How to Become a Science Teacher in Illinois

Jul 03, 2020

The state of Illinois certifies teachers of grades 6-12 in science education. There are multiple subject endorsements, including physics, biology, and integrated science, so there are paths for any interested student.

Illinois Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Illinois (2019)* $63,630 (Middle School)
$74,340 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Science Education
Testing Requirements Test of Basic Skills, edTPA, ILTS Science Exams

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree

Students interested in becoming science teachers in Illinois must pursue a bachelor's degree in science education and graduate from an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. There are multiple programs throughout the state that fit this description, and the Illinois Department of Education keeps up a detailed list of all possible schools on its website. Each program will be slightly different, depending on the area of science students choose to specialize in, but all will have relatively similar science and education courses. Some of these courses might include:

  • Education in a Diverse Society
  • Educational Psychology
  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry

Students will be required to complete coursework in four areas: cross-categorical special education methods, reading methods, reading in the content area, and English language learner/bilingual methods. Students will also participate in student teaching prior to graduation.

Step 2: Take All Required Tests

Teacher candidates in Illinois are required to pass exams in three areas: basic skills, teacher performance, and content knowledge.

To satisfy the basic skills test, students can submit scores from the ACT, the SAT, or the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). A score of a 22 with a writing score of 6 is required for ACT test-takers. For the SAT, a score of 1110 with a score of 26 on writing and language. If students choose to take the TAP, they will complete four subtests: reading comprehension (60 multiple-choice questions), language arts (60 multiple-choice questions), mathematics (50 multiple-choice questions), and writing (1 constructed-response). This exam is $113 and requires a score of 240 for each subtest.

Students will also take the edTPA, which is a performance-based assessment designed to test students' teaching abilities in the classroom. This exam tests planning, instruction, and assessment skills and costs $300.

Finally, students will take the applicable Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) content test required for the age group and subject they want to teach. For example, future middle school science educators will take the Middle School Science (5-8) exam, which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and requires a minimum score of 240. This test costs $122.

Secondary school teachers will take an exam in one of five content areas: biology, chemistry, earth and space science, environmental science, or physics. Each test consists of 125 multiple-choice questions and has a passing score of 240. The cost for each content exam is $122.

Step 3: Complete the Certification Application

Finally, teachers can begin the certification application. Teachers will submit all transcripts and test scores to the Illinois Department of Education, along with proof of student teaching experience. A form called 80-02 is also required. This form is available on the DOE's website and breaks down the courses students have taken that fulfill the four categories mentioned above (cross-categorical special education methods, reading methods, reading in the content area, and English language learner/bilingual methods). Teachers will then complete a criminal background check, and then they will be ready to receive their licensure from the state.

Resources for Future Illinois Teachers

There are plenty of online resources for future science teachers in Illinois. Check out the study guides and practice questions below to get started on the road to licensure.

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