Illinois Preschool Assistant Teacher Requirements

A preschool assistant teacher helps licensed teachers during class. Learn more about what is needed to become licensed as an assistant teacher in Illinois, such as degree and exam requirements. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Illinois Preschool Teacher Assistant Career Information

Preschool teacher assistants work in a preschool classroom with licensed teachers in order to provide additional resources to students. This can include working one-on-one with students, reinforcing classroom rules, completing administrative tasks, and helping with lesson preparation. Those interested in becoming a preschool teacher assistant in Illinois must complete the requirements needed for the Paraprofessional Educator License. Read the information below to find out more specific information about the requirements.

Age Requirement 19 years or older
Education Required Either a high school diploma/GED and qualifying test scores, 60 semester hours of coursework, or associate's degree
Exams Required ETS ParaPro or ACT WorkKeys exam for those with a high school diploma/GED
License Renewal Period Five years
Mean Salary (2018)* $27,710 (teacher assistants in Illinois)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (teacher assistants nationwide)

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

Meet Education Requirements

Those interested in becoming a preschool teacher assistant in Illinois must be at least 19 years old and apply for a Paraprofessional Educator License. There are three possible ways to complete the education requirement for this particular license: obtain a high school diploma or equivalent, complete 60 hours of college-level coursework, or earn an associate's degree. Those who complete the 60 hours of coursework or an associate's degree program are exempt from the required exams.

An associate's degree is a two-year degree program that includes general education courses, such as English, and coursework in a specific concentration chosen by the student. Those who complete this program do not need to have an education concentration; however, it may be helpful to take courses in early childhood education. Possible course topics could include child development, educational psychology, and teaching diverse populations.

Complete Required Exams

Prospective teachers with a high school diploma/GED must take and pass one of the following exams: the ETS ParaPro or ACT WorkKeys. The ETS ParaPro exam tests the applicant's skill level in writing, mathematics, and reading, and how they apply these skills in the classroom. The exam is made up of 90 multiple-choice questions and has a minimum passing score of 460.

The ACT WorkKeys exam contains several subtopic exams that test an applicant's skills in the educational workplace. Applicants must receive at least a score of 4 on the Reading for Information/Workplace Documents and the Applied Mathematics assessments to meet this requirement.

Send in Application

Prospective preschool teacher assistants can apply for their license once they complete the education requirements and pass the exam, if necessary. Applicants can apply by submitting their information to the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS), including the completed application form and fee. They must also send an official school transcript, either in a sealed envelope form the school or directly from their program.

Meet Renewal Requirements

After the application has been approved, the Paraprofessional Educator License is valid for five years. To renew the license, preschool teacher assistants must send in their registration fee. They do not need to complete professional continuing education hours to renew their license.

Teacher assistants with a paraprofessional license who complete a bachelor's degree are also qualified to substitute teach.

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