Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching at Western

Teaching FAQ

How do I become certified to teach at Western?

The certification process can begin only with the approval of a Division Supervisor or Campus Supervisor. The paperwork is then sent to the District certification office for certification approval. The paperwork includes the application form, official transcripts and forms from current or previous employers verifying your paid work experience. WTCSB staff then review the district's request for your certification, and if approved, a certificate is issued to you and the district certification office. The certification office does not hold applications for any upcoming position opening. Position openings are advertised locally in the Sunday edition of The La Crosse Tribune.


Do I have to pay to be certified?

If the certification is being requested by Western, Western pays the WTCS for initial certification and certification renewal fees.

Verification of education and occupational experience for certification purposes is the responsibility of the individual seeking certification. Requests for completion of verification of occupational experience documentation are to be forwarded by the individual seeking certification, and to be returned to the Certification department in a timely manner. Should verification services be utilized by organizations in lieu of completion of the verification form, the individual seeking certification is responsible for procuring documentation. Official transcripts are required for certification and must be requested by the individual seeking certification. All payment is the responsibility of the individual seeking certification.


What is an Academic Instructor?

"Academic instructor" means a person teaching one or more courses in academic subjects such as math, social science, English, communications and science. A person must have the knowledge and skills obtained are obtained through collegiate preparation resulting in at least a baccalaureate degree. Adult Basic Education instructors are also considered academic instructors. An individual also need one year or 2,000 hours of paid work experience in any area except education.


What is an Occupational Instructor?

"Occupational Instructor" means a person employed by a district to teach one or more program courses that are vocational or technical in nature. A person must have the knowledge and skills obtained through occupation experience and academic preparation resulting in at least a baccalaureate degree or the baccalaureate equivalency. An occupational instructor must be able to verify 4,000 hours of paid work experience in the field in which he/she is hired to teach. General Studies instructors must have a Masters degree and 18 graduate credits in the field they teach.


What type of certificate do I receive when I am first hired?

This depends on if you are teaching full, part-time, or just one or two courses. Typically new employees are given a "provisional certificate." This type of certificate means you have not met all the requirements for a 5-year certificate.


What is an equivalency?

Occupational experience, combined with education and training to prepare a person for the occupation which totals seven (7) years or 14,000 hours shall be equivalent to a baccalaureate degree. Each academic credit or equivalent credit shall be equal to 110 hours of occupational experience. A master's degree equivalency consist of seven (7) years or 14,000 hours plus an earned baccalaureate degree.


How long is a certification period?

The initial certification period is for three years, thereafter, an instructor must re-certify every two years until all seven (7) requirement courses (2 credits each) have been completed. Once those requirements along two years of full-time teaching is completed the instructor is given a 5-Year certificate and renewal is every five years. Each renewal period ends August 31 of the appropriate year.


How long do I have to complete the seven (7) requirement courses?

Part-time instructors must complete one (1) of the seven requirement courses (2 credits) each certification period. Full-time instructors must complete three (3) of the seven requirement courses (six credits) each certification period. All seven courses do not have to be completed within a certification period.


What if I have already completed some of the requirement courses?

The certification office will review each transcript for possible completion of a requirement course. At the time of hire, the certification office will notify you of any requirement courses you have already satisfied, and those to be completed.


How do I complete the required courses?

Requirement courses may be completed through the proper University course, or by completing an in-service activity through Western. Instructors off-campus are on our mailing list and a copy of all university courses and Western activities are mailed to your address each semester. Instructors on-campus daily, are notified through e-mail. The cost of university courses change each year, the university will be able to give you the cost per credit, plus it will also appear on the mailing sent to your home. Western activities are at a cost of $110.00 per activity.


What is an in-service activity?

In-service activities are held each semester (Fall, Spring and Summer) and are facilitated by staff from Western. Each In-service activity will satisfy the appropriate requirement course. Most activities meet a total of four times within the semester, with additional assignments to be done by the end of that semester. A certificate of completion is given to the instructor completing the activity and each activity is for two (2) credits to be used towards the individual's certification renewal.


What is an Approval Certificate?

An approval certificate is issued only to a person already holding a provisional, part-time provisional, or 5-Year certificate. The approval certificate certifies an additional instructional area or course and only when the approval area certified equals less than one-half the instructors annual teaching assignment.


What is a Part-time Approval?

A part-time approval certificate is issued only to an occupational instructor employed part-time by the district. A part-time approval certificate is issued for a maximum of two (2) courses for a certification period.


What is a Provisional Certificate?

A Provisional Certificate is issued to a person employed by the district in a program approved by the board where the person has not met all the requirements for a 5-Year certificate.


What is a 5-Year Certificate?

A 5-year certificate is issued to a person employed by a district in a program approved by the board. An Academic instructor must have a baccalaureate degree with a major in the subject area for which certification is sought, or a baccalaureate degree with 30 semester credits in the subject area. An Occupational instructor must have a baccalaureate degree or equivalent.

An occupational instructor must have education or training preparing a person for the occupational area to be taught. Appropriate training may include vendor, manufacturer, in-service or other structured on-the-job training in the occupation.

A 5-year certificate will be issued only if the instructor has completed all seven requirement courses and two (2) years of full-time or 8 (eight) semesters of part-time instruction.

An Academic instructor must have 12 months of non-teaching experience and an occupational instructor must have 24 months of non-teaching experience.


What is Requirement #64?

Requirement 64 is professional experience needed to obtain a five-year certificate. An example would be an instructor hired by Western, this person would need two years experience as a full-time certified instructor in any recognized educational system. If an instructor had taught part-time, eight semesters of part-time teaching would be considered sufficient. This experience must be verified by a Verification of Teaching form obtained from Western.


Are there other certification types besides "Instructor"?

Yes, there are required certifications for counselors, supervisors, librarians, administrators and other specialist. These types of certifications have additional requirements.


I want to apply for a teaching job with the Department of Corrections, and the job announcement says I must be certifiable with the WTCSB. Why?

The WTCSB and the Department of Corrections have an agreement whereby employees of the Department of Corrections who provide instruction for which technical college credit may be given, and who meet the standards for certification, can receive WTCSB certification. They are subject to the same rules for initial certification and renewal of existing certification. The Department of Corrections has an Office of Education that is responsible for requesting certification through the local technical college district in which the DOC employing unit is located. Your local certification office can give you the contact name.