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Requirements for Science Teachers in Illinois

Learn more about the requirements needed to become a science teacher in Illinois. Find out about the specific education, exams, and experience needed for a teaching license.

Illinois Science Teacher Career Information

Science teachers in Illinois educate students in a range of scientific topics. Those who teach middle school typically cover several different areas, while those who teach high school tend to focus on one area, like biology or chemistry. Continue reading to learn more about the requirements for this license.

Education Required Bachelor's degree in science education from state-approved program; approved coursework in four content areas
Experience Required Student teaching or equivalent
Exams Required Basic skills test; edTPA; ILTS subject test in at least one science field
License Renewal Period Five years
Requirements for Renewal 120 hours of professional development
Mean Salary (2018) $63,860 (middle school teachers); 72,370 (high school teachers)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 3.8% (middle school teachers); 3.8% (high school teachers)**

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

Complete Education Requirements

Those interested in becoming a science teacher in Illinois must possess at least a bachelor's degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. This requirement is generally fulfilled by obtaining a bachelor's degree in science education. Those interested in teaching middle school will complete coursework that covers several areas of science, including biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science. Those interested in teaching high school will generally choose to focus on one science subject.

Prospective teachers must complete student teaching experience, which is typically done as part of the state-approved teacher preparation program. These programs provide students with opportunities to observe experienced teachers in the classroom and to gain experience student teaching in a local school.

Fulfill Content Area Requirements

Students must also take courses that include instruction in four content areas: reading methods, cross-categorical special education methods, ESL/bilingual methods, and reading in the content area. This can generally be completed as part of the degree or teacher preparation program. The Illinois State Board of Education maintains a list of pre-approved courses that can be used to complete this requirement.

Pass Required Exams

Prospective teachers must fulfill a basic skills exam requirement with either the SAT or ACT. Passing SAT scores are 1110 or higher with a 26 on the writing section, while a passing score on the ACT is 22 with a 6 on the writing section.

Science teachers must take at least one ILTS content area test, which has a minimum passing score of 240. There is a Middle Grades (5-8) Science exam for middle school teachers or a specific content area test for high school teachers. The five science content area tests are biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and earth and space science.

Teachers must also take the edTPA exam, which is an assessment test of teacher performance. Those interested in teaching middle school science should take the Middle Childhood Science exam, and those interested in teaching high school should take the Secondary Science exam in their chosen subject. A minimum score of 39 is needed to pass any of the science exams.

Apply for the Teaching License

After all requirements have been met, applicants can submit their license application and pay the fee to the Illinois State Board of Education. As part of the application process, applicants must submit transcripts, exam scores, and proof of completing a teacher preparation program, student teaching experience, and content area coursework. Once the application is accepted, the Professional Educator License is valid for five years.

Fulfill Renewal Requirements

Teachers must renew their license after five years. To do so, teachers must complete a minimum of 120 hours of professional development from a provider approved by the Illinois State Board of Education, submit a renewal application, and pay the renewal fee.