Guidelines for Ministry Certification
WELS Teaching Ministry Certification is intended for all teachers from kindergarten to post-secondary.
The synod’s preference is that men and women qualify themselves as school teachers by graduating from Martin Luther College (MLC). However, because not all school teachers are graduates of MLC, these certification guidelines developed by the Conference of Presidents (COP) of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod seek to establish an adequate standard of teacher training that will ensure proficiency in carrying out the aims and objectives of WELS schools. These guidelines set standards that are readily attainable by teachers who, by conviction, desire to teach in WELS schools. Finally, these guidelines also make it possible to carry out an orderly program of inservice training for teachers who are rendering a needful and valuable service in our schools but who have not yet fulfilled certification requirements.
- Certified Teacher Graduates of Martin Luther College (MLC), of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), and of other seminaries or church bodies in fellowship with the WELS become certified teachers upon recommendation for a regular call into the teaching ministry. Others who have met the requirements for certification as outlined in these guidelines are certified by action of the COP.
- Uncertified Teacher A teacher who has not met the requirements for certification as outlined in these guidelines.
- Regular Call A call which is extended to a ministry certified teacher.
- Provisional Call A call which is subject to annual renewal and is extended to a teacher who qualifies for admission into the teaching ministry certification program. Evidence of satisfactory progress toward certification is required for renewal.
- Satisfactory Progress Completing three credits of coursework per calendar year.
Requirements for Certification
1. Eligibility for Entrance
The certification program shall be open to persons who
- currently hold a call to a congregation, or
- are graduates in elementary or post-secondary education from a school other than MLC or WLS, currently hold a teaching license and
- are in fellowship with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Graduates of schools other than Martin Luther College (Studies in Educational Ministry) and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary who wish to become certified shall have the requisite academic training and shall meet the certification requirements outlined below. The courses shall be determined by the director of teaching ministry certification. Substitution of courses requires prior approval. Graduates from other colleges are required to complete a minimum of three credits of coursework through MLC. These three credits could be taken on the MLC campus, at off-campus sites, or online.
- Religion 15 semester credits in the following prescribed courses or approved substitutes
- THE1001 Biblical History & Lit I 3 cr
- THE1002 Biblical History & Lit II 3 cr
- THE2001 Biblical History & Lit III 3 cr
- THE3001 Christian Doctrine I 3 cr
- THE3002 Christian Doctrine II 3 cr
- Christian Education 3 semester credits in the following prescribed course
- EDU9540 Principles of Christian Education 3 cr
- Professional Experience
A five-week student teaching experience in a WELS school at the grade level in which you are seeking certification to be arranged on an individual basis. This experience should be pre-approved by the director of teaching ministry certification. It may take place in the teacher’s own classroom.
Congregations are encouraged to assume the cost of credits for certification of their teachers.
Procedures for Obtaining Certified Status
1. Enrollment into the Program
- Application for admission into the program shall be made to the ministry certification office, which shall be responsible for acceptance of applicants into the program.
- Applicants must submit an official transcript of credits earned at colleges other than MLC.
- Applicants who are presently teaching must submit a recent teaching evaluation from their supervisor of instruction. Applicants just graduating from college should submit a copy of their student teaching experience.
- Applicants must submit a testimonial of good moral character signed by their pastor.
2. Pursuing the Program
- Courses for certification credit may be taken through MLC’s summer session, satellite courses, and online courses.
- Certification coursework must be completed within six years after acceptance into the program.
- Those who are currently called will maintain their provisional certification by completing a minimum of three credits of coursework per year. Failure to make progress within a 2-year period will result in removal of the applicant from the teaching ministry certification program.
- Neither acceptance into the certification program nor successful completion of the requirements assures one of a call into the teaching ministry. The credentials of all such persons are given to those WELS officials who are responsible for providing congregations with lists of qualified candidates from which to call a teacher for an existing vacancy.
3. Eligibility for Certification
- A minimum grade point average of 2.00 for the three Bible courses THE1001, THE1002, and THE2001).
- A minimum grade point average of 2.00 for the two doctrine courses (THE3001 and THE3002).
- Upon an enrollee’s successful completion of this program, a recommendation for certification shall be made by MLC to the COP. If an enrollee is teaching with a provisional call at the time of completion, the enrollee’s pastor and principal must concur with the recommendation; in other cases, the enrollee’s pastor must concur.
Responsibility for Certification
The COP shall act on all recommendations for certification and shall notify all concerned of its decisions.