How to Become an Elementary School Teacher in Illinois

Elementary school teachers in Illinois are certified to educate students in grades K-9 in general subject areas. Find out more about the requirements for this license, including tests and coursework. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Illinois Elementary School Teacher Career Information

Elementary school teachers provide young students with a well-rounded general education and a solid foundation for more advanced classes. Read below to find out more about the requirements to obtain a professional educator license in elementary education in Illinois.

Education Required Bachelor's degree in elementary or middle grades education from a state-approved program; approved coursework in four different content areas
Experience Required Student teaching or equivalent
Exams Required Basic skills test; edTPA; ILTS elementary education and general middle grades content exams
License Validity Period Five years
Advancement Requirements 120 hours of professional development
Mean Salary (2018)* $62,140
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% (elementary teachers nationwide)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

An elementary school teacher typically covers reading, writing and basic mathematics, but may also teach elementary level science and social science. They design lesson plans, choose curriculum-development materials, assign homework, and prepare their students for tests. Elementary school teachers manage classrooms and implement procedures to ensure they have an inclusive classroom. They should be creative, patient, and enjoy working with children. Elementary school teacher are typically full-time during the regular school year.

Required Education and Experience

Prospective teachers who want to teach at the elementary school level must possess at least a bachelor's degree in elementary or middle grades education from an accredited college or university. The degree program typically includes coursework in psychology, elementary school teaching methods, elementary school teaching theory, and teaching elementary level reading. Students are expected to take approved courses in four content areas: reading methods, cross-categorical special education methods, reading in the content area, and ESL/bilingual methods.

Test Requirements

There are four exams required before becoming licensed as an elementary teacher. All applicants must pass a basic skills test, the edTPA teacher performance test, elementary education content test, and the general middle grades content test. Starting on July 1, 2019, applicants need to provide either ACT or SAT scores to fulfill the basic skills requirement, and those submitting ACT scores must have at least a 22, with a 6 in writing, while those submitting SAT scores must have at least a 1110, with a 26 in writing. Applicants must receive a minimum score of 39 in most elementary categories on the edTPA test.

Prospective elementary school teachers are required to take the ILTS elementary school and general middle grades tests. This elementary education test covers grades 1-6 and includes four subtests: Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Science/Social Science, and Fine Arts, Physical Development, and Health. Test-takers must receive a 240 on each subtest to pass. The middle grades test covers methods specific to grades 5-8 and requires a score of 240 to pass.

Requirements for Renewal

The professional educator license in elementary education covers self-contained general education in grades K-9 and is valid for five years. To maintain their license, teachers must complete at least 120 hours of professional development. The Department of Education provides teachers with a list of approved professional development providers.

Salary and Job Outlook

The median 2018 salary for elementary school teachers in Illinois is $62,140, according to BLS. The job outlook for this career is expected to rise 7% nationwide from 2016 to 2026. The expected rise in student enrollment in elementary school may increase the demand for teachers to fill the additional classes. However, public school teaching positions may depend on government budgets.

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