How to Become a Teacher in Illinois

The Illinois education system serves more than 2 million students every year. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reports that Illinois currently employs more than 75,000 elementary school teachers and around 35,000 high school teachers. In order to become certified, teachers must complete a teacher education program from a recognized institution. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become an Illinois certified teacher.

Education Requirements

Those interested in becoming a teacher in Illinois must complete an approved teacher education program at an accredited institution. The IDES states that elementary school teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree in elementary education while high school teachers need a bachelor’s degree in a secondary subject area such as mathematics, science, or English. These programs can be completed at both campus-based and online teaching schools in Illinois. The ISBE offers a comprehensive list of approved programs on its website.

Illinois Teaching Certification

Illinois teaching certificates include Early Childhood (birth-grade 3), Elementary (K-9), Secondary (grades 6-12), Special (subject specific, K-12), and Special Education (pre-school to age 21). Specific course and credit hour requirements for each type of certification is available on the ISBE website.

Required Tests

Candidates for Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, and Special Education must complete the Illinois Licensure Testing System Basic Skills test. Candidates are also required to complete the appropriate content area test and the appropriate Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test.

State Certification Reciprocity

Out-of-state candidates for teaching certification in Illinois must hold a valid and comparable teaching certificate from another state or territory. Out-of-state candidates must also meet all Illinois coursework and testing requirements.

Helpful Resources

Augustana College

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639 38th St
Rock Island, IL 61201-2296
(309) 794-7000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors

Aurora University

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347 S Gladstone Ave
Aurora, IL 60506-4892
(630) 892-6431

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Benedictine University

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5700 College Rd
Lisle, IL 60532-0900
(630) 829-6000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors

Black Hawk College

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6600-34th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265-5899
(309) 796-5000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Blackburn College

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700 College Ave
Carlinville, IL 62626
(217) 854-3231

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors

Accrediting Agency:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Bradley University

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1501 W Bradley Ave
Peoria, IL 61625-0001
(309) 676-7611

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Carl Sandburg College

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2400 Tom L. Wilson Boulevard
Galesburg, IL 61401
(309) 344-2518

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Chicago State University

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9501 S. King Drive
Chicago, IL 60628-1598
(773) 995-2000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College

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30 E Lake St
Chicago, IL 60601-2449
(312) 553-5600

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Accrediting Agency:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College

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1145 W Wilson Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640-6063
(773) 907-4000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

College of DuPage

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425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599
(630) 942-2800

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

College of Lake County

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19351 W Washington St.
Grayslake, IL 60030-1198
(847) 543-2000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Columbia College-Chicago

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600 South Michigan
Chicago, IL 60605-1996
(312) 663-1600

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors

Accrediting Agency:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Concordia University-Chicago

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7400 Augusta
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
(708) 771-8300

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

DePaul University

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1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 362-8000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Masters

Dominican University

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7900 W Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-2490

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Eastern Illinois University

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600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-5000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Elmhurst College

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190 Prospect Ave
Elmhurst, IL 60126-3096
(630) 617-3500

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters

Governors State University

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1 University Pky
University Park, IL 60484
(708) 534-5000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Greenville College

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315 E. College Ave
Greenville, IL 62246
(618) 664-2800

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters

Accrediting Agency:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
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