How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Illinois: License, Requirements & Certification

Learn about how to obtain a license to substitute teach in Illinois. Read more about the requirements you need, such as education and application forms. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Illinois Substitute Teacher Career Information

Substitute teachers educate students on days when full-time classroom teachers are not available. Substitutes will go over the lessons for the day, review homework, and assist students. Licensed substitute teachers in Illinois may teach any public school grade from prekindergarten to grade 12. Read below to discover more about certification and salary figures for substitutes in Illinois.

Education/Coursework Required Bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university (full license)
Associate's degree or 60 semester hours of coursework (short-term license)
Exams Required None
License Renewal Period Five years (full license); not renewable (short-term)
Mean Salary (2018) $35,950 *
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 5.1% (teachers and instructors, all other, statewide)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Illinois Department of Employment Security

Education Requirements

Those interested in becoming a substitute teacher in Illinois must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. This degree can be in any major field.

Those with a bachelor's degree who already hold a professional educator license, an educator license with stipulations, or a paraprofessional license can substitute teach in Illinois without applying for a substitute license.

Prospective substitute teachers who have completed an associate's degree or at least 60 semester credits of coursework can apply for the short-term substitute license. This license allows you to substitute teach for no more than five consecutive days per licensed teacher. Those interested in this license must also complete a training program by the school board.

Application Requirements

To apply for either of the licenses, you must open an account and submit your application form in the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS). You'll be prompted to pay the required fee through this system. You will also need to mail in an official transcript for your degree and coursework. You will receive your license once your application has been processed. Then you'll need to pay a fee to have it registered with the Illinois State Board of Education.

Renewal Requirements

The substitute license is valid for five years. To renew the license, pay the registration fees to the Illinois State Board of Education. You do not need to complete continuing education credits to renew the substitute license.

As of May 2019, the short-term substitute license is valid until June 30, 2023. This license cannot be renewed.

Substitute Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

The 2018 mean salary for substitute teachers in Illinois was $35,950, notes BLS. This figure is slightly higher than the mean national wage for substitutes which was $32,360 in 2018. Employment in general for teachers and instructors in the state is expected to grow by 5.1% from 2016 to 2026. Substitute teacher opportunities in public schools generally depend on the budgets of the school districts.

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