To become a certified teacher in Illinois, you must first complete an Illinois-approved certificate preparation program and meet all testing requirements. Illinois also offers options for out-of-state, foreign, and alternative certification programs. With its three-tiered system, you will be issued an Initial license, which can later be renewed or upgraded to a Standard or Master certificate.

If you have completed an Illinois certificate preparation program and fulfilled all of the testing and coursework requirements, you will be entitled to an Illinois teaching certificate. Generally, the academic institution with which you’ve completed your coursework will provide a recommendation that you be issued a certificate. Prospective teachers who hold valid and comparable out-of-state certificate will have little trouble finding reciprocity for their credentials, although a transcript evaluation will be required. Teachers with foreign credentials will need to have a formal evaluation performed by an approved evaluation source. This evaluation will be able to report on the grade levels you are prepared to teach, as well as your American degree equivalence. Illinois also offers a fast-tracked alternative to teacher certification for professionals with work experience and education. Through the Illinois Alternative Certification Program, you can put your education and work experience to work, and become certified in a shorter amount of time than it would take if you were on the traditional certificate program track.

Illinois has a large number of school districts, about 879, the largest of which is Chicago Public Schools, the third largest in the US. Large cities in Illinois include Chicago, Rockford, Aurora, and Naperville. There are a number of different ways to find employment as a teacher in Illinois, specifically through the Illinois State Board of Education and Chicago Public Schools. Teach Illinois offers links to these sources and more, so it’s easy to find the teaching job you’re looking for.

In order to move from an Initial to Standard teaching certificate, you will need to complete four years of teaching in Illinois schools as well as complete professional development. To fulfill this requirement, you can pursue an advanced degree, a mentoring program, graduate-level coursework, “highly qualified” status, or a few other options. If you’d like to receive a Master teaching certificate, you must complete certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

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