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How to Become a Teacher's Aide in Illinois

Teacher's aides play a key role in supporting educators and broader school communities. In Illinois, paraeducators must meet specific education requirements, take exams (if necessary), and pay certain fees to apply for and receive licensure.

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You don't need to have a teaching certification - or a bachelor's degree - to have a rich, meaningful career helping young people learn and grow. Teacher's aides - otherwise known as paraeducators or paraprofessionals - support classroom communities by preparing materials, tutoring students, and assisting teachers as they monitor, guide, and care for their pupils. Here you will find the exact steps needed to become a certified teacher's aide in the state of Illinois.

Illinois Teacher's Aide Information & Requirements

Average Salary for Teacher's Aides in Illinois (2016)* $27,510 (teacher assistants)
Required Education Associate's degree, 60 semester hours, or a high school diploma/GED with specific test scores
Degree/Courses Field Any
Testing Requirements Without college, a high school diploma/GED plus the ETS Parapro or ACT Workkeys exams

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Necessary Coursework (or Earn Your Associate's Degree)

In order to apply for teacher's aide licensure in Illinois, you must be at least 19 years old and have finished the college coursework described below. You do not need a bachelor's degree. However, you do need one of the following:

  • An associate's degree
  • 60 completed semester hours
  • A high school diploma or GED with the specific test scores included in Step 2

The Illinois State Board of Education does not specify what subject your associate's degree or college coursework should be in to receive your license. But, credits related to education and/or child development would of course be most fruitful to you in the classroom.

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Step 2: Take Exams (If Necessary)

If you do not have a degree or 60 semester hours, but you do have a high school diploma or GED, you can still become a certified teacher's aide in Illinois. Taking one of these tests - and receiving the following scores - will allow you to do so. You just have to submit your results as part of your licensure application.

  • ETS Parapro Exam
    • You need a score of 460+.
  • ACT Workkeys Exam
    • You need an ''Applied Mathematics'' score of 4.
    • You need a ''Reading for Information/Workplace Documents'' score of 4.

Step 3: Get Licensed

Once you have completed all of the necessary coursework and/or testing based on your unique qualifications, you can apply for official paraprofessional licensure with the State of Illinois. Here's how:

  • First, apply online through the Educator Licensure Information System found on the Illinois State Board of Education's website. The application costs $100.00, and you pay electronically via credit card.
  • Then, send your official transcript either to transcripts@isbe.net or to Illinois State Board of Education Educator Licensure, 100 N. 1st Street, Springfield, IL 62777.
  • Official transcripts should be sent directly from your university, or in an envelope sealed by your university.
  • All other necessary paperwork, such as exam scores, for example, can be sent to licensure@isbe.net.
  • Finally, when you've received your license, you must log on to the ELIS account you created when you applied and pay any registration fees.
  • Once these fees have been paid, your license to be a teacher's aide under the guide of a licensed teacher is valid for five years. After five years, you can simply renew your license by paying the registration fees.

Teacher's Aide Certification Resources for Illinois

Need more assistance? Below are links to useful resources that will boost your paraeducator career:

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