Illinois Alternative Certification Programs

(found programs from 19 schools)

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.

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.

Schools in Illinois:

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