In the heart of the nation -- and in the Second City if students choose -- there are plenty of opportunities for teachers. Just like many states, Illinois has a need for good educators. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education approved the Chicago Public School District 299 as a designated teacher shortage area for the 2015-2016 school year, according to data from the Illinois State Board of Education. In the entire state, bilingual education teachers and learning behavior specialists are needed, and in Chicago's District 299, there is a shortage of standard elementary instructors.
Many teachers can now earn their Illinois teaching credentials online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while employment figures for teachers in the state are expected to decline in some areas, they are expected to grow in these particular education specialties:
- Preschool teachers, except special education (14%)
- Special education teachers in preschool (5.6%)
- Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors (4.7%)
Illinois teachers can work in public schools after passing the applicable national tests and in private institutions as well, which oftentimes don't require such a certification. In addition, and not surprisingly, graduates and newly minted teachers can also teach in some of the online schools that are available for students' convenience, usually exclusively at the high school level.
Illinois Teacher Prerequisites and Exams
All public school teachers in Illinois must earn a teaching certification. The Illinois State Board of Education is the state agency that licenses teachers in the state, and according to the agency's website, there are three licenses available.
- Professional Educator License (PEL) -- The requirements to obtain this license for applicants completing a teaching program in Illinois include:
- Completion of an approved Illinois educator preparation program that includes coursework in cross-categorical special education methods and methods of reading and reading in content areas
- A passing score on an Illinois test of basic skills, the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP 400) or a specific SCT or SAT score
- A passing score on the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test for program completion
- Educator License with Stipulations Endorsed for a Specific Field (ELS) -- There are several fields for which educators can obtain this license and the requirements vary slightly for each of the fields, which include:
- Career and technical educator
- Resident teacher
- Transitional bilingual educator
This license is valid for two fiscal years and cannot be renewed. Before this license expires, the applicant must meet the requirements for the PEL detailed above.
- Substitute License -- This license is valid for five years and can be renewed with evidence of a passing score on an Illinois test of basic skills. To qualify for this license, applicants must present proof that they hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
Illinois Teaching Degrees
One wonderful aspect of pursuing a career in teaching is the many career options available. For those who really thrive on making a difference in the key developmental years of young children, preschool or kindergarten teaching might be a fantastic option. Those who like working with more challenging material might enjoy teaching at the secondary level and focus on advance-placement classes.
Students should carefully consider the degree program they want to select for their studies, as it's an important decision. The most important thing to consider when choosing a school is accreditation. Here is a short list of available teaching degrees (not all are available online) that allow students to pursue Illinois teaching credentials:
- Bachelor's degree in early, elementary, and special education
- Postbaccalaureate teacher certification
- Master's degree in education
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) in elementary education
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in elementary education
- Master of Education, reading specialist
- Master of Education, literacy education
Career Outlook for Teachers in Illinois
Teachers cannot live on passion alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here's what you can expect to earn if you are a teacher in the state of Illinois.
|Career||Total employment (2015)||Average Salary (2015)||% Growth Projected (2014-2024)|
|Kindergarten teachers (except special education)||4,270||$53,560||-0.4%|
|Preschool teachers (except special education)||19,220||$32,210||14%|
|Elementary school teachers (except special education)||60,570||$59,680||-1.3%|
|Middle school teachers (except special and career/technical education)||34,590||$66,480||-1.3%|
|Special education teachers, Secondary School||6,960||$66,700||-1.2%|
|Secondary School teachers (except special and career/technical education)||44,440||$69,300||-1.4%|
|Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors||2,270||$60,580||4.7%|
|Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School||1,980||$65,140||-6.3%|
- Become a Teacher in Illinois, Teach.com, http://teach.com/states/become-a-teacher-in-illinois
- College of Education, The University of Arizona, http://directory.arizona.edu/colleges/college-education
- Data Analysis and Accountability, Illinois State Board of Education, http://www.isbe.net/research/htmls/teacher_shortage.htm
- Elementary Program Information, Department of Teaching & Learning, UNLV College of Education, http://tl.unlv.edu/undergraduate/elementary
- May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Illinois, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_il.htm
- Welcome to IOHS, http://www.illinoisonlinehighschool.org/