Become a Teacher in Illinois
Bustling cities, beautiful rural landscapes, strong education support, and excellent benefits are some of the advantages of being a teacher in the state of Illinois. The Prairie State has a large number of school districts, about 879, the largest of which is Chicago Public Schools, the third largest in the US. Chicago and Peoria are the favorite destinations for aspiring teachers as they share in the benefits of a vast and diverse state economy, a growing population, and strong college and university systems.
Read on to know more about what it takes to become a teacher in Illinois.
- The traditional route for residents involves obtaining a teacher certification. While Illinois has a three-tier system of certification, the first teacher certificate in Illinois obtained is the Initial Education Certificate. Through traditional methods, this license can be obtained through:
- Earning a bachelor’s degree from a State-approved university
- Testing through the Illinois Certification Testing System
- Completing an accredited teacher preparation program.
- The Alternative Routes to Teaching program assists new teachers in earning their first credential for teaching in Illinois, and experienced teachers in earning new endorsements. Although programs are specific to school districts and their needs, the general requirements for a teacher certificate in Illinois are:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree from an approved State college or university
- Be accepted to and working in an approved teacher certification program
- Be interested in working in an area of education that is underserved
- Out-of-State teachers who hold a current, valid teaching license will be granted a 3-year Standard Education Certificate while completing all background investigations, testing, and other requirements as needed. Once completed, the applicant may apply for a 5-year certificate.
- Students must pass appropriate exams to be considered for a teaching position in Illinois. All aspiring teachers must pass the Assessment of Professional Teaching through the Illinois Certification Testing System. Subject-specific tests are also available through ICTS for endorsement purposes.
- Although no specific bachelor’s degrees are required to teach in Illinois, most students major either in education or in the subject area they will teach (secondary teachers). Many colleges in Illinois also specialize in offering a combination of education courses and subject-specific courses, such as math education or science education. This can be an excellent option for students who plan on teaching secondary education.
There are a number of ways to find employment as a teacher in Illinois, specifically through the Illinois State Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools. Illinois has a shortage of qualified teachers for math, the sciences, and special education areas. The state also needs teachers with bilingual talents in content areas for teaching children who do not speak English as their first language. For teachers who would like to start teaching in any of these needed places in Illinois, job opportunities are aplenty. Also, advanced degrees will give you the leverage you need to land in your dream teaching job and become an influential figure to both your students and fellow teachers.
- The Illinois State Board of Education Division of Educator and School Development is dedicated to implementing and monitoring educator and school compliance and development. This includes providing educators teaching in Illinois with continuing education opportunities, training and professional development.
- Illinois is a state that has many incentives and programs available to help new teachers become established members of the community with options on student loan forgiveness, scholarship plans for training, and reduced-cost teacher housing.
- Average Elementary Teacher Salary: The average elementary school teacher in Illinois makes $59,460
- Average Secondary Teacher Salary: The average secondary school teacher in Illinois makes $67,110
- Teacher Salary vs. State Average Salary: The average teacher in Illinois makes 147% of the salary of the average worker in Illinois
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Adult Education
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- Early Childhood Education
- Educational Counseling
- Educational Leadership and Administration
- Educational Technology
- Elementary Education
- General Education
- Higher Education
- Math Education
- Multicultural Administration
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- Secondary Education
- Special and Gifted Education
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