Alternative Teacher Certification Programs in Illinois
Illinois has offered alternative paths to teacher certification since 1999. It issued more than 600 such certificates in 2008-2009 alone, according to the National Center for Alternative Certification.
The Illinois Department of Education lists three primary alternate routes to the classroom. Two - the Alternative Teacher Certification program and the Alternate Route to Teacher Certification - are nearly identical.
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Candidates for these programs must have a bachelor's degree and at least five years of professional work experience - although the work experience requirement is waived for programs run through the City of Chicago schools. They also must pass the Illinois basic skills and subject matter knowledge tests.
Successful applicants receive a one-year, nonrenewable provisional alternative teaching certificate and enroll in a compacted teaching methods and pedagogy course series. Upon completion, they teach full-time for one year. If their teaching is deemed satisfactory, participants are recommended for an initial alternative teaching certificate that is good for four years.
Candidates who don't have five years of professional work experience and/or are interested in a master's degree might consider the Resident Teacher Certification option. This program is offered through a partnership between non-profit organizations and accredited institutions with Master of Education programs. In lieu of work experience, aspiring teachers can participate in a one-year teaching internship program arranged by their higher education institution and approved by the state board. Resident teachers must enroll in an approved Master of Education degree program and complete a six-week summer training program before beginning teaching.
One option in this category is the Chicago Academy for Urban School Leadership, which prepares teachers to work in urban schools. Participants may be eligible for substantial financial assistance toward completing their master's degree, but they must commit to teaching for four years in a high-need school.
Learning Outcomes for Alternative Certification Programs in Illinois
While there are a variety of Illinois alternative teacher certification programs for teachers, the majority have fairly similar learning outcomes. These outcomes are in line with the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards, which are meant to prepare students for their teacher certification exams. One of the most prominent goals of these programs is to graduate students that are ready to teach diverse students. This includes understanding different types of diversity, knowing how these differences can impact a student's learning, and being able to reach students regardless of what perspectives they hold. It's also essential for teaching students to develop a strong knowledge of their content area and, more specifically, how to teach that content to students in different ways.
Illinois teacher certification programs aim to teach students how to look out for student feedback as they work. These performance indicators may report how well students are learning, if they are engaged, and if students feel respected in their classroom. Using this input effectively involves tailoring content to students' needs and changing up teaching strategies as needed. Perhaps one of the most crucial learning outcomes of teacher certification programs is the ability to create a healthy, age-appropriate learning environment. Building an environment that plays to students' strengths, needs, interests, and experiences can lead to a more enriching educational experience. Learn more about alternative teaching certification in Illinois to turn your current bachelor's degree education into a career in the classroom.
Schools in Illinois:
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