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Teaching Certification in Chicago, IL with School Options

There are more than 30 schools in the Chicago area offering teacher certification programs. Learn about degree and certification options, admission info and program requirements for three of the schools, all downtown, and make an informed education decision.

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Chicago Schools with Teacher Certification Programs

Among the schools offering teacher certification in Chicago, three are located right in the heart of the city. This article looks at those schools and the teacher certification degree programs they offer. It also includes a table of information about the schools, with statistics on enrollment, tuition, graduation rate and acceptance rate. Following this is a brief paragraph with information on a couple more Chicago-area schools with relevant programs.

  • Students at National Louis University can qualify for teacher certification through bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education, elementary education or special education. Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching also qualifies graduates to apply for certification. Additional certification programs are also available.
  • DePaul University offers two bachelor's and two master's degree programs that meet certification standards as well as additional certifications.
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago offers several bachelor's degree programs, including one in urban education, and a master's program that meet certification standards.

Comparison of Schools

There are many factors to examine when choosing a school. This table presents several important aspects that a prospective student should consider.

National Louis University DePaul University University of Illinois at Chicago
School Type 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; private, not-for-profit 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 4,918* 22,769* 30,539*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $10,440* $39,010* $13,704 in-state; $26,560 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 93%* 96%* 84%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 86%* 72%* 77%*
Retention Rate (2017) 68% for full-time students, 50% for part-time students* 84% for full-time students, 33% for part-time students* 80% for full-time students, 42% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (2011) 50%* 71%* 57%*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

National Louis University

NLU offers both initial and additional certifications through its 130-year-old National College of Education. NLU partners with the Chicago Teaching Fellows and Teach for America for alternative teaching certification routes, and offers certifications in areas such as school administration, school psychology and technology in education. NLU also offers master's and doctoral programs in education.

Bachelor of Arts

National Louis offers three bachelor's degrees leading to certification: early childhood, special education and elementary. Students in any of these programs apply after completing general education and foundational coursework with a GPA of 2.5/4.0 or better, passing the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) and submitting an application and/or having completed pre-clinical observation hours. All three programs require 180 quarter-hours to complete, and include courses covering teaching methodologies and content, as well as educational psychology, history and philosophy. The final course for all degrees is the student teaching practicum.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

For those with a bachelor's degree without certification, the MAT program provides certification through a combination of content and methodology classes and observation and student teaching experiences. Alternative certification partner programs are available through NLU for earning certification to teach special education as well as elementary and secondary education in the Chicago Public Schools while teaching under provisional and alternate certificates. Additional areas of concentration are available in early childhood education, middle grades education and counseling.

Additional Certifications, Approvals and Endorsements

NLU offers a variety of options for teachers who want to add teaching qualifications. Additional certification programs require candidates to have current certification and are designed on an individual basis dependent upon the candidate's qualifications. Approval programs include a set number of courses which are designed to allow teachers to work in an area without having earned full certification. NLU offers approvals in areas such as ESL, early childhood special education and learning behavior specialist (LBS) I and II. Endorsements are offered in areas such as LBS and reading, and require completion of a set number of classes. Depending upon the endorsement sought, these may cover topics such as diagnosis and assessment of reading issues, survey of children's literature or introduction to exceptional children and adolescents.

DePaul University

DePaul offers initial certification programs at all levels through the College of Education and offers a special education endorsement online as well. DePaul's programming includes three doctoral degree options, one of which can provide administrative certification, and a wide variety of 5-year degrees combining an undergraduate degree specialization such as math or social science with graduate-level education classes.

Bachelor of Science or Arts in Education (BS or BA)

At the undergraduate level, students can choose from a variety of concentrations in areas like early childhood education, elementary education, exercise science, middle grades education, physical education, secondary education, special education, and world language education. Students can gain experience through student teaching. Coursework may include topics like child development, reading instruction theories, teaching methods, and child safety and nutrition.

Master of Education or Arts (M.Ed. or MA)

Both programs at DePaul require a student teaching component and they also lead to certification. These programs are designed for college graduates with a degree in a field outside of education to become certified to teach in Illinois. Degrees are available in areas such as early childhood, elementary and secondary education, middle school mathematics, reading specialist, special education and world languages. Coursework may include both undergraduate and graduate level classes depending upon a student's undergraduate qualifications.

Endorsements and Additional Certifications

Teachers with current certifications can earn additional certifications and endorsements through DePaul. These typically take at least a year and involve earning a set number of quarter hours and, dependent upon the subject matter, may involve passing state exams. Endorsements are available the areas of bilingual education, ESL, world language education and special education. Subsequent certifications are available for all levels from early childhood through secondary education.

University of Illinois at Chicago

In the initial certification undergraduate programs at UIC, students go through pre-candidacy and candidacy phases, requiring them to meet coursework, GPA and testing requirements prior to advancing to the next phase. At the graduate level, there are several masters' degree options for certification and endorsement, along with a variety of doctoral programs in education, some of which lead to certifications or endorsements for school superintendency or educational leadership.

Bachelor of Arts in Urban Education with a Concentration in Elementary Education

In the pre-candidacy phase, students complete 58-61 hours of common core curriculum. During the candidacy phase, students take methods and content courses, complete early field experience work in classroom settings and take the content test for teachers of elementary/middle grades. Student teaching takes place in the senior year in an area school. During this time, students complete assessments, take the assessment of professional teaching for K-9 teachers and are evaluated by both the university and their cooperating teacher.

Bachelor of Science or Arts in Teaching

At the secondary level, UIC offers BA programs to teach English, history, French, German or Spanish and BS programs to teach math or physics for grades 6-12. Foreign language teaching options also qualify graduates to teach K-12, which is a type 10 certificate. In the pre-candidacy phase, students declare a 'teaching of' major and must complete 45-60 hours including two education courses, and pass the Test of Academic Proficiency. During the second phase, students complete coursework in their major and in education prior to beginning student teaching during the final semester.

Master of Education

The M.Ed. options at UIC are available in early childhood education with an endorsement in Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL), special education, Level 5 early childhood education, and early intervention developmental therapist. Candidates need a bachelor's degree to apply to the program. There is no thesis or final project required in the program.

Other School Options

Also located in Chicago, Roosevelt University offers teacher certification options in a variety of topics right in the heart of the Loop. The City Colleges of Chicago also offers 2-year preparatory programs in areas such as early childhood and elementary education, secondary math and music education.

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