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Become a Teacher in Illinois
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Teaching in Illinois Snapshot
All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statisticspupil expenditure information was provided by Governing
Explore Featured Degree Options in Education
|University Name||Type of Program||Learn More||Program Description|
|University of Southern California||Master of Arts in Teaching||Learn more about USC Rossier||The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.|
|Fordham University||Master of Science in Teaching||Learn more from Fordham University||Fordham University’s online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.|
|Vanderbilt University||Master of Education in School Counseling||Learn more about Vanderbilt Peabody||Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.|
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Illinois
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. (Last update: 02/05/2019)
Prerequisite Coursework in Illinois
All states require that prospective teachers have at least a Bachelor’s Degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program to receive certification. Some states also have specific course and credit-hour requirements.
Teacher education programs generally consist of two elements—curricula and fieldwork. Curricula generally includes instruction on teaching fundamental skills, pedagogy (the science of teaching) and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. Fieldwork often includes field observations, internships, student teaching or a combination of all three. Check with your teacher preparation program or the Illinois Department of Education for more information about specific requirements.
Illinois Teacher Certification Programs
Teacher Certification Programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in Illinois can be found on the Illinois Department of Education website.
Required Tests for Illinois
Illinois uses its own specialized testing system and requires the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) Test of Academic Proficiency, as well as the ILTS Content-Area Test in your desired subject.
You can learn more about teacher certification exams by visiting Teach.com's teacher certification tests page.
Initial Teaching Certifications
To earn your Illinois teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. Illinois has three levels of certification: Initial (4 years), Standard (5 years, renewable) and Master (10 years, renewable). Learn more about getting your teaching credential by visiting the Illinois Board of Education Educator Licensure page.
Learn more about getting your teaching credential on Teach.com.
Discover an 8-week Online Teaching Short Course from Harvard's Bok Center
Earn recognition of your ability to develop and deliver a memorable teaching experience when you receive a premier certificate from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX, upon successful course completion.
Alternative Certification in Illinois
Illinois has a variety of Alternate Teaching Certification programs. The Alternative Teacher Certification programs consist of a one-year intensive course, followed by a year of full-time teaching and mentoring ending with a comprehensive assessment.
There is also the Resident Teacher Certification, which allows a teacher to work in a public school while completing a Master’s in Education or a Master of the Arts in Teaching program. Candidates for Resident Teacher Certification must pass the ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency and complete a six-week intensive teacher preparation course. Learn more about alternative certification options by visiting the Illinois Board of Education website.
Illinois Troops to Teachers Program
The Troops to Teachers program helps members of the military transition to a teaching career. In order to participate, you must have or earn a four-year college degree. Participants can receive a stipend to cover certification expenses if they teach in a high-needs school or in a district where a high percentage of students of students live below the poverty level.
Illinois Teacher Certification Information & Links
Transferring Your Certification
Certification Reciprocity in Illinois
Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in Illinois, or for more specific questions about your situation, contact the Illinois State Board of Education.
To find out what other state teaching licenses can be used in Illinois, check out our Teacher Certification Reciprocity page on Teach.com.
Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in Illinois
Illinois Teaching Jobs
The Recruitment section of Teach In Illinois website compiles job postings and teaching job initiatives, such as the Troops to Teachers program for returning military personnel.
Learn more about finding a teaching job on Teach.com.
Illinois Teacher Salary and Incentives
According to National Center for Education Statistics, the average teacher in Illinois makes $61,602 per year, which is 132% of the state average income, making it one of the highest paying states for teachers. Teachers in Illinois can earn $26,768-57,905 as a beginning Bachelor’s holding salary, and up to $142,625 for the highest level of degree and experience. Look at the 2017-2018 Illinois Teacher Salary Study to find out more.
Illinois also offers loan forgiveness as an incentive to teach in high demand school district, like Chicago’s public schools.
Learn more about teacher salaries on Teach.com.
Illinois Teacher Benefits and Retirement
The Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) for Illinois aims to provide its members with assistance in managing their retirement funds, as well as additional benefits that depend on county and school districts. Teachers who began participating in the TRS before 2011 can retire at age 55 with a minimum of 35 years of service, and at 62 with a minimum of five years of service. Those who began on or after January 1, 2011, must have reached 67 years of age and completed at least 10 years of service to retire with full benefits.
Learn more about benefits for teachers on Teach.com.
Illinois Teacher Shortage Areas
The United States Department of Education defines a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) as a subject matter or grade level within a state in which there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary teachers. The shortage may be caused by teaching positions that are unfilled or are filled by teachers who have temporary certification or teach in in academic subject other than their area of preparation. According to a report by the USDE Office of Postsecondary Education, Illinois has the following Teacher Shortage Areas:
- Bilingual Education
- English as a Second Language
- Social/Emotional Disorders
- Speech/Language Impaired
Financial Aid in Illinois
Illinois residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship, as well as the TEACH Grant, which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.
Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree on Teach.com.
Professional Development for Illinois Teachers
Illinois requires teachers to complete either 12 semester hours of graduate coursework or 60 Professional Development Units to move from an Initial to a Standard certificate, and 8 semester hours or a certain number of Professional Development Units in various areas for renewal of a Standard or Master certificate. Learn more about professional development for teachers by visiting the Illinois Board of Education Educator Licensure page.
Benefits of a Master's Degree in Illinois
It is no longer enough to just have years of experience for teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on their results in the classroom. A master's degree in the field of education can give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After a Master’s program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay.
Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on Teach.com.
Explore Featured Program Options in Education
|University Name||Type of Program||Program Description|
|University of Southern California||Master of Arts in Teaching||The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.|
|Fordham University||Master of Science in Teaching||The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.|
|Harvard University's Bok Center||Advanced Certification in Teaching||The 8-week Teaching and Learning Strategies for Higher Education online short course is delivered by Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX. Students in this course will engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective teaching methods in the higher education context, while refining their own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy.|
|Vanderbilt University||Master of Education in School Counseling||Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.|