Certification and Endorsements

Certification and Endorsements

  1. What is the difference between a certificate and an endorsement?
  2. What certificates are available in Illinois?
  3. What is required to obtain an Illinois teaching certificates?
  4. How does a teacher earn an additional Illinois teaching certificates?
  5. What does it mean to "split" a certificate?
  6. Can an individual who obtains an Elementary Certificate by splitting the Special Certificate receive an endorsement for self-contained general elementary education?
  7. What endorsements are available in Illinois?
  8. How is a new endorsement added to a teaching certificate?
  9. How can an individual obtain more information about certification and preparation programs in Illinois?
  10. What is the Online Teacher Information System (OTIS)?

1. What is the difference between a certificate and an endorsement?

A "certificate" is the license required for an individual to teach in an Illinois public school.

An "endorsement" is a descriptor that is placed on a certificate to identify and limit the specific areas in which the individual is qualified to teach in conjunction with that certificate.

For example, a candidate who completes a secondary certification program in mathematics will receive a Secondary Certificate (Type 09) endorsed in mathematics. If that person later meets the requirements for an endorsement in English/Language Arts, the new endorsement would be added to the Secondary Certificate.


2. What certificates are available in Illinois?

Illinois issues the following regular and provisional certificates:

  • Type 03 (elementary - grades K-9),
  • Type 04 (early childhood - birth-grade 3),
  • Type 09 (secondary - grades 6-12),
  • Type 10 (special - grades K-12),
  • Type 10 (special education - birth through age 21),
  • Type 73 (school service personnel), and
  • Type 75 (administration).

Illinois also issues time-limited certificates for certain bilingual teachers (Type 29-transitional bilingual), visiting international teachers, and candidates enrolled in an approved alternative route teacher or administrator preparation program.


3. What is required to obtain an Illinois teaching certificates?

A candidate for teacher certification in Illinois must complete an approved certification program at an institution of higher education. For more information, please refer to the Directory of Approved Programs for the Preparation of Educational Personnel in Illinois Institutions of Higher Education, the Guide to Requirements for Certification, Endorsement and Assignment of Teachers, School Service Personnel, and Administrators and the Northern Illinois University Endorsement Application page.

A certification candidate must also pass all of the state-required tests (Basic Skills, content-area and Assessment of Professional Teaching).


4. How does a teacher earn an additional Illinois teaching certificates?

The State Board's new certification requirements state that a second or "subsequent" teaching certificate is to be earned by completing a second approved program, which can be a "focused program."


5. What does it mean to "split" a certificate?

The Special Type 10 certificate covers grades K-12. State law authorizes candidates for a Type 10 to "split" that certificate by replacing it with an elementary certificate (Type 03) and a secondary certificate (Type 09). The two "new" certificates are then endorsed in the subject area or field of study through which the candidate became eligible for the special certificate. For example, a K-12 Type 10 certificate with an art endorsement becomes an elementary and a secondary certificate, each with an art endorsement. The option to split the Type 10 certificate is available only at the time the certificate is issued.


6. Can an individual who obtains an Elementary Certificate by splitting the Special Certificate receive an endorsement for self-contained general elementary education?

No, not without completing an approved program in elementary education.


7. What endorsements are available in Illinois?

Illinois has recently modified its endorsement structure to reflect the content-area standards for Illinois teachers. The new endorsements replaced or modified many of the previous endorsements. To accommodate candidates now in differing states of preparation, higher education institutions have been authorized to use either the old or new endorsements until July 1, 2006.

For information about the new endorsements and those that were replaced, please refer to Part 25, Appendix B of the State Board Administrative Rules.


8. How is a new endorsement added to a teaching certificate?

Eligibility for additional endorsements has historically been determined through transcript review, meaning that State Board staff matched coursework taken by the applicant with the specific coursework (content and distribution) required under the previous rules. Individuals who did not meet all of the coursework and/or testing requirements were issued "deficiency statements" indicating the additional work necessary before the candidate could receive the requested endorsement.

With some exceptions, eligibility for an additional endorsement will soon be available only through an earned major in the subject area or successful passage of the relevant content test plus 24 hours of coursework directly related to the subject area.


9. How can an individual obtain more information about certification and preparation programs in Illinois?

There are three primary sources of information: the educator preparation institutions, the Regional Offices of Education, and the State Board of Education.

The best strategy is to secure general information about certification and preparation opportunities and then meet with a knowledgeable person at the institution and/or Regional Office of Education to explore individual interests, needs, and circumstances.


10. What is the Online Teacher Information System (OTIS)?

The Illinois State Board of Education maintains an electronic file of information on each Illinois certificate holder. Teachers and other certified educators may access their personal files through the Online Teacher Information System (OTIS) and they may give employers access to selected portions of that information.

OTIS is useful to educators and employers because it provides the most up-to-date information on an educator's status. For example, a candidate recommended for certification by entitlement can use OTIS to see that the certificate has been issued, even before the certificate itself reaches the candidate. The system also shows the subject areas in which the teacher is known to be "highly-qualified."

Certification candidates are encouraged to visit the OTIS information site and to establish a personal OTIS account. There is no charge for this service.