Montessori teachers believe that rooted within every child is the ability and desire to learn, and that given a stimulating, peaceful environment and gentle guidance, children blossom. Rather than teach in an authoritative manner, Montessori teachers guide children in a way that cultivates their independence. Below are the steps you can take to become a Montessori teacher in Illinois.
Illinois Montessori Teacher Information & Requirements
|Average Salary for Teachers in Illinois (2017)*||$31,750 (preschool)
$66,630 (middle school)
$68,380 (secondary school)
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degrees are often required for U.S. AMI certified trainings, but not always|
|Testing Requirements||Each training program has unique assessments|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Earn Degree
Because almost all U.S. Montessori schools are private, the requirements needed to teach the Montessori method vastly differ. Each training program has its own prerequisites, and each private Montessori school has its own employment profile for teachers.
The official AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) training centers often require that their students have a bachelor's degree, but a degree is not always needed.
Step 2: Select Montessori Training Program
To find an Illinois AMI training center that is a good match for you, you can simply use the free training center locator on the U.S. AMI website.
If the U.S. AMI training centers are not in a good location for you, or aren't an appropriate fit for other reasons, you can take a look at these other quality Montessori educator training programs in Illinois:
- Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, IL
- Seton Montessori Institute in Clarendon Hills, IL
- Montessori Heartland Teacher Education Center in Moline, IL
While these programs are not official AMI programs, they are still rigorous trainings accredited by MACTE (the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) and affiliated with AMS (the American Montessori Society). You can read more about the educational standards for these qualifications on the organizations' websites.
Online Training (With In-Person Residency)
If distance learning would be a better option for you, MACTE does recognize the training programs listed below. These programs offer online learning supplemented with at least 120 hours of residency.
- Age of Montessori
- Center for Guided Montessori Studies
- Montessori Live
Make sure to take careful note of these specific online trainings. There are many distance learning programs advertised on the Internet that are not accredited or approved by MACTE, and will most likely not provide you with the Montessori teacher education you need in order to satisfy your future employer. To read more about MACTE's distance education policy, refer to their website.
Step 3: Decide Which Age Group You Wish to Teach
You can choose to receive training to teach infants and toddlers (ages 0-3), the primary level (3-6), the elementary level (6-12), or adolescents (12-18). Each age group requires its own separate training and certification. Make sure the program you select offers training for the age group you want to educate.
Each Montessori training program has distinct requirements and application processes. Carefully read through and follow the directions for the program(s) that interest you, and make sure to contact the training center with any questions or concerns.
Step 4: Complete Montessori Training Program & Get Certified
Montessori teacher training programs involve in-depth education theory, developmental psychology, seminars, lectures, as well as a great deal of hands-on application, practice, and observation in classrooms. You will also learn how to prepare and create Montessori classroom materials. It's important to once again note that each training has its own unique academic structure.
Once your training is complete, you will have the certification of that specific program. Now you will be able to apply for positions at private Montessori schools teaching the age group that you studied.
Step 5: Get Certified to Teach in Public Schools (Optional)
As mentioned previously, most Montessori schools are private. However, if you wish to teach at a public or charter Montessori school in Illinois, you will have to fulfill the Montessori training discussed in this article in addition to earning a teaching license from the state of Illinois for your students' age group. You can discuss how exactly to earn state licensure as a Montessori teacher with the specific public school you wish to work for.
Resources for Illinois Montessori Teachers
Want to impress your future Montessori employer with your dedication to education and stand out from the rest of the application pool? Take a look at these these professional development courses that explore educational theory and child development: