Illinois Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. If you don’t hold a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional route teacher certification in Illinois. If you do have a bachelor’s degree and are interested in learning more about alternative educator licensure pathways approved by the Illinios State Board of Education (ISBE), continue reading.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

Individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a content area that aligns with an area of certification may complete an alternative certification program, which are programs in which candidates typically teach under the mentorship and coaching of an experienced teacher. Alternative teacher preparation programs in Illinois commonly lead to the award of a master’s degree. There are also “licensure-only” programs, which do not award a degree and typically follow a shorter curriculum.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Illinois

Illinois recognizes one main pathway to alternative teacher licensure in core content areas. For those wishing to teach career and technical education subjects, however, there is a separate provisional pathway. You can read more about these options below

Provisional License Alternative Route

To be accepted to an alternative teacher certification program in Illinois, candidates must first post a passing score on the Illinois basic skills and subject matter knowledge tests. Candidates must then be accepted to an approved teacher preparation program and apply for an educator license with stipulations as a provisional alternative educator. While completing the alternative program, candidates will make up any coursework deficiencies for a full teaching license in Illinois. To continue to the second year of residency candidates must pass the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) and be recommended by their college or university for the second year of teaching.

Provisional Career and Technical Education License

Illinois teaching candidates who have completed at least 20 semester hours of coursework at a regionally accredited school and 8,000 hours of work experience within the last ten years, both relating to the subject to be taught, may apply for a Provisional Career and Technical Education license. A candidate must be recommended for this type of license by the Superintendent and Regional Superintendent of the school district in which the candidate will be employed and the candidate must be intending to teach in one of the career and technical content areas recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The candidate must pass the Illinois test of basic skills and complete professional development hours to maintain active licensure status.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Teachers who already hold a teaching certificate in another state may apply for a Provisional Educator License that is valid for one year with a maximum one-year extension, during which time the candidate must complete all ordinary requirements to receive an Illinois educator’s license. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree with 15 semester hours in the content area to be taught and must provide a copy of the out-of-state teaching certificate and certified transcripts. Candidates must pass the applicable content area exam(s) as well as the basic skills test. To learn more about teaching certificate reciprocity, see our reciprocity resource.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Illinois

In order to qualify for licensure in Illinois, you must complete an approved teacher education program. The following school-based alternative teacher preparation programs that lead to a certificate or master’s degree have been approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE):

  • Aurora University (Master’s)
  • Chicago State University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Concordia University Chicago (Master’s)
  • DePaul University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Dominican University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Eastern Illinois University (Certificate)
  • Governors State University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Greenville University (Master’s)
  • Lake Forest College (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Lewis University (Master’s)
  • Loyola University (Master’s)
  • McKendree University (Master’s)
  • National Louis University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • North Park University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Northeastern University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Northern Illinois University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Northwestern University (Master’s)
  • Quincy University (Master’s)
  • Relay Graduate School of Education* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Rockford University (Master’s)
  • Roosevelt University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Saint Xavier University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (Master’s), Edwardsville (Master’s)
  • University of Chicago (Master’s)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of St. Francis (Master’s)
  • Western Illinois University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Wheaton College (Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Illinois State Board of Education: https://www.isbe.net/