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Alternative Teacher Certification in Illinois

Changing careers can be a stressful time in a person's life. There's no need for concern, because we'll help you discover the alternative licensure route for Illinois teachers in this article.

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Illinois offers an alternative certification route for those who have completed a bachelor's degree and are now just deciding they want to become a teacher. We'll look at the step-by-step process needed to earn licensure under the alternative route in Illinois.

Requirements for Alternative Route Teachers in Illinois

Average Salary for Teachers Illinois (2017)* $31,750 (Preschool)
$55,850 (Kindergarten)
$62,620 (Elementary School)
$66,630 (Middle School)
$68,380 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Any
Testing Requirements Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)
Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) PK-12
Content Knowledge Exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education

The first step for the alternative route is to complete your bachelor's degree program. Since this is part of the alternative route, the major does not matter. You will need to make sure that this program is from an accredited college or university. If you have only earned an associate's degree, you still have a chance to complete the traditional route for licensure, because the alternative route begins after you have already completed your bachelor's degree.

Step 2: Complete TAP

The next step will be to prove your basic knowledge of the four subareas of math, reading comprehension, language arts, and writing. This will be done using the Illinois Licensure Testing System's (ILTS) Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). This exam is broken down into four subtests, though you can take them together if you'd like. Taking them together may allow you to get this out of the way prior to applying for the alternative licensure path. It will save you some time, since you'll have five hours to take all four subtests instead of 2.5 hours for each subtest individually. You'll also save money since all four subtests have a cost of $68, but taken together, it is only $113. While three of the four subtests ask multiple-choice questions, the writing exam has you writing an essay. In order to pass each subtest you must have a score of no less than 240.

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Step 3: Complete Alternative Program

The third step in the program will be to join one of the Illinois-approved alternative licensure programs. There are several available across the state through colleges and universities. You'll begin the program by completing summer courses on teaching. You'll then enter into a 2-year residency in a classroom, under the guidance of a mentor. This will be a full-time, paid position for you to gain the experience you need to become comfortable working in the classroom. Before your second year of residency, you'll need to complete all other courses required by your alternative licensure program. You must then be recommended for licensure by the program committee or head.

Step 4: Complete Additional Exams

During the first semester of your second year of residency, you'll need to complete the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) exam for grades PK-12. This exam will check your knowledge and skills for teaching in the classroom. It is made up of 120 multiple-choice questions and two constructed responses and must be completed in four hours and 15 minutes. Similar to the TAP, you must score at least 240 or higher to pass this exam. The final exam you'll take will be completed before you can apply for your professional educator license. This will be the content knowledge exam given by the edTPA ILTS. This will test you on your subject knowledge of the subject area you want to be endorsed in. Each exam is made up differently and has its own passing score requirements.

Certification Resources for Alternative Licensure Teachers in Illinois

The link below can help you study for the TAP exam that you'll need to take prior to beginning your residency. For more information, be sure to look around the site for content knowledge study guides as well.

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