The state of Illinois offers math teacher certification for grades 5-12, allowing teachers to choose whether they want to focus on applying their knowledge in middle or high school classrooms. Here, we explore the steps needed to become a certified math teacher in the state of Illinois.
Illinois Teacher Salary Information and Educational Requirements
|Average Salary for Teachers in Illinois (2016)*||$69,700 (Middle School), $70,130 (High School)|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Math Education|
|Testing Requirements||Test of basic skills such as TAP; edTPA; ILTS math subject tests|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree in math education is required in order to become a licensed math teacher in Illinois. Some programs will only certify teachers for grades 6-12, while others will focus on grades 5-8, so it is important for students to have a general idea of what age group they would like to teach. The content of the programs of study will vary, but many will include some of the same basic classes like calculus, pedagogy, statistics, and teaching math. All future teachers should be sure to take classes that fall into these categories: cross-categorical special education methods, reading methods, reading in the content area, and English as a second language/bilingual methods. Students will be required to complete internships in order to gain experience in the field before graduation, and some degree programs will offer students the opportunity to help with research.
Step 2: Complete All Required Testing
The Illinois Department of Education requires all prospective teachers to pass a test of basic skills prior to enrolling in a teacher preparation program. There are several options: the ACT (composite score of 22 with a writing score of 6) or the SAT (with a composite score of 1110 and a 26 on writing and language) will cover this requirement. Additionally, students can take the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) through the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS). The TAP covers reading comprehension, language arts, mathematics (this test includes a formula sheet), and writing. All of the tests consist of 50-60 multiple choice questions except for the writing subtest, which requires a single written response. Students have 5 hours to complete the whole test. Test-takers must achieve a score of 240 or higher per subtest.
The edTPA also needs to be completed during the student teaching portion of the teacher preparation program. This exam focuses on three areas: planning, instruction, and assessment. The edTPA is designed to make sure all future teachers are prepared to handle common teaching situations, and the fee is $300 as of March 2018. It is important to note that the fee allows students 18 months of access to request a change (take another subject exam, etc.) or to cancel the exam and request a partial refund.
A future math teacher will also need to take the appropriate math subject exams. The Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) Mathematics exam taken by future secondary teachers runs 3 hours and 45 minutes long at 125 questions, and a passing score is 240. This test costs $122 as of March 2018, and be sure to bring a graphing calculator. The other exam, ILTS Middle Grades Mathematics (5-8), taken by future middle school teachers, runs 3 hours and 15 minutes long and contains 100 multiple choice questions. A 240 is the passing score, and the exam costs $122 as of March 2018.
Step 3: Getting Licensed to Teach
The final step for future math teachers is to complete required paperwork and submit all documents to the Department of Education. In order to get licensed, prospective teachers should submit documentation of their degrees and records of their teacher preparation programs. Records of student teaching experiences in addition to all specific coursework required by the Department of Education must also be submitted. Students can use form 80-02: State Approved Program and Completion of Standards Verification (found on the Illinois Department of Education website) to provide documentation of all requirements. Finally, students must provide test scores from all exams, including subject tests. Once everything has been provided and approved, students will be certified to teach in Illinois.