Teacher credentialing in Illinois is governed by the Illinois State Board of Education. The Board has three levels of certification: Initial, Standard and Master.
1) Initial certification
This is the first level of certification for beginning teachers. It is valid for four years and can be renewed for one year. After that, a Standard Certificate is required.
• Educational requirements. The first step for obtaining an Initial Certificate is to complete the state educational requirements. This can be done by attending a college or university teacher education program in Illinois that has been approved by the state. Prior to entering the program, the student must pass a Basic Skills certification test administered by the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS).
The educational requirements may also be met by attending teacher education programs that are out-of-state or are alternative or resident programs as long as they are state approved.
All undergraduate classes must be completed with a minimum grade of “C.” Pass or Satisfactory grades will only be accepted if the school certifies that the grade is equivalent to at least a C. State approved teacher preparation programs must provide a combination of course work and field work. The requirement for field work can be met through observation, student teaching or by completing an internship.
• Student teaching. Prior to student teaching, the student must pass an appropriate subject matter test administered by the ICTS. Candidates who did not attend an Illinois college or university must pass the subject matter test as well as the basic skills test.
• Pass all ICTS tests. In addition to the tests already mentioned, all applicants must pass the Assessment of Professional Teaching Test.
• Provisional certificates. Teachers with valid credentials from other states are given provisional certification good for two years. During that time, the teacher is expected to pass all required certification tests before obtaining an Initial or Standard certificate.
Provisional certificates are also issued to college graduates pursuing teaching as a second career. The graduates have bachelor’s degrees in subjects other than teaching. There are three different types of provisional certificates issued at this level.
2) Standard Certificate
This is issued to a teacher who has a valid Initial Certificate or any one of the several Provisional Certificates, four years of experience, and completed one of several available professional development options.
3) Master Certificate
Any teacher who has earned their worth through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) may apply to the state for a Master Certificate.
There are other pathways for certification for teachers who hold valid teaching credentials from other states. Click here for more specifics regarding Illinois Teacher Certification.