Wisconsin School Counselor Certification

All potential school counseling professionals are required to adhere to the Quality Educator Initiative in the state of Wisconsin.

Skip down to find information relevant to your situation:

Initial Wisconsin School Counselor Certification

Step 1: Education Requirements

Acquire a Master’s degree in the school counseling field. Some accredited, state-approved options are:

Step 2: Examination Requirements

Take the Professional School Counselor Praxis exam (5421).

  • You can find study helps and materials for this required test HERE.
  • Along with the Praxis exam, you must also show proficiency through a portfolio review. (For a comprehensive resource to help you create a stand-out portfolio, click HERE.)

Step 3: Experience Requirements

Meet Wisconsin’s experience requirements for your school counselor’s license in one of the following ways:

  • Serve in a year-long internship within a school counseling position. (Typically, this is done through your preparatory program.)
  • Complete two years as a teacher in the elementary or secondary levels. (This assumes you already have your teaching license.)
  • Work for at least two years as a school counselor. (This mostly applies to those who are out of state, applying for licensure in Wisconsin.)

Step 4: Submit to a Background Check

A background check is a standard procedure for anyone wanting to work with children in the Wisconsin public school system.

Along with your background check, you must also fill out a Conduct and Competency questionnaire. Here are some sample questions to help you prepare.

When submitting your background check, be sure to include any information about past incidents or events of misconduct that might delay your application process. This may include records of disciplinary actions, criminal reports, or police records. (If you fail to submit these reports, it could greatly delay your application process and prevent you from obtaining school counseling certification.)

Next, go through the fingerprinting process according to Wisconsin’s specific service option.

  • The state of Wisconsin uses a specific company for electronic fingerprinting called Fieldprint.
  • Please review these requirements first, before submitting your fingerprints.
  • Once you are certain of the requirements, go to fieldprint.com to schedule an appointment. There are locations all across the U.S. for your convenience. Simply search by zip code.
  • If asked for a code on the Fieldprint website, enter FPWIDPITeach. This should enable you to proceed in making a fingerprinting appointment.

Step 5: Institutional Recommendation

See that your institutional endorsement is already on file with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

  • You will need to contact your Educator Preparation Program (EPP), to ensure your institutional endorsement has been sent to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
  • Because the Department of Public Instruction does not have easy access to your institutional endorsement, you will need to provide records to prove your Endorsed Candidate for Licensure.

* Please note: This is mandatory for completing your online application.

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Sign up for an account through the Educator License Online (ELO) program and acquire a WAMS ID.

  • Because Wisconsin no longer accepts printed applications, you must go through their specified web portal to fill out and send your school counseling license application.
  • Once on the site, search for the APPLY FOR NEW LICENSE section.
  • Read carefully through each page of the application and complete every step accurately. (Don’t worry – you will have the chance to edit or change your answers before submitting.)
  • Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a confirmation email stating they received your submission. You will then be prompted to pay the application fee. (credit card or prepaid card only)

Wisconsin School Counselor Certification Renewal

Interestingly, the initial school counselor certificate in Wisconsin is only good for five years and is non-renewable. This means that all school counselors who are initially licensed in Wisconsin can only proceed in the field by obtaining a Professional School Counseling License.

Prior to the expiration date of your initial license, you must put together a Professional Development Plan, also known as a PDP. The Professional Development Plan signifies you have completed your first five years successfully and are proficient in all areas of the school counseling role. Your initial PDP will be developed through a team of people, including a school administrator approved by the school board, a representative from a state-approved graduate program, and another school counselor who is not considered a personal mentor.

Once you’ve been licensed as a Professional School Counselor in Wisconsin, you may continue renewing your school counseling license every 5 years by submitting your PDP.

For more information on this, please search the PDP site.

Wisconsin School Counselor Certification Through Reciprocity

Unfortunately, Wisconsin does not offer school counseling certification through reciprocity. However, it’s possible to qualify for certification through a select application process and/or by having your school counseling experience and credentials reviewed.

This means, if you have already completed a state-approved, accredited school counseling program and can demonstrate you’ve completed the required experience and testing, you may be eligible for certification.

To find out more about reciprocity, or any other information regarding your Wisconsin school counseling certification, please contact by mail:

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841

Or by phone and email:

Phone: 608-266-1027
licensing@dpi.wi.gov