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Wisconsin Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has made a major commitment to improving their educational standards to close achievement gaps, and they have made a commitment to arts education in general as part of this process. State statutes require that a licensed art teacher provide art instruction to all students in kindergarten through grades 7, in order to foster engagement and creative expression.

To become an art teacher in Wisconsin, follow these steps:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Apply for Certification
Upgrade and Maintain your Wisconsin Teaching License

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program

A bachelor’s degree is required for all Wisconsin teaching licenses, as is the completion of an approved teacher preparation program at a Wisconsin college or university. Unlike other states, Wisconsin emphasizes that those who wish to teach within the state ideally receive their training in-state, because state-approved teacher training programs are specially designed with classes that meet state regulatory requirements.

Over 20 Wisconsin colleges and universities are state-approved to offer education programs that include an Art Teacher specialization. A list may be downloaded from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction here. A list of contacts for all public institutes of higher learning in Wisconsin with state-approved teacher prep programs can be found here, while a list of private institutions in the same category is here.

Prospective art teachers generally major or minor in Art, and classes will include the history and techniques of art in a variety of media and historical periods, as well as classes on the theoretical principles and practicalities of arts education. General teacher prep curriculum will vary depending on the age group the applicant wishes to teach, but classes on the art, science, and principles of teaching, educational technology, and learning how to foster educational inquiry are common.

Wisconsin state regulations also require that future teachers successfully complete classes on American Indian Studies, American Indian Social Justice, Wisconsin American Indian History, and Conflict Resolution. A documented pre-student teaching clinical teaching experience and student teaching requirement of 14 credits is also necessary as part of the teacher prep training programs, as is the submission of a portfolio documenting competency in the ten Wisconsin Teacher Standards.

In Wisconsin, most testing requirements are taken as part of a teacher prep program. All students applying to teacher prep programs must pass a basic skills test. This may be the ACT, SAT, or Praxis Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, which assesses whether applicants have these basic skills necessary to be successful in their program. Required passing scores on the PPST are as follows:

  • PPST Reading (#0710 or 5710)175
  • PPST Writing (#0720 or 5720)174
  • PPST Mathematics (#0730 or 5730)173

Prospective art teachers must also complete a content area test, the Praxis II. In Wisconsin, the relevant Praxis II test for Art Teachers is the Art: Content Knowledge test (5134), a two-hour exam that measures basic knowledge of art-making and the historical and theoretical foundations of art in the Western context and beyond.

Starting in January 2014, any elementary school art teachers must also pass the Foundations of Reading Test, a computer-based four-hour test that includes multiple choice questions and a written component.

 


 

Step 2: Apply for Certification

After completing a state-approved educator preparation program, prospective teachers must apply for an Initial License in the age group they wish to teach. The Initial Educator License is issued for five years. Application is via the Educator Licensing Online (ELO) system, which streamlines and tracks applications and all necessary documents. Detailed information about how to apply for an initial license online can be found here. Background checks are required, and fingerprinting may be required in certain situations. The application processing fee is $100, payable by credit card only.

Before applying for an Initial License, applicants must have their teacher prep programs submit endorsements to the department of Public Instruction. This is known as Endorsed Candidates for Licensure (ECL) data, and is required to complete online license application.

Because the Wisconsin teacher prep programs are specifically tailored to meet state requirements, those who study out of state usually won’t have fulfilled all legal requirements for a Wisconsin educator license. If applicants otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for a Wisconsin license, they may apply for a “license with stipulations.” Information on the various options for out-of-state applicants seeking an Initial License can be found here.

All art teachers in Wisconsin are required to have an art teacher certificate, or 550 license, which is available in the Early Childhood through Adolescence age groups. State guidelines require art teachers to demonstrate knowledge and skill in basic concepts of studio art and design arts foundation, art and design history, aesthetic theory, art and design criticism, critical methodologies of art, the cultural bases of art, the psychology of art (as it applies to gifted and special needs children) and more. Application is through the online ELO system.

 


 

Step 3. Upgrade and Maintain your Wisconsin Teaching License

Wisconsin art teachers can apply to advance their license from Initial Educator level to the Professional Educator level. (Licenses that expired two or more years ago will need to be reactivated before this can be done.) Applicants for a Professional Educator License are required to have three years of successful teaching experience and complete a Professional Development Plan (PDP), or have five years of out-of-state experience.

The Professional Development Plan (PDP) is based on planned, sustained, goal-oriented professional growth and evidence of the impact of that growth on student learning. Completion of a PDP must be verified by a specially-trained PDP review team of 3 members, which includes a peer (a teacher of the same subject or level), an administrator, and one representative from an institution of higher education. Verification must be submitted online. Detailed information on completing a PDP can be found here and in the Initial Educator PDP Toolkit.

To apply for the Professional Educator License, applicants must do the following:

  • Successfully onboard into the ELO system.
  • Determine whether they need to become fingerprinted.
  • Make sure their PDP Review Team has verified their PDP, and electronically submitted PDP verification to DPI.
  • Be prepared to upload a signed PI-1613 Experience Verification form to confirm completion of at least three years of successful teaching.
  • Apply to advance their license.

The application processing fee is $100, payable by credit card only.

Educators who hold Initial Educator License with Stipulations must remove all stipulations and complete a Professional Development Plan in order to advance to the Professional Educator License level.

The Professional Educator License may be renewed every five years, with successful completion of another PDP. Teachers can also apply for the Master Educator License, an optional, ten-year license available to educators who successfully complete National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification or the Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process. Teachers who complete the rigorous National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification receive grants as long as they remain teaching. A list of Wisconsin National Board Certified Teachers available for consultation, including Art teachers, is available here.

 



 


Wisconsin Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Wi
sconsin (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $33,546, lower than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title Employment Mean Annual Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 26,280 Data not available
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 10,620 54,270
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 17,000 54,980

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below (note that not all areas track salaries for all locations):

Occupation Title Employment Mean Annual Salary
Appleton, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,150 56,980
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Data not available 55,020
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 770 55,760
 

 

Eau Claire, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 770 52,260
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 280 50,280
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 440 53,320
 

 

Fond du Lac, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 250 55,990
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Not available 58,360
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 350 53,930
 

 

Green Bay, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,230 53,450
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,080 55,470
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,040 51,110
 

 

Janesville, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education Not available 53,450
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 680 55,890
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 250 55,470
 

 

La Crosse, WI-MN
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 630 50,580
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education Not available 55,000
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 480 54,040
 

 

Madison, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 2,760 52,050
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 540 49,800
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,190 57,140
 

 

Oshkosh-Neenah, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 460 58,030
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 430 52,070
 

 

Racine, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 810 57,050
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 270 50,510
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 930 50,120
 

 

Sheboygan, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 580 52,920
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 230 49,730
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 440 62,120
 

 

Wausau, WI
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 580 61,950
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 140 56,110
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 270 57,180

Salary schedules vary by district. Teacher Average Salary Reports for each district are collected by the state education department and published here.

Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries throughout Wisconsin and related areas can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Eau Claire WI
70
54430
Madison WI
190
69020
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis WI
810
52920
Eastern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area
110
52550
West Central Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area
90
52920

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