Free Professional Development for Teachers in Illinois
Teachers in Illinois are required to fulfill a number of professional development hours to renew their teaching credentials. This article focuses on free options for earning these needed hours.
Overview of Free Professional Development Opportunities for Illinois Teachers
Illinois requires a set number of professional development hours for license renewal. There are many institutions that provide fee-based professional development courses to meet these hours. Free options can be found in the form of workshops, online courses, and webinars. Find out more details about these offerings along with certification information.
|Illinois Certification Renewal Period||5 years|
|Requirements for Renewal||120 professional development hours|
|Average Salary (2019)||$58,755 (teachers in IL)*|
|Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)||7-8% (teachers nationally)**|
Sources: *Salary.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Why Do Teachers Need Professional Development Hours?
In order to renew Illinois' standard Professional Educator License (PEL), the educator must have attained a minimum of 120 professional development hours. The Illinois State Board of Education maintains a list of approved providers of professional development, and it is required that these providers equate one clock hour of attendance with one professional development hour. The list of approved providers includes the following institutions that are located in the state of Illinois: regional offices of education, museums, community and city colleges, public school districts and state agencies. You may need to check to ensure that some of the free options below are approved by the state.
The Illinois State Board of Education sponsors annual workshops that educators can attend in order to earn their professional development hours. These workshops run throughout the year and cover topics such as lesson planning, supporting English Learners, and helping multilingual students show what they know mathematically.
Another option for some teachers may be The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center's workshops. While most of the offerings are geared towards Grade 7 teachers and upwards, they are in line with Common Core State Standards.
There may also be times when a free workshop will come up that teachers may find informative. For example, CodeHS recently offered a free in-person professional development workshop in Chicago, to help prepare teachers to run successful computer science classes.
Free Online Courses
These are ideal for educators who are unable to attend professional development workshops in person but still need to earn professional development hours. The Illinois State Board of Education has an online learning portal under the category of English Learners. This portal contains videos and training materials that educators can find helpful. Some of the topics covered are discipline for multicultural classrooms, handling homework, and teaching social studies to English learners.
Some websites may offer a variety of free webinars that are geared towards educators. These webinars cover topics such as instructional coaching and emotional learning.
The Illinois education site may also offer free webinars for teachers of English learners. For example, a free webinar series called Educator Collaboration to Support Multilingual Learner is usually held in the fall.
Certification Requirements for an Illinois Professional Educator License
In order to qualify for the standard Professional Educator License, an interested candidate must hold a bachelor's degree in an approved teacher education program that was obtained from an accredited college or university. The candidate will need to take and pass a basic skills test and the edTPA assessment. An additional content assessment depending on the grade level or subject teachers plan to teach is also necessary. All persons who wish to be educators in Illinois will need to pass a background clearance. The license is valid for five years.