Alternative Teacher Certification Programs in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, persons who are interested in teaching but do not have a degree in education are able to acquire licensure by enrolling in the alternative educator program that is provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

An Overview of the Illinois Alternative Teacher Program in Illinois

The Illinois State Board of Education provides one alternative route to educator licensure. The interested candidate must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to qualify for this program. The general requirements for the alternative educator program are summarized in the table below.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA
Exam Requirements TAP
edTPA
Content area assessment
Certification Renewal Period Five years
Requirements for Renewal 120 professional development hours
Average Salary (2018) $31,500 (preschool teachers in IL)
$55,660 (kindergarten teachers in IL)
$62,140 (elementary teachers in IL)
$63,860 (middle school in teachers in IL)
$72,370 (high school teachers in IL)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (preschool teachers nationally)
7% (kindergarten and elementary teachers nationally)
8% ( middle school and high school teachers nationally)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Academic Requirements

Persons who are interested in the alternative educator program must have a bachelor's degree at a minimum. This degree must have been earned at an accredited college or university. The applicant will be expected to present proof of this academic achievement to the Illinois State Board of Education when applying.

Exam Requirements

The applicant will need to pass the basic skills assessment before being accepted into the alternative educator program which assesses the candidate's proficiency in Reading, Writing, Mathematics and Language Arts. The applicant will also need to pass a content area assessment if they are interested in a specific subject area or grade level. For example, there are content assessments for Early Childhood Education, Health Education, Mathematics and Technology Education. Once in the alternative educator program, the applicant will need to pass the edTPA performance-based assessment. The exams are offered by Pearson Education and candidates can register online, at which point they will be advised of the test dates and approved testing centers.

Alternative Route Application Process and Information

Once the candidate has passed the basic skills and content area assessments, they can contact the Illinois State Board of Education and apply for the alternative educator program. Once accepted the educator will undergo a rigorous summer-long program focused on pedagogical coursework. Performing successfully in this course earns the applicant the Educator Licensure with Stipulations endorsed for Alternative Educator - ELS(APE) and entrance into a two-year residency. The applicant will have a mentor teacher for the entire residency but must perform well in the first year in order to be recommended for the second year. The candidate must pass the edTPA assessment in the first semester of the second residency year and complete the residency successfully so their ELS (APE) can be converted to a Professional Educator License (PEL) via entitlement.

Alternative License Program Information

The Illinois State Board of Education keeps a list of approved institutions that offer alternative license programs on their website. These institutions would be instrumental in providing the required training. Currently, the list is comprised of:

  • Dominican University - offers Alternative Early Childhood Education, Alternative Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBSI) and Alternative Middle Grades - Science among others.
  • National Louis University - offers Alternative Early Childhood Education, Alternative Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) and Alternative Elementary Education.
  • Relay Graduate School of Education - offers Alternative Middle Grades - Language Arts, Alternative Secondary - Social Science-History and Alternative Elementary Education (1-6) among others.
  • Erikson Institute - offers Alternative Early Childhood Education (B-2) (Graduate)
  • Saint Xavier University - offers Alternative Elementary Education (1-6) (Graduate) and Alternative Middle-Grade Education (5-8) (Graduate)

License Information

Once the educator earns the Professional Educator License (PEL) with entitlement, they can renew it every five years. This license can only be renewed if the educator has completed at least 120 professional development hours during the five years the license was held.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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