Become a Teacher

Student teacher holding a paper and talking to two young students.

Considered among the best in the country, the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education educator preparation programs emphasize academic rigor, multicultural and global competence, and extensive supervised experiences in the field.

Students transferring from Madison College for Elementary Education or Special Education can visit the Transfer Agreement Page to learn more about transfer requirements.

Our programs prepare students to be leaders who work in diverse schools across Wisconsin, the nation, and the world. Our graduates are committed to high-quality, culturally responsive instruction that serves every student.

UW-Madison Certification Programs

Steps to Becoming a Teacher

Photo of Wisconsin stickers and folder

1. Admissions

All individuals seeking admission to a UW-Madison educator preparation program must meet program-specific requirements for admission. Please see the individual program links above for requirements. All undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students seeking admission to a UW-Madison Teacher Preparation or Licensure program, including initial, supplemental, administrative and pupil services programs, must complete a Criminal Background Check administered by UW-Madison through a 3rd party criminal background check servicer.

Students transferring from Madison College for Elementary Education or Special Education can visit the Transfer Agreement Page to learn more about transfer requirements.

Consider funding your education with the UW-Madison Wisconsin Teacher Pledge, an opt-in loan forgiveness program for teacher education students who pledge to stay and teach in the state at a PK-12 school for three to four years.

Photo of the elementary education resources in MERIT Libraary

2. Coursework

Teacher preparation at UW–Madison means taking courses from nationally recognized faculty and staff with classmates who are passionate, committed to social justice, and highly capable. You will have the opportunity to learn about pedagogy and learning, curriculum and lesson planning, and inclusive classrooms where all students can excel. Our coursework, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, will prepare you to be a competent, critically reflective educator prepared to work toward equity in diverse and multicultural settings.

Student teacher in classroom with a young child

3. Field experiences

Field experiences provide opportunities for future teachers to get hands-on experience in authentic school settings and practice applying the content learned in coursework. All UW–Madison teacher preparation programs require multiple field experiences across a variety of settings to foster growth over time. Field experiences are an integral and impactful component of educator preparation at UW–Madison. They allow our students to hone their instructional skills and learn from experienced teachers. Each program’s culminating field experience is a full-time semester (about 18 weeks) of “student teaching.” Field experiences are augmented by support, feedback, and mentorship provided by field supervisors who have experience working as a teacher in your program area.

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4. Exams

Completing a teacher preparation program also involves demonstrating your preparedness to teach. In Wisconsin, all teacher candidates must complete a culminating performance assessment, which is typically finished during the final student teaching semester. (Note, the edTPA is no longer required as a performance assessment in Wisconsin.)

Elementary, special education, reading teacher, and reading specialist students are required to take the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test (WFORT). Students in special education have an additional portfolio option that can be used as a substitute for the WFORT.  World language education students must meet an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview requirement and must take and pass the ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT).

Child raising hand in classroom

5. Apply for a license

After successfully completing all coursework, field experiences, and required exams, you will be ready to apply for a Wisconsin educator license. All Wisconsin teaching licenses require at least a bachelor’s degree, so undergraduate students cannot apply for a license until their bachelor’s degree is conferred. Our staff will guide you through the application process for a license.

Photo of the Career Center flyers and business cards

6. Start your career

Our School of Education Career Center is eager to assist you in finding a teaching position that is right for you. And as a UW–Madison alum, you will be joining a large network of teachers making a difference in the lives of future generations. We hope you’ll join this amazing profession! 

Transferring from Madison College?

Students transferring from Madison College for Elementary Education or Special Education can visit the Transfer Agreement Page to learn more about transfer requirements.

School of Education-Madison College Transfer Agreement

Connect with Us

Javier Neira

Position title: Enrollment Coach, Teacher Preparation Programs


Phone: (608) 263-3011

For a list of all Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) approved programs please see DPI Approved Educator Preparation Programs.