Licensure and Endorsements


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

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

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

For example, a candidate who completes a secondary licensure program in mathematics will receive a license endorsed in secondary mathematics (grades 9-12). If that person later meets the requirements for an endorsement in English Language Arts, the new endorsement would be added to the license.

2. What is required to obtain an Illinois teaching license?

A candidate for teacher licensure in Illinois must complete an approved licensure 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.

A licensure candidate must also pass all of the state-required tests (Test of Academic Proficiency and edTPA).

3. How can an individual obtain more information about licensure 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 licensure 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.

4. What is the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS)?

The Illinois State Board of Education maintains an electronic file on each Illinois license holder. Upon admission to a licensure program, you should create an ELIS account by going to the ISBE website and selecting ELIS/Educator Credentials at the top. Go through Educator Access and then choose “Sign Up Now” on the left side to create an account for the first time. This step is free of charge.

Subsequently, educators may access their personal files through ELIS to check that ISBE has received test results and transcripts. After the licensure program is completed, an entitlement for a license and the program’s associated endorsements will appear in ELIS. The educator will then apply for and register the license/endorsements via ELIS. There are fees associated with these steps.

Employers will be able to check an educator’s credentials in ELIS to affirm he/she has a license with appropriate endorsements and areas in which they are “highly qualified.” The general public (for example, parents of school children) will also have limited access to view an educator’s credentials via ELIS.