Frequently Asked Questions

I want to get a secondary science teaching license. What's my first step?

First, browse our programs to see in which area you want to pursue licensure. Then request more information, so we can help determine your best path.

What grades can I teach if I complete the secondary science licensure program?

You'll be able to teach grades nine through 12. There is a different program for middle school licensure (grades five through eight).

How long does the program take?

The licensure program consists of 36 credits and takes four semesters to complete. You can begin the program in the fall semester only.

When do I need to apply?

Applications are accepted from Jan. 1 to March 1 for the fall semester start date. Program cohorts start in the fall semester only. Applications are still accepted after the March 1 deadline and are considered based on clinical placement availability. Learn more about how to apply.

I have a bachelor's degree in science and want to become licensed to teach secondary science. What should I do?

If you have a bachelor’s degree in science (biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology/earth and space science, or physics) you can apply to pursue teacher licensure at NIU. It will take two years to complete the required licensure courses. After we evaluate your transcript, we'll let you know if you need to take additional coursework to satisfy deficiencies.

Get started by requesting more information.

I have a bachelor's degree in an area other than science but want to get an endorsement to teach science. What should I do?

You must be pursuing or planning to pursue a degree in a science area (biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology or physics) before your candidacy will be considered.

What is the difference between a license and an endorsement?

You must have a license in order to teach in an Illinois public school. Licenses include endorsements, which identify the specific areas the holder is qualified to teach.

For example, if you successfully complete our licensure program in biology, you'll receive a Professional Educator License (PEL) for grades nine through 12, with an endorsement in biology. You'll be able to teach all levels of biology (including honors and AP), as well as regular-level classes in other science areas.

You can also earn additional endorsements in other areas.

What endorsements will I have?

Your endorsements will depend on which program you pursue and the specific courses you take. For example, if you successfully complete our licensure program in biology, you'll receive a Professional Educator License (PEL) for grades nine through 12, with an endorsement in biology.

 

We recommend that you pursue at least one additional endorsement.

Should I enroll as an undergraduate, post-graduate or graduate student, or as a student-at-large?

In order to be admitted to a licensure program, you must be admitted to NIU. You must also be admitted to a specific degree program, unless you already hold a bachelor's degree in a science area.

 

You can be admitted to NIU as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate student, or as a student-at-large:

  • Undergraduate: Choose this option if you don't have a college degree. You should declare biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology/earth and space science, or physics as your major.
  • Post-baccalaureate: Choose this option if you already have a bachelor's degree in science. You can complete a second bachelor's degree or simply pursue licensure. Post-baccalaureate students are unable to enroll in graduate-level courses. You can switch from post-baccalaureate to either student-at-large or graduate student. However, you cannot switch back once you have done so.
  • Graduate: Choose this option if you want to obtain a master's or doctoral degree. You don't need to complete a master's degree in order to complete a science licensure program.
  • Student-at-large: Choose this option if you have a bachelor's degree and want to take some graduate courses. This is a good option if you're uncertain about pursuing a master's degree, or if you don't have time to apply for admission to a graduate program. You can switch from student-at-large to graduate student. Any undergraduate coursework you take as a student-at-large will not count toward a master's degree. Students-at-large are the last to sign up for classes, so class availability may be an issue.
Do you have an alternative certification program that will allow me to get certified in less time?

No, NIU does not offer an alternative certification program at this time.

What is the edTPA?

The edTPA is a teacher performance assessment required by the state of Illinois for licensure. You must complete it during your student teaching semester. 

Contact Us

Educator Licensure, Secondary Science
Paul Fix, Assistant Director
LaTourette Hall 207
815-753-6819
pfix@niu.edu