open or download.

I have 6 semesters or successful teaching what should I do to move to a lifetime license?

Currently DPI does not have a method in place to report semesters of successful teaching. However, you could use your QEI account. The QEI has developed an excellent tracking system for successful semesters and WEAC has written confirmation that the QEI will be accepted to track successful semesters. For more details log in at https://myqei.org/.

As an initial educator can my previous teaching experience count toward my 6 successful semesters of successful teaching or do I need to start over?

Semesters completed prior to the passing of the budget in September, 2017 can be applied toward your lifetime license.  The following requirements apply: 1) the experience must be in the category of your license (teacher, admin or pupil services), 2) the experience must be earned within the five years immediately preceding the start date of the lifetime license, and 3) the experience must be verified by an employing school district.

What if I taught in a different district than I teach in now?

Any school district can provide documentation of successful teaching. Similarly, if you intend to move school districts in the future WEAC recommends that you secure documentation for your semesters of successful teaching prior to resigning from your current position.

Can my lifetime license be invalidated?

A lifetime license will be invalidated if an educator is not actively employed by a school district for five or more consecutive years or if the educator fails to log into the online system and submit to a background every 5 years. Educators may reapply for a provisional license at any time.

I have licenses in two categories. One is initial and one is professional, what happens in my situation?

Many teachers hold multiple licenses.  If you have licenses in more than one category they will convert accordingly. For example, if you have a professional teaching license and an initial pupil services license the teaching license will convert to lifetime status and the pupil services license will convert to a provisional 3-year license.

What if I don’t meet the requirements under a provisional license in three years?

You can reapply for provisional licenses with no limit on the number of reapplications.

I was grandfathered under PI 34 and have been taking 6 credits every five years, do I have to continue taking classes?

No. Graduate credits are no longer required for license renewal.

I’m an initial educator and had my PDP goal approved. I am implementing my PDP and working toward verification. What should I do?

Stop working on your PDP. PDPs will no longer be accepted as a means of license advancement. As an initial educator your license will convert to a “3-year provisional license.” Once you have completed 6 semesters of successful teaching you can apply for a lifetime license.

I am a retiree, can I use my lifetime license to substitute teach?

Yes. As a licensed educator you are eligible to substitute teach. Please check WRS and/or social security guidelines for income limitations.

I am Nationally Board Certified and hold a Master Educator license. Is that really a lifetime license?

Yes. However, you will need to follow NBPTS’s renewal/maintenance of certificate requirements to keep your National Board status current and to be eligible for the annual state grant awarded to Master Educator license holders.

I am a National Board candidate awaiting my scores. What if I certify?

You will have the ability to apply for a Master Educator license through the ELO system.

I expected the State budget to pass sooner so I didn’t renew my license that expired on June 30, 2017.

You should submit your license application to DPI immediately. PI 34 rules allow an educator with an expired license to apply for a one-year extension. Educators who apply for a one-year extension by June 30, 2018 will receive a new license with an effective date of July 1, 2017 making you eligible for a lifetime license.