Become a Teacher in Illinois


Illinois State Board of Education

100 North First Street Springfield, IL 62777

(866) 262-6663

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    Become a teacher in Illinois

        Illinois Teacher Shortage areas

            Earn Your Illinois Teaching Credential

            Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. 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 updated: 1/06/2015

            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 (five years, renewable) and Master (10 years, renewable). Learn more here about getting your Teaching Credential in Illinois.

            Learn more about getting your teaching credential.

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            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 Department of Education for more information about specific requirements.

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            Required Tests for Illinois

            Illinois uses its own specialized testing system an drequires the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) Basic Skills Test as well as the ICTS Content-Area test in your desired subject.

            You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

            Read more about teacher certification tests.

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            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 here.

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            Alternate Teacher Certification in Illinois

            Illinois has a variety of alternate teaching certification programs.  The Alternative Teacher Certification programs consists 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 will allow a teacher to work in a public school while completing a Master’s in Education of Master of the Arts in Teaching program. Candidates for Resident Teacher Certification must pass the ICTS basic skills test and complete a six-week intensive teacher preparation course. Learn more here about alternative certification options in Illinois.

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            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.

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            Benefits of a Master's in Education 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 in Teaching will 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. A Master’s degree  can pay up to  $62,262 for a teacher starting out in Illinois, which is about $11,000 more than the maximum possible beginning salary with a Bachelor’s degree. In the Chicago Public Schools, teachers holding a Master’s degree can earn about $3,500 more per year that those with a Bachelor’s degree, given equivalent levels of experience.

            Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education.

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            Master's in Education Financial Aid

            Illinois residents are eligible for the  Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a 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.

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            Illinois Teacher Salary and Incentives

            The average teacher in Illinois makes $63,285 per year, which is 147% of the state average income, making it one of the highest paying states for teachers. Teachers in Illinois can earn $23,042-$53,747 as a beginning Bachelor’s holding salary, and up to $132,375 for the highest level of degree and experience. Look at the 2010-11 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.

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            Illinois Teacher Benefits and Retirement

            The Teacher’s Retirement Systemfor Illinois aims to provide its members with assistance on managing their retirement funds, as well as additional benefits that depend on county and school district. 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 6 7 years of age and completed at least 10 years of service to retire with full benefits.

            Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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            Professional Development for Teachers in Illinois

            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. Visit the Department of Education’s Educator and School Development page for more information.

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            Illinois Teaching Jobs

            The Illinois Department of Education maintains a website that provides teachers with resources they need during and after their job search. The Illinois Educational Job Bank is the main resource of job openings for educators in Illinois. The site has a variety of filters and categories that make it easy to find the exact kind of job you’re looking for. Illinois has found a strong correlation between highly educated teachers and successful students and aims to hire as many highly educated teachers as possible.

            Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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            Illinois Teacher Certification Information & Links

            Illinois Department of Education Illinois State Board of Education – Certification page Illinois Teacher Salary Study Teacher’s Retirement System Illinois Educational Job Bank