Applying for Your Wisconsin License

IMPORTANT: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) utilizes an electronic licensing application system. Paper applications are no longer accepted. Please refer to the DPI website for information related to this process.

For specific step-by-step licensure directions for 2020, please see our 2020 Licensure page.

UW-Madison School of Education contact: Mitchell Patton, 608-262-5630, Education Academic Services, 139 Education, 1000 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706.

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Requesting Endorsement Upon Program Completion

The Educator Licensing Online (ELO) system requires that the UW-Madison School of Education notify the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) of your endorsement for licensure before you apply for your teaching license.  A Bachelor’s degree is required for licensure; therefore, teacher candidates who are earning their first Bachelor’s degree cannot be endorsed until after their degree has been posted.  In addition to the Bachelor’s degree requirement, you must also successfully complete all of your teacher education program requirements – which includes successful completion of required assessments and a full semester of full-time student teaching.  As soon as these steps are completed, your program will notify the Teacher Education Center that you are ready to be endorsed. Once we have given DPI our endorsement for your license(s), you can complete the application online at any time. To ensure that your endorsement is sent to DPI, please complete the License Endorsement Request online before the end of your last semester of coursework at UW-Madison. This procedure should take less than 5 minutes.

Finger Printing Requirements

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires the applicant to submit fingerprints when applying for a license if the applicant has worked, resided, or physically attended classes in any of the locations listed below within the last twenty years (afer age 17):

  • U.S. states other than Wisconsin
  • Listed U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, or Virgin Islands)
  • Canada
  • Great Britain (England, Scotland, or Wales)
  • Applicants, who since their most recent submission of fingerprints to DPI have worked, resided, or physically attended classes in any locations listed above.
  • Applicants who provide an address on their application that is in any of the locations listed above.

DPI also has an interactive Fingerprint Decision Tree if you have any additional questions.

Educator Licensing Online (ELO) Application Steps

Even though you notify us of your intent to be licensed in the State of Wisconsin, you must still complete the steps below for DPI to issue you a license.

Before you can apply for your license through ELO, you will need to obtain a WAMS ID. DPI has provided a Guide to Creating a WAMS ID. When creating this ID, use an email address that you will be using for some time since DPI will use that email address to contact you in the future. Remember that your UW-Madison email address will be deactivated shortly after graduation.

Once you have your WAMS ID, you can access the ELO system. Check the relevant application tips on the ELO launch page and the List of Supplementary Forms to see if you need any items to complete your application. Once you have all the necessary information available, you may begin your application by clicking on the ELO launch page link above.

If you are applying for your first license in a given subject or position, choose the “Initial License” application, even if you have been licensed in Wisconsin before in another subject or position. Once you have entered your personal information and the information for your program at UW-Madison, the system should display the licenses for which you have been endorsed. If you do not see all the correct licenses at this point, DO NOT CONTINUE. Save what you have done and contact Mitchell Patton at Education Academic Services to get the information corrected.

Once you begin the conduct and competency section of the application you must complete it before you exit the system. DPI estimates that the total time to complete an application in the system will be less than 40 minutes.

Pre-Approval & Program Verification Letters

You can receive a pre-approval letter once you have enrolled in coursework that will complete the requirements for a licensing program. This letter states that you are currently finishing up the course requirements of your licensing program; it can be used in your job search until your license is processed. If you would like to receive a pre-approval letter, please complete the Pre-Approval Letter Request online.

Program verification letters can only be issued once all requirements have been completed and your information has been submitted to DPI for licensure. Follow the Pre-Approval Letter Request link above if you need a verification letter while your license is being processed by DPI.

Applying for a license in another state

If you are planning to apply for a license in a state other than Wisconsin, you will need to check the application requirements of that state. The University of Kentucky has a website that provides links to teacher licensing agencies in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Most states have a verification form that needs to be signed by a UW-Madison certification officer. This form verifies that you have completed a state-approved licensure program. These forms should be sent to the Teacher Education Center (TEC) to be completed. Send form via email to: tec@education.wisc.edu. Please fill out all demographic information prior to sending the form to the Teacher Education Center. If the form requests information about your practicum and student teaching assignments (names of schools, grade levels, dates, etc.), please complete this information before sending the form to the Teacher Education Center.

We highly recommend you get your Wisconsin teaching license even if you plan to teach in another state.