To get a teaching license, you need a B.A. (or equivalent coursework) in your target language, plus a series of education courses, methods courses and clinicals. You should meet with the director or assistant director of Educator Licensure as early as possible to talk about the program. To apply to the program, you'll need to fill out the preliminary review form (PDF).
We'll prepare you to become a licensed teacher in French, German or Spanish (K-12). Students pursuing educator licensure must have a strong academic record and demonstrate the desire and ability to facilitate learning.
You can major in French, German or Spanish and take additional coursework designed to meet the standards of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). At NIU, you'll enjoy small classes, personal attention and lots of hands-on teaching experience.
You can apply any time, but applications for the first clinical, ILAS 201, are due in October for the following spring or March for the following fall. Thus, students who wish to complete a B.A. and educator licensure at the same time should speak to the director or assistant director as soon as possible, but at the very latest, before March of the sophomore year.
The two most challenging hurdles are passing the Test of Academic Proficency (TAP, or substitution of an ACT+writing or SAT score), and the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). You must pass the TAP before you can start the second clinical, ILAS 301. You must pass the OPI before you can student teach. Most students who are able to pass these two tests will be able to pass the other required tests.
The admissions requirements can be found on the preliminary review form (PDF).
With careful planning, it is possible to complete a language B.A. and student teaching in four years (eight semesters). Some students may need to take a few courses in the summer, or take a ninth or tenth semester for student teaching.
If you already have your B.A. in a language from NIU or another school and are returning to get your teaching license, you'll probably need four semesters to complete the clinical sequence and student teaching -- the first three can be part-time, but the last semester will be full-time student teaching.
An advantage of our program is that you'll be licensed to teach all grade levels, K-12.
Currently, students are required to pass the Test of Academic Proficiency (or substitute an ACT+writing/SAT score) before applying for the second clinical (ILAS 301), the Foreign Language Content Area Test in your target language before student teaching, the Oral Proficiency Interview with a target score of Advanced Low before student teaching, and the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) during student teaching.
See the forms and resources section for the course checklist for your language. You'll need a B.A. (or equivalent coursework) in your target language (first page of checklist), plus a series of education courses, methods courses and clinicals (second page of checklist).
You'll need to get a TB (tuberculosis) test once per year, complete an online safety tutorial, have a criminal background check each time you're placed in a new school district and sign a FERPA release form.
Placements for ILAS 201 and 301 are arranged by the placement coordinator of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Because of the large number of placements the coordinator must arrange, you'll probably need to travel outside the DeKalb area to complete the clinicals. The FLMT 401 clinical is ordinarily completed during the semester prior to student teaching. You may request a particular geographic area and level (middle or secondary school), but may not specify particular schools or cooperating teachers. In addition, you may not request placement into schools that you attended. Clinical and student teaching placements are always arranged and supervised by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Transportation to and from schools is always your responsibility.
Student teaching is 16 weeks in length, and it's ordinarily completed during the spring semester. Other requirements during the student teaching seminar are attendance at several on-campus seminars.
Native speakers must satisfy the same requirements as other students, including coursework that is the equivalent of a B.A. in the language. Status as a native speaker of a language does not qualify you for educator licensure in Illinois.
Each state has different requirements for how to transfer an Illinois license to that state. You may have to take an additional test or additional coursework in order to transfer your license out of state, but it will transfer.
Forms and Resources
- ILAS 201 application (link to the CLAS teacher licensure page -- use the Word version of the application)
- NIU resources for Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) preparation, ACT preparation and SAT preparation
- Take the TAP, ACT+writing or SAT+essay
- Guide to substituting your ACT or SAT score for the TAP. New rules for super-scoring explained by NIU
- Link to Testing Services for the Grammar Exemption Exam (test out of ENGL 207)
- ILAS 301 application (link to the CLAS teacher licensure page-- use the Word version of the application)
- FLMT 401 and student teaching application (link to the CLAS teacher licensure page -- use the Word version of the application)
- Foreign Language Content Area Test
- Our website for OPI preparation
- Illinois state requirements for adding an endorsement (PDF) to your teaching license (to teach an additional subject area)
- Courses at NIU to add an ESL or bilingual endorsement (PDF) (Bilingual endorsement also requires the Target Language Proficiency Test in your language)
- Recommended lesson plan template (PDF)
- Guide to writing a successful lesson plan (PDF)
- Tips for writing objectives (PDF)
- Candidate information sheet for student teaching (PDF)
- Entitlement worksheet (PDF)
- ACTFL-required assessments
- Assessment #1: Foreign Language Content Area Test
- Assessment #2: Linguistics Project and core course grades (Average of B or higher in FLFR 301, 302, 311, 320 and 463; FLGE 301, 302, 311, 320 and 461; or FLSP 301, 311, 320, 361 and 411) (PDF)
- Assessment #3: edTPA Task 1 (Planning) -- Recommended Lesson Plan Template (PDF)
- Assessment #4: edTPA Task 2 (Instruction)
- Assessment #5: edTPA Task 3 (Assessment)
- Assessment #6: ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview
- Assessment #7: Professional Development (DOCX)
- Assessment #8: Final Reflective Essay (DOCX)
"NIU's foreign language teacher licensure program has provided me with all of the support I have needed and more to feel comfortable and confident about teaching and working with students. Not only are my professors and advisors knowledgeable about the subject of teaching foreign languages, but they are genuinely concerned with their students' success in the field."
-Shannon Schmidt '15
"I had such an amazing experience at NIU because of the foreign language department! All of the professors genuinely care about you as a student and as a person. They want you to succeed, not just in their class, but in your field of study and in life. I have never been held to higher expectations than I have at NIU. The professors have a way of challenging you and it causes you to grow exponentially, in such a rewarding way! The passion and care that each professor has for their students is unmatched. I have nothing but great things to say about NIU’s foreign language department!"
-Samantha Gonzalez '16
"The foreign language teacher licensure program at NIU has given me an opportunity to look at education as a continuum of change. I am very fortunate to be a part of the innovations that language education experiences. It is thanks to my professors that I am able to contribute new ideas to the field and foster student growth and success in the classroom. They made me feel comfortable with trying various methods with my students and were knowledgeable of what was at the forefront of language education."
-Sandra Gonzalez '15
“I want to say, “thank you so much!” You really prepared me for almost anything that should happen in the classroom. I whipped up some TPR on the spot just to figure out the students’ level of English. This worked so much better than I thought it would. I never would’ve been able to do that had you not covered this topic extensively! Thanks to your class on classroom management, I’ve been able to handle most anything. Some of my fellow English teachers don’t have the same background as do I, so, they’ve had a more difficult time handling their classroom.”
-Bethany Brown ‘14
“I love how this program is a tight bond even though we come from different backgrounds as well as different content areas. We are encouraged by one another to go above and beyond what is shown in the textbook to be taught for the students and to include as much culture as possible into the classroom. I found that this program allowed me to take my passion for language and culture from being introverted to extroverted and I was able to share that with students as well as fellow classmates in the program.
I feel lucky to say that the bond that was created with those in the program has never left and I love that we still feed ideas off of each other whether it’s by email, text or other social media. The methods that I have learned from this program as well as fellow members of the program have not only stuck with me but have improved me as a leader in the classroom.”
-Martha Gajewski ‘14
“I enjoyed having small classes where I was able to establish a good relationship with my teachers. I also found it helpful that our clinical experience before our student teaching semester was at our student teaching placement. This helped me feel more comfortable for student teaching because I was able to become acclimated in the building and meet my cooperating teacher and the students before I had to worry about taking over as the teacher.”
-Jordan Deener ‘15
“I just want to say that I really enjoyed the teacher licensure program, as well as doing my German and Spanish studies there. The professors are VERY reliable and caring, not to mention that they are passionate about their teaching area. In the future I am most definitely planning on going back to get my master's degree in Spanish.”
-Tony Illescas ‘14
- Educator licensure materials handbook (PDF)
- Admission and retention policies (PDF)
- NIU's educator licensure requirements
- Foreign language educator licensure requirements
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences educator licensure
- NIU’s educator licensure site
- GreatSchools map shows school districts and schools near DeKalb (60115) or your zip code