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