Initial Teaching Certificate


First or Initial Teaching Certificate

Initial teacher certification in Illinois requires that the candidate be of good character, in sound health, a citizen of or legally present in the United States, and at least 19 years of age. In addition, initial teacher certification requires

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree or above;
  • Completion of an approved certification program at an Illinois higher education institution (out-of-state candidates are discussed separately);
  • Completion of a major consisting of 32 semester hours of standards-based coursework in the subject area or an amount otherwise determined by the institution and identified on the transcript;
  • Completion of coursework addressing the psychology, identification, and methods of instruction for the exceptional child, including learning disabled children;
  • Completion of clinical experiences, including pre-student teaching and student teaching;
  • Successful passage of the three required state tests: Basic Skills, Subject Area Test in the major field, and Assessment of Professional Teaching {APT} for the type of certificate
  • Recommendation by the higher education institution that the candidate be certified by the State of Illinois.

Issuance of the certificate is based on notification by the institution that the candidate has met all institutional requirements and is eligible for the designated certificate. This process is known as "entitlement." For additional information, please refer to the Guide to Requirements for Certification, Endorsement and Assignment of Teachers, School Service Personnel, and Administrators and the Northern Illinois University Endorsement Application page.


Subsequent Teaching Certificates

Once a candidate has earned any Illinois teaching certificate, he or she may become eligible for additional or subsequent teaching certificates by completing a "focused certification program."

  • A focused program is an adaptation of the approved certification program. This includes clinical experiences, student teaching, and coursework regarding the exceptional child.
  • The specific requirements for a focused program are defined by each institution and may be tailored to each candidate based on his or her previous education and experience.
  • All candidates for a subsequent certificate must pass the Basic Skills Test, if he or she has not already done so, the content-area test(s) for the desired endorsement, and the Assessment of Professional Teaching required for the level of the desired certificate.

Issuance of subsequent certificates is based on notification by the institution to the State Board of Education that the candidate has met all of the institutional requirements and is eligible for the designated certificate. Subsequent certificates can no longer be obtained through a State Board of Education review of the candidate's transcripts.

See the "Special Programs" section of this website for NIU requirements for a subsequent certificate.