Illinois Alternative Teacher Certification

Illinois offers alternative teacher certification for those who have previously completed a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education and have not attended a teacher preparation program. 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 two-year programs in which candidates teach full time for two school years under the mentorship and coaching of an experienced teacher. Continue reading to find out more about Illinois’ alternative educator licensure pathways.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

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. As these are two-year curriculums, many of the alternative teacher preparation programs in Illinois lead to the award of a master’s degree.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Illinois

Unlike most other states, Illinois only recognizes one main pathway to alternative teacher licensure in core content areas, which is discussed above. For those wishing to teach career and technical education subjects, however, there is a provisional pathway, which you can read more about below.

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.

Additional Resources

The following resources provide more information on earning an alternative teacher certification in Illinois.

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs in Illinois

Because the alternative certification process is complex, we have researched and provided specific school programs below for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and want to become a teacher. We recommend you request information from one or more of these specific programs:

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