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Alternative Teacher Certification Programs in Illinois

Illinois has 14 schools that offer alternative teacher certification programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options the four largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
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  • Teaching, Young Children

Essential Information

Alternative teacher certification is available to applicants holding a bachelor's degree with five years of relevant work experience. In some cases, a master's degree may be required. Additionally, some programs require students to pass a basic skills test. These programs allow students to gain an Initial Alternative Teaching Certificate, which is valid for four years within the State of Illinois. Alternative teacher certification programs are mostly non-degree, though some schools allow credits to be transferred to a graduate degree program.

Alternate teacher certification programs combine classroom learning with internships and field work. In some cases, students will need to complete an assessment at the end of the program. Some programs also require students to complete a portfolio.

Benedictine University

Located in Lisle, Benedictine University offers a 12-month program for students seeking alternative teacher certification. Students are expected to complete intensive courses in teaching theories, methods and practices. In addition, completion of a one-year internship in a middle or high school is mandatory. Graduates are able to either transfer 24 credit hours towards a master's degree or obtain Initial Teacher Certification in secondary education for the State of Illinois.

Concordia University-Chicago

Based in River Forest, this university offers an initial certification program. Upon gaining admission to teacher candidacy, students must complete courses in cognitive development, classroom technology and communication. Next, students must complete a student teaching internship totaling in a minimum of 80 hours. Afterwards, participants of this certification program must successfully pass the Illinois Assessment of Professional Teaching Test.

Eastern Illinois University

Applicants to the alternative certification program at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston must have a bachelor's degree and at least five years of relevant work experience. In addition, a passing score on the Illinois Basic Skills Test is necessary for admission. The program includes an intensive course of study, an internship and a comprehensive assessment. Students can expect courses in teaching foundations and methods over an eight-week period before completing the required yearlong internship.

Career Requirements

After four years of working under the Initial Alternative Teaching Certificate designation, graduates of a certification program can apply for a Standard Teaching Certificate. A comparison table with tuition information and individual school offerings at a glance can be found below.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Alternative Teacher Certification Programs Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)
Benedictine University Four-year; private not-for-profit; large suburb Alternative Licensure Program $27,456*
Concordia University-Chicago Four-year; private not-for-profit; large suburb Initial Certification Program $29,520*
Eastern Illinois University Four-year; public; distant town Alternative Teacher Certification Program $11,312 in-state; $13,442 out-of-state*
Illinois State University Four-year; public; midsize suburb Alternative Route to Secondary Teacher Certification $13,666 in-state; $21,482 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

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