In order to become certified in Illinois, individuals must complete a state approved certificate preparation program (or hold a valid and comparable out-of-state certificate), meet all coursework and testing requirements, and meet all other requirements detailed in Illinois statute and rules.
Individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have related work experience may be interested in one of Illinois’ Alternate Certification Programs. Candidates in an alternative certification program can earn teaching license while working as a full-time, paid teacher in an Illinois classroom if they:
- complete one semester of coursework prior to entering the classroom
- pass the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency
- pass the content knowledge test relevant to their area of certification.
Candidates who meet these requirements earn a teaching license with stipulations and are deemed highly qualified under Illinois law. This allows schools to hire candidates on a license with stipulations and pay them as full-time teacher.
Qualified candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or the verified overseas equivalent.
In general, alternative certification programs may prepare teachers in any area. However, for the most part they are used to meet the need for more teachers in shortage areas like:
- special education
- bilingual education
- high school math, and
- high school science.
Alternative certification programs are offered by a number of providers. We recommend the programs offered by National Louis University through the National Teacher Education Center (NTEC).