Teacher Certification Made Simple!

Become a Teacher
in Illinois
Illinois Teacher Certification

This page is sponsored by Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in Illinois.

 

To become a certified teacher in Illinois, you will need to fulfill all prerequisite coursework, teacher preparation, and testing requirements.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating the site with new information on a regular basis. To stay up-to-date with the latest in teacher certification, please complete the form in the right sidebar.

Certification Requirements

To become a licensed educator in the state of Illinois, all prospective teachers must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program (or possess a comparable out-of-state certificate) complete all appropriate coursework and meet testing requirements. Illinois’ Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) is an online portal available for prospective and current educators to apply, register and review their teaching credential information.

Illinois Teacher Prerequisite Coursework

To qualify for Illinois teacher certification you must, at a minimum, have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Here are Illinois’ undergraduate prerequisites for some of the most popular specialty areas:

  • Elementary Education:Certificates are not usually endorsed at the primary level, since teaching at that level in most subjects requires only an appropriate certificate and formal training in the subjects taught. However, there are some subjects that require 18 hours, or more, to teach at the middle grades and primary level. Although teachers with middle grades endorsements are automatically qualified in those subjects at the primary level, it is possible a teacher who has the content hours required may wish to have the endorsement at the primary level because they do not have the necessary middle grades pedagogy courses required for a middle grades endorsement. The primary level is K-4 for elementary certificates and K-3 for early childhood certificates. Illinois therefore will issue primary level endorsements in the following subjects when the applicant does not have the required middle grades pedagogy coursework: English as a Second Language, Bilingual Education, Reading Teacher, Media, Library Information Specialist, and Technology Specialist. Except for the middle grades pedagogy courses, the requirements in the content area are identical with those for the middle grades for each subject.
  • Secondary English/Language Arts:A major in the content area indicated on the transcript or 32 semester hours in the content area; OR 24 semester hours in content courses completed at one or more institutions and passing the relevant content area test. If a person seeks an endorsement in a subject where there is no content test, the default requirement is a major or 32 semester hours of content.
  • Secondary Mathematics:A major in the content area indicated on the transcript or 32 semester hours in the content area; OR 24 semester hours in content courses completed at one or more institutions and passing the relevant content area test. If a person seeks an endorsement in a subject where there is no content test, the default requirement is a major or 32 semester hours of content.
  • Secondary History/Social Science:A major in the content area indicated on the transcript or 32 semester hours in the content area; OR 24 semester hours in content courses completed at one or more institutions and passing the relevant content area test. If a person seeks an endorsement in a subject where there is no content test, the default requirement is a major or 32 semester hours of content.
  • Secondary Science:A major in the content area indicated on the transcript or 32 semester hours in the content area; OR 24 semester hours in content courses completed at one or more institutions and passing the relevant content area test. If a person seeks an endorsement in a subject where there is no content test, the default requirement is a major or 32 semester hours of content.

Illinois Teacher Preparation

How to Become a Teacher in Illinois
The Illinois State Board of Education requires prospective teachers to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Click here for information about earning your alternative teacher certification in Illinois.

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers exclusive to the State of Illinois, visit our Illinois Teacher Scholarship page.

Illinois Required Tests

In order to become a certified teacher in the state of Illinois, teaching candidates must pass a Basic Skills Assessment and Content Area test(s). Under the Illinois State Board of Education, all teaching candidates must complete the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) Basic Skills Assessment, ICTS Content Area test(s) and Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) tests.

  • Basic Skills Assessment: The ICTS Basic Skills Assessment measures teaching candidates’ fundamental skills in the areas of reading comprehension, writing and language arts. This content is based on appropriate expectations for students in teacher preparation programs and for teaching in the state of Illinois.
  • Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT): APT tests measure teaching candidates’ knowledge and skills on both a professional and pedagogical level, depending on their level of certification. The four offered APT tests are Birth-Grade 3, Grades K-9, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-12.
  • Content Area Tests The ICTS Content Area tests are designed to measure teaching candidates’ knowledge of specific content area(s), depending on their desired level of certification. Visit ILTS’s Test Selection for a list of all available Content Area tests.

Illinois Certification Reciprocity

Illinois will accept some teaching credentials from the following states. Contact the Illinois State Board of Education to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

 

Alabama Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida
Georgia Hawaii Idaho Indiana
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine
Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi
Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada
New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York
North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma
Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah
Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia
Wisconsin Wyoming

 

Illinois Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: Illinois offers loan forgiveness for teachers teaching in high needs schools but offers no support for teachers teaching in shortage subject areas
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: Illinois has no induction policies in place
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: The average elementary school teacher in Illinois makes $59,460
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: The average secondary teacher in Illinois makes $67,110
  • Teacher Salary vs. State Average Salary: The average teacher in Illinois makes 147% of the salary of the average worker in Illinois
  • Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: The average teacher in Illinois receives 15 weeks of vacation per year

Applying for Certification

Fingerprinting

The Illinois State Board of Education requires all applicants to undergo a criminal history records information check (CHRI) prior to employment. These fingerprint-based background checks are administered through each individual school district. A complete CHRI involves the following:

  • Fingerprint-based CHRI checks through both the Illinois State Police and the FBI
  • Check of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry
  • Check of the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry

Illinois Teaching Vacancies: How to Apply Online

IASA Online: Illinois Education Job Bank

The Illinois Education Job Bank, provided by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), is an online database that provides Illinois educators with access to teaching vacancies throughout Illinois public schools. After registering for a JobSeeker account, applicants are able to view teaching vacancies and apply online.

K-12 JobSpot: Illinois Teaching Jobs

Illinois’ JobSpot is another online database that provides teaching candidates with access to teaching vacancies in Illinois. By registering for a JobSpot account, applicants are able to create a profile, upload credentials and view open teaching positions. Applicants are also able to register by linking their Facebook and/or LinkedIn accounts for easier access.

Illinois Substitute Teacher Requirements

Please click here to learn more about how to become a substitute teacher in Illinois.

Contact Information

Illinois State Board of Education

Teacher Certification Office

100 North 1st Street

Springfield, Illinois 62777

(217) 557-6763 – Contact

Additional links

 

 

Chicago Public School System

Chicago, Illinois is one of the most populated cities in the United States, and is home to the third-largest school district in the country. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are separate from the Illinois Public School System, but both accept the same teaching credentials and have the same licensure requirements for prospective educators.

The Chicago Board of Education offers prospective teachers additional opportunities while searching for an appropriate teacher preparation program, including alternative certification programs and high-needs teaching incentives.

Contact Information

Chicago Board of Education

125 South Clark Street

Chicago, Illinois 60603

(773) 553-1600 – Contact

Chicago Public Schools: (773) 553-1000

Teaching Opportunities in Chicago: Apply Online

The Chicago Public School System provides certified teaching candidates with HR4U, an online database that allows certified teachers to register online for available teaching vacancies throughout Chicago’s 600+ public schools. After registering for an account, applicants are able to search for open positions, such as substitute teaching, teacher’s assistant and special education opportunities.