10Sped FAQ's

Below are some frequently asked questions about the 10SPED program.  For other questions or concerns, please contact us here, or at 715-246-6555.

Q:   Is the 10Sped Program approved by the Department of Public Instruction?

A:   The eduCATE-WI 10Sped program is a DPI approved alternative route to special education teacher certification. Participants who complete the program will be fully licensed in Cross Categorical or Early Childhood Special Education.

Q:  Will I need to purchase any textbooks?

A:  The 10Sped program may require books to be purchased and used in class.  These books are normally for a nominal amount and are practical and relevant to the 10 Sped certification areas.

Q:   How does the 10Sped Program differ from a traditional graduate level educator  preparation program?

A:  10 Sped is an accelerated program with most participants completing in 18 months. Students are enrolled in a cohort (stay with the same classmates) for the first three semesters of program coursework. Classes are offered on weekends to accommodate busy work schedules.

Q:  What areas will I be certified in when I  complete the program?

A:  Participants can choose either Early Childhood Special Education or Cross-Categorical Special Education.

Early Childhood Special Education candidates will be certified to teach special education children birth through age 8.

Cross Categorical Special Education candidates will be certified in both Cross Categorical Special Education and one of the following concentration areas of choice:

  • Specific Learning Disabilities

  • Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities

  • Cognitive Disabilities

In addition to choosing one of the concentration areas above, Cross Categorical Special Education candidates also choose from one of the following age levels:

  • Middle Childhood through Adolescence (ages 6 through 13)

  • Early Adolescence through Adolescence (ages 10 through 21)

  • BOTH Middle Childhood through Adolescence (ages 6 through 13) AND Early Adolescence through Adolescence (ages 10 through 21)

*It is recommended that you seek more information about the concentration areas and age levels before applying so you can make an informed decision before you begin the program.  As of 2018, the newest licensure laws affecting levels and concentration areas don't go into effect until the DPI sunsets the old rules.

Q: How often does the cohort/class meet?

A: The cohort/class meets according to the calendar posted on the website.

Semester I
4 weekends of face-to-face classes held on Friday night from 6:30 pm-9:30 pm and Saturday 8:00am - 3:00pm.

Semester II
3 weekends of face-to-face classes held on Friday night from 6:30p-9:30pm and Saturday 8:00am - 3:00pm.

Semester III
3 weekends of face-to-face classes held on Friday night from 6:30p-9:30pm and Saturday 8:00am - 3:00pm.

Semester IV - Student Teaching
No class meetings face-to-face. Students will participate in an online course and student teach in a district near them.  The calendar follows the school district of placement's calendar for the semester.

Attendance is required for the above 10 weekends over the course of one calendar year.

Q: Where are classes held?

A: There are two 10 Sped cohorts.  These classes are held at a  Tech College that is centrally located and a conference center in southern Wisconsin. Refer to specific upcoming class schedule information.

Q: Can I start at any semester to take classes in order?

A: A new cohort starts every semester (January through April, May through August and September through December) so classes are always taken in order.

Q: How many graduate credits can I earn?

A: Semester I = 3 graduate credits

Semester II = 3 graduate credits

Semester III = 3  graduate credits

Semester IV - 3 graduate credits

Total = 12 graduate credits

Q: Can I get a Master's Degree?

A: The 10 Sped program partners with St. Mary's University to offer graduate credit. A candidate earns 12 graduate credits while in the 10 Sped program. St. Mary's will automatically transfer those 12 credits to the 32 credit graduate program, so a 10 Sped participant can complete the 10 Sped program for special education certification and opt to continue on to earn a Master's Degree through St. Mary's.

For more information go to: http://www.smumn.edu/academics/graduate/education/programs/m.a.-in-education-wisconsin

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Financial Aid is available for 10 Sped candidates through St. Mary's University for semesters in which credits are earned (Semesters I, II,  III and IV).  Financial aid comes in the form of a student loan; grants are not available to graduate level students.

Q: Does financial aid from St. Mary's University go directly to 10 Sped for tuition fees?

A: The 10 Sped candidate receives the financial aid check from St. Mary's and then pays eduCATE-WI with a  check or credit card to pay for tuition. Students are wholly responsible for payment of program fees whether or not they choose to access financial aid.

Q: What tests are required to become a special education teacher?

In order to obtain a teaching license in Special Education, Wisconsin DPI requires proficiency in basic skills,  content knowledge, the FORT and edTPA teaching performance.  Please review each area below to understand how proficiency can be met:

Basic Skills - Proficiency  in reading, writing, and math is demonstrated by either:

  • A 2.5 GPA or higher on your bachelor's degree; or
  • An average grade of  C or better in math and writing courses 

Content Knowledge - Students must demonstrate proficiency in content knowledge related to their certification area(s). Proficiency can be demonstrated by either:

  • 3.0 GPA or higher in language arts, math, science, and social studies courses as demonstrated on official transcripts (courses not related to these subject areas will not be considered); or
  • Praxis II - Passing scores as established by the State Superintendent on content knowledge exams for certification in Early Childhood or Cross-Categorical Special Education.

edTPA -  Teacher Performance Assessment is completed during the student teaching semester.  For more information on the edTPA test preparation click here.

Foundations of Reading Test (FORT) - Students must provide evidence of a passing score on the FORT. It is recommended that this test be taken during semester II of the program.

NOTE- If a student already holds a Wisconsin teaching license, they have already met the Basic Skills and edTPA testing requirements. (This does not include 1-year license with stipulations or an emergency license)  If a student holds a lifetime license, they will not be required to take the FORT.


 Test Name
Test Number
Passing Score
 Praxis II
5146 Middle School: Content Knowledge (for CC certification)

5018 Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (for EC certification)
CC= Cross Categorical (ages 6-21)
EC= Early Childhood (age 0-8)

 Foundations of Reading Test (FORT)
Foundations of Reading Test
edTPA                                             38                                            
Starting Fall 2016 edTPA scores are consequential

Websites for Info

Praxis II- http://www.ets.org/praxis/wi/requirements

Foundation of Reading Test (FORT)- http://www.wi.nesinc.com

edTPA -  http://www.edtpa.com/

Timeline Info

Basic Skills- Must show proficiency in Basic skills before enrolling in the 10Sped Program

Content Knowledge Proficiency/Praxis II- Must be completed before student teaching (4th semester) . It is recommended to complete during  Semester III.

Foundation of Reading Test (FORT)-  Must be completed before student teaching (4th semester). It is recommended that this is completed during Semester II.

edTPA - completed during Semester IV while student teaching.

Q: What do I need to submit to get accepted?

A: Submit the following to the 10 Sped office no later than the 1st of the month of the first semester (January 1 for January start, May 1 for May start, August 1 for September start):

  • Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree in education or a field closely related to education such as: Mental Health, Health, Social Work/Sociology, Psychology, Counseling, Nursing, Vocational Rehabilitation or others dependent upon related experience.

  • Current DPI license or permit as a teacher or a substitute teacher, or have been issued a DPI Emergency license or Permit allowing them to teach in an area of high need.

  • Applicants who do not possess any pre K-12 DPI teaching license will be expected to provide evidence of 2 or more years of related child based experiences (Head Start, Certified Day Care, At-Risk tutoring, youth counseling, Juvenile Treatment facilities or other youth-oriented vocation). A minimum of 2 years of educationally relevant experiences. Experiences in a pre K-12 setting are preferred.

  • Criminal Background Check with no conviction or plea bargain for crimes which may impact school children and/or the maintenance of a safe and healthy school.

  • Applicants are encouraged to provide as much evidence as possible to support their qualifications as potential program participants. Please provide the names of employers/supervisors who can be contacted by 10 Sped to assist in the determination of eligibility for the program.

Q: Can I student teach in the District I am working in?

A: Student teaching is a DPI requirement, so a candidate must student teach. If you are working on an emergency license in the subject area and age level you are getting certified in, student teaching can be set up on the job.  If already licensed, a determination will be made regarding the length of student teaching placement (9 weeks or 18 weeks).

Q: Can I student teach in the summer?

A: Unless the district is on a year-round calendar, student teaching is not allowed during the summer. Summer school and Extended School Year do not provide the same experiences for the 10 Sped candidate that a typical school year student teaching placement does.

Q: Can I student teach on the job while I work as an educational assistant/paraprofessional already employed in a district?

A: No. The student teaching experience assumes the candidate will experience the full range of teacher responsibilities.

Q: I have been hired to teach special education and am not yet licensed. How do I apply for an emergency license?

A: The 10 Sped candidate works with the employing district to complete the emergency license application. An administrator from the district signs the application for the emergency license and the candidate applies to DPI online .

Q: How long can I teach with an emergency license?

A: An emergency license can be renewed up to two times, for a total of three years. At that time, it is expected that the applicant will have completed a program and will apply for a regular teaching license.


Apply Now    Request More Info