Know the Ins and Outs of Your State's Teacher Certification Process



Are you interested in becoming a teacher in Illinois? There are several ways to find a good education in Illinois and become certified in the teaching field you’re interested in.

Many adult education and certification programs offer flexible platforms to assist the working adult achieve their goals, such as:

  • Online learning platform
  • On-campus course option
  • Progressive curriculum
  • Combined on-line and on-campus course options
  • Teacher certification and non-certification tracks
  • Endorsements and special approvals

A Career in Teaching

Becoming a teacher isn’t difficult. But it is a process and it helps to understand how that process works. In a nutshell, Illinois has a three-tiered teacher certification system:

  • Initial Certificate – for those with less than four years of teaching experience.
  • Standard Certificate – for those with four or more years of experience.
  • Master Certificates – for those interested in moving from standard certificate status.

Contact the Illinois State Board of Education for more information on Illinois teacher certification.

You may wish to focus your studies in any of four areas, including:

  • Childhood Nutrition
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Infants and Toddlers
  • Special Education 

Consider also one of three alternative teacher certification routes if you have a degree from an accredited college and related work experience.

If you are interested in early childhood education you need an Illinois teaching certificate in elementary education, secondary education or special education. You can then add certification in early childhood education through the Illinois Type 04 Certification.  Completing the applicable Special Education coursework will allow you to apply for an Early Childhood Special Education approval on your certification. Contact the Illinois State Board of Education Early Childhood Education page for more information.

Or if you choose to focus your studies on English as a Second Language (ESL), you will be able to work with students in a multi-cultural environment. To become fully qualified to teach in an ESL classroom, you need to have a valid professional Illinois teaching certificate and complete 100 hours of ESL teaching or three months teaching experience with ESL students. To qualify for a Bilingual endorsement, you must also pass a language proficiency test through the Illinois Certification Testing System.

Working with children in nutrition can be very rewarding. A good college will prepare you to make positive and life-changing impacts in children’s lives. Most of your learning can be done online, so that you don’t have to waste valuable time traveling to and from school.

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