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Illinois Alternative Certification Programs

Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in any field can become a teacher through one of the alternative certification programs in Illinois. These programs allow individuals to become a teacher without having to spend four years pursing a bachelor’s degree in education.

Program Name: Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL)

Program Mission and Overview

The AUSL is a nonprofit organization that was created to help students succeed in high-needs schools in the Chicago area. This 12-month intensive program works with 29 public schools in Chicago and has created more than 650 new teachers since the organization began offering an alternative certification program in 2001.

AUSL recognizes the difficulties teachers often face in high-needs schools and fully prepares teachers to handle the rigors and challenges of these urban school environments. Through preparation and mentoring, teachers are prepared to enter the field and help struggling schools survive and thrive.

During the program, candidates complete university coursework through the summer, teach under a mentor during the school year and attend professional development sessions in the summer.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have completed at least 60 hours of coursework
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Pass the Illinois teacher certification test or show proof of a test date
  • Complete course credits that follow Illinois’ content requirements for the desired grade level

Applicants have several deadlines from which to choose:

  • Early application – November 1
  • Priority application – December 15
  • Regular application – February 15
  • Late application – April 1
  • Emergency application – May 1

Candidates may find application instructions here.

Financial Information

  • Tuition varies per school year, and is available at a discounted rate of approximately 50 percent for ASUL students
  • Accepted participants receive a salary of $30,000 for the year. Those who choose to teach secondary or middle school math are eligible for a salary of $40,000
  • All residents who complete their first year receive the AmeriCorps Education Award in the amount of $2,775. Math teachers with a higher salary are not eligible for this award
  • Many students use federal and private student loans, TEACH grants and other forms of financial aid to meet their financial obligations
  • Federal student loan money may be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program

Program Name: Alternative Teacher Certification

Program Mission and Overview

In the Alternative Teacher Certification program, prospective teachers are required to complete standard coursework and gain practical experience in the classroom. After teaching for four years, candidates may apply for a Standard Teaching Certificate. This program is limited to 260 participants and is operated by nonprofit organizations and institutions that offer undergraduate and master’s courses in teaching.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Have at least five years of work experience in their field. Work experience is not required for licenses that restrict teachers to positions in Chicago schools
  • Pass the Illinois basic skills and content area tests
  • Candidates can find more information on finding an approved institution and applying at http://www.isbe.net/licensure/pdf/enrolling.pdf

Financial Information

  • Costs for this program vary depending on the institution candidates choose to attend
  • Scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans can be used to fund these programs

Program Name: Alternative Route to Teacher Certification

Program Mission and Overview

  • This program is designed to provide a greater number of individuals who already have bachelor’s degrees with a method to gain teaching certification
  • Candidates work with a recognized institution, which may work in conjunction with a nonprofit organization, to provide prospective teachers with hands-on teaching experience and an intensive curriculum that covers education theory and instructional methods
  • Teachers spend a year in the classroom working under a mentor to work toward long-term certification
  • The non-renewable initial certification is valid for four years, after which candidates can apply for the Standard Teaching Certification

Eligibility and How to Apply
Interested candidates must:

    • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution

Have five years of employment experience in their chosen field

  • Pass the Illinois basic skills and content area tests
  • Obtain a full-time teaching position

Candidates can find more information about prospective institutions and application processes on the ISBE website.

Financial Information

  • Each institution sets its own tuition and fees associated with this program.
  • Candidates may apply for financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans.

Program Name: Resident Teacher Certification

Program Mission and Overview

The Resident Teacher Certification program provides an initial teaching certificate across two academic years and three summers. The certification is valid for four years, after which candidates can apply for Standard Teaching Certification.

Candidates complete required graduate-level coursework and work as a teacher under the direction of a mentor.

Eligibility and How to Apply

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Provide proof of five years of work experience in their chosen subject area. Candidates may be exempt from this requirement if they complete a one-year internship teacher preparation program.
  • Pass the Illinois basic skills and content area tests.
  • Complete a six-week summer teacher preparation course.
  • Enroll in an approved Master’s of Education program.

 

Candidates may find a list of approved institutions on the ISBE website. Each institution has its own application process.

Financial Information

Candidates are responsible for paying all tuition and fees set by the institution they choose to attend. Individuals may apply for scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans as methods of paying these costs.


Click here to learn more about how to become a teacher in Illinois

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