To become a math teacher in Wisconsin, you will need to navigate these steps:
|Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching Mathematics|
|Pass the Required Exams|
|Apply for a Teaching License in Mathematics|
|Renew and Upgrade Your Wisconsin Math Teacher’s License|
This became evident last year when Wisconsin students ranked within the top-five in the nation for SAT math scores.
Each year the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction ensures that only those that meet stringent certification requirements are allowed to teach math in Wisconsin. The Department’s Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Licensing division is the agency in charge of reviewing all applications and ensuring that candidates have met the proper qualifications.
Step 1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching Mathematics
Prospective college and university students will find the most direct route to meeting the requirements for math teacher jobs in Wisconsin is through a degree in math that also includes a teaching program. There are 18 Wisconsin colleges and universities that offer approved educator preparation programs combined with a bachelor’s degree in math.
These bachelor’s degrees are designed specifically for math teachers, and will start by developing a foundational knowledge in mathematical subjects before moving on to focus more on pedagogy: Coursework in math includes:
- Probability and statistics
- Fundamental and advanced algebra
- Discrete mathematics
- Functions and number theory
- Trigonometry and geometry
The teaching program component of these bachelor degree programs will focus on the specifics of teaching math to Wisconsin’s students. The program will start by establishing a foundation of knowledge in pedagogical theory, ultimately combining this with the subject of mathematics.
As your educator preparation program nears its end you will also be assigned to a school for student teaching. For this you will be placed under the guidance and supervision of an experienced math teacher who will offer you valuable feedback and lesson planning tips.
As a condition of entry into any kind of educator preparation program you must pass the Praxis Series exams detailed in Step 2, or earn an acceptable score on the SAT, ACT, or GRE.
Alternate Routes for a Wisconsin Teaching License in Mathematics
If you already have at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, but you have not already completed an approved educator preparation program, you still have a few options for becoming certified to teach in Wisconsin:
- Complete a traditional educator preparation program via a post baccalaureate pathway
- Earn a master’s degree in education (M.A.T., M.Ed., or MATL)
- Complete an alternative pathway involving a non-traditional educator preparation program
If you are from a different state you can also be eligible for a Wisconsin teaching license in math. You will need to submit transcripts showing that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and that you have completed an alternative or traditional mathematics educator preparation program in your home state. If you have completed a non-traditional route to licensure in your home state, you will need to also have at least three years of teaching experience. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides details for either scenario:
- Out-of-state and completed a traditional educator preparation program in mathematics
- Out-of-state and completed an alternative educator preparation program in mathematics
Step 2. Pass the Required Exams
You will need to complete two tests to be eligible to become a math teacher in Wisconsin. Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers both of these exams:
- Praxis Series
- Praxis II Mathematics: Content Knowledge
The Praxis Series exams are required to ensure your basic skills in three essential subject areas are competent. This assessment is offered in three sub-sections, and you may also choose to take these all at once in a combined test:
- 75 minutes to complete 46 multiple-choice questions
- 55% – inferential and critical comprehension
- 45% – literal comprehension
- 38 minutes to complete 44 multiple-choice questions
- 30 minutes to complete 1 essay question
- 50% – essay question
- 18.5% – structural relationships
- 17% – grammatical relationships
- 14.5% – mechanics and word choice
- 75 minutes to complete 46 multiple-choice questions
- 32.5% – operations and numbers
- 25% – probability and data analysis
- 22.5% – measurement and geometry
- 20% – algebra
The math portion of the Praxis Series exams will evaluate you for a general knowledge of mathematics that teachers in all subjects must possess. The Praxis II test is specifically tailored to measure your knowledge in advanced mathematics.
You can avoid taking the Praxis Series if you have attained the following minimum scores on any of these tests:
- ACT – 23 composite score, with at least 20 on the English, math, and reading sections
- SAT – 1070 composite score, with at least 450 on the math and verbal sections
- GRE (as revised after August 11, 2011) – 298 composite score, with at least 150 on the verbal section and 145 on the math section
Praxis II Mathematics: Content Knowledge
The Praxis II Mathematics: Content Knowledge evaluates your knowledge in the field of mathematics, and is designed to ensure you are fully competent to teach this subject. You may find it helpful to consult a study guide for this test, which is comprised of 50 questions to be completed in two hours on the subjects of:
- Number theory and algebra
- Geometry, trigonometry, and measurement
- Calculus functions
- Statistics, probability, and data analysis
- Discrete mathematics
- Matrix algebra
Step 3. Apply for a Teaching License in Mathematics
Once you have completed the steps up to this point you will be ready to complete an application. The first license you will apply for is known as the Initial Educator License, and the subject of mathematics is offered at two developmental levels:
- Middle childhood to early adolescence (MC-EA)
- Early adolescence to adult (EA-A)
After you have submitted your application you can check its status online. Once you have received your license it will be valid for five years. You can search for vacant math teacher jobs in Wisconsin through the state’s Jobs website.
The three progressing levels of teaching licenses in Wisconsin are:
- Initial Educator License
- Professional Educator License
- Master Educator License
Step 4. Renew and Upgrade Your Wisconsin Math Teacher’s License
As you prepare to start in your new career as a math teacher, you should already be looking ahead to upgrading your Initial Educator License. Key to doing this is the creation of a Professional Development Plan (PDP). This is a plan you develop that will improve your math teaching and exhibit evidence of this as reflected in the performance of your students.
An important part of your PDP is a review team, composed of three of your colleagues or school officials. Your PDP review team will work with you as you develop your PDP over the following stages:
- Reflection on what you can do to improve your math teaching
- Writing this out in a developed plan as a goal
- PDP review team will approve your goal
- After a period of time, a review of your PDP to note progress
- Documentation that your goal has been achieved; at least 3-5 pieces of evidence showing that your teaching goal has had a positive impact on your students
- Final review by your PDP team
You can upgrade your Initial Educator License to a Professional Educator License once you have successfully completed your PDP. Renewing your Professional Educator License also requires the completion of another PDP for each five-year period this license is valid.
You additionally have the option of upgrading the Professional Educator License to a Master Educator License, valid for 10 years. This can be accomplished by becoming certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Also known as National Board Certification, math teachers have two options when pursuing certification through the NBPTS:
To obtain either certification you will need to go through an extensive evaluation process that involves creating a portfolio of your classroom and professional achievements and passing a series of assessments developed by the NBPTS. Your portfolio should include examples of your professional development as a math teacher as well as evidence that your students are benefiting from your instruction in the field of mathematics.
Although the NBPTS Certification costs approximately $1,900, once you are certified you may be eligible to be reimbursed this full amount. For nine of the years that you are NBPTS-certified, you are also eligible to receive yearly grants that total between $2,500 and $5,000.