Specific Teacher Certificates


Early Childhood Certificate (Type 04 - Birth through Grade 3)

Individuals who wish to teach in a preschool program or a general classroom from preschool through grade 3 must meet the general requirements for certification and

  • complete an approved early childhood education program, including 32 semester hours in early childhood education or a major in early childhood education as otherwise defined by the institution,
  • pass the early childhood education content-area test, and
  • pass the early childhood Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT).

Individuals who wish to teach special education in preschool (birth through age 6, excluding kindergarten) must hold either a preschool education certificate or a Special P-21 certificate that has been endorsed for learning behavior specialist I, and they must complete coursework that has been approved by ISBE for a letter of preschool special education. NIU's program carries this approval. For a list of institutions that have been approved to provide a preschool special education approval "program," please refer to the State Board of Education Directory of Approved Programs.


Elementary Certificate (Type 03 - Grades K-9)

Individuals who wish to teach in a general classroom from kindergarten through grade 9 must meet the general requirements for certification and

  • complete an approved elementary education program,
  • pass the elementary education content-area test, and
  • pass the elementary education Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT).

Elementary certificate holders who wish to teach in a departmentalized middle grades setting (grades 5-8) must also hold a middle grade endorsement or otherwise meet the middle grades teaching requirements. See separate section on middle grade requirements.


Secondary Certificate (Type 09 - Grades 6-12)

Candidates for a secondary certificate must meet the general requirements for certification and

  • complete an approved secondary education program, including 32 semester hours in the endorsement area or a major as otherwise defined by the institution,
  • pass the content-area test(s) for the area(s) of specialization, and
  • pass the secondary education Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT).

Secondary certificate holders may teach in grades 6-12 only in the area(s) of endorsement. Endorsement areas include the original area of specialization for the certificate ( e.g ., secondary mathematics) and any additional endorsements subsequently earned by meeting the relevant requirements ( e.g., secondary English language arts).

Secondary certificate holders who wish to teach in a departmentalized middle grades setting (grades 5-8) must also hold a middle grade endorsement or otherwise meet the middle grades teaching requirements. See separate section on middle grade requirements. Note: secondary certificate holders may not teach in grade 5, even with the middle grades endorsement.


Special Certificate (Type 10 - Grades K-12)

Each candidate for a Special K-12 certificate must meet the general requirements for certification and

  • complete an approved K-12 certification program, including 32 semester hours in the area of specialization or a major as otherwise defined by the institution,
  • pass the content-area test(s) for the area(s) of specialization, and
  • pass the special K-12 Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT).

A candidate who has completed the requirements for a special K-12 certificate may choose to replace the K-12 certificate with an elementary certificate (Type 03) and a secondary certificate (Type 09), each endorsed in the area of specialization. This "split" of the special certificate may be done only at the time the special certificate is first issued. The elementary and secondary certificates will then be endorsed for the area of specialization.

K-12 certificate holders who wish to teach in a departmentalized middle grades setting must hold a middle grades endorsement or otherwise meet the special requirements for teaching at this level.


Special Preschool through Age 21 Certificate (Type 10)

The Special P-21 certificate is used exclusively for special education. Each candidate for this certificate must meet the general requirements for certification and

  • complete an approved special education program, including 32 semester hours in the field or a major as otherwise defined by the institution,
  • pass the content-area test(s) for the area(s) of specialization, and
  • pass the Special K-12 Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT).

Special Education certification is guided by special rules commonly known as the "Transition Rules." Candidates are urged to discuss the requirements for teaching special education with an advisor in the College of Education at NIU, a Regional Office of Education, or the State Board of Education.