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Elementary Education Degrees in Illinois

You’re looking for a meaningful, rewarding career that makes full use of your talents and puts you in a position to make a difference. You work well with children and you appreciate all the potential they have for learning. If this is you, why not learn more about becoming a teacher in Illinois?

Illinois has a growing population of young families that need access to high-quality schools and passionate teachers. Committing yourself to an education degree may positively benefit your community and your professional future.

Becoming an Elementary Teacher in Illinois

Contacting the top elementary education programs in Illinois should be the first step you take in your search for a degree. There are many undergraduate and graduate teaching programs in Illinois, and only by comparing them can you figure out which one suits you.

Check out our list of elementary education programs and get in touch with those that fit your needs.

Illinois legislators are working on improving teaching outcomes throughout the state. With large cities like Chicago and Springfield, Illinois students must be ready to take on important leadership, engineering, science, and business positions by the time they finish their education. Legislators just introduced a school accountability plan that hopes to close economic and racial achievement gaps (St. Louis Public Radio, 2017). With this plan, they hope to cause academic growth at every level.

Use the resources on this page to find a teaching school you are excited to attend.

Request information on earning a degree in elementary education from Illinois schools.

Getting Your Elementary Education Degree in Illinois

By doing some research ahead of time and learning what it’s like to be an elementary education student in Illinois, you can make sure you have the time and dedication needed to succeed in a teaching program.

First, you should know that all Illinois teachers must have at least a Bachelor’s degree. You may choose to become a licensed teacher with a Master’s degree, but that too requires a Bachelor’s degree first. Choose an undergraduate program in which you major in elementary education. This type of degree focuses on teaching pedagogy and theories, helping you meet the unique learning needs and expectations of elementary students.

From start to finish, a Bachelor’s degree requires approximately four years of study. Over a period of eight semesters, you should earn no fewer than 120 credits. Some Illinois schools require close to 130 or 140 credits for graduation.

The first one or two years of your education may be dedicated to general courses in mathematics, English, science, and history. These topics build a solid foundation for your teaching career and help you hone your critical thinking skills. You may then apply for acceptance to the teaching program. This is mandatory before you take any teaching classes. As a teaching student, you work through a set curriculum of teaching courses that look at childhood development, teaching theories, educational research, and classroom experience.

Elementary Education Course Options in Illinois

  • Teaching Children Mathematics
  • Teaching Elementary Social Studies
  • Teaching Elementary Science
  • Principles of Teaching Literature to Children
  • Teaching Elementary Reading and Language Arts
  • Theory and Practice in Elementary School Teaching

Classroom experience is one of the most essential parts of your teacher training. It takes your educational theories and gives you the opportunity to apply them to different classroom situations. The more time you spend working with students, the more you may be able to adapt to the needs of your place of employment after graduation.

You should get as much classroom time as possible before student teaching, since you already want to be a fairly solid educator when you walk into your student teaching site. You may spend several hundred hours at your student teaching site, since you are in the classroom for over 40 hours per week during this semester.

Financial aid is a determining factor in many students’ school choice. Through the Illinois Federation of Teachers, you may apply for scholarships aimed at those who want to continue working in Illinois after graduation.

Don’t forget to consider Master’s in elementary education programs if you already have your Bachelor’s degree. Master’s-level programs last between two and three years, You need to earn between 30 and 40 credits to get your graduate degree. Rather than focusing only on core teaching skills, you also tackle complex and challenging teaching theories and techniques.

There are a handful of elementary education online degree programs open to Illinois students.

However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to do all of your education online. Classroom education is mandatory for elementary educators, so you need to be able to do your classroom hours at an approved school to earn your degree. You may be able to do your general education and teaching theory courses online, which may offer a fair amount of flexibility to your schedule.

This is an opportunity to create a career you love and make a difference while doing so.

Discover Illinois teaching programs now with the schools listed on this page.

Working as an Elementary Educator in Illinois

Your education is behind you, so the next step is earning your license. This process is regulated by the Illinois State Board of Education. You apply for elementary certification, which permits you to teach kindergarten through ninth grade. Before you get your initial certificate, you have to pass the mandatory PRAXIS exams for general teaching skills and elementary teaching skills.

As you start to find your footing as a new educator, take advantage of the resources available to you. Quite a few organizations and associations aim to support teachers. Look into joining the Illinois Education Association or similar organizations to make your mark as a teacher.

Demand for teachers is expected to remain stable for several years in Illinois.

In the years between 2014 and 2024, job openings for elementary educators may increase by an average of 1580 positions per year (O*Net, 2017). In Illinois, elementary school teachers bring in an average annual salary of $59,680 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Your income may be higher than average if you work in an urban area or if you work in an area with a significant teacher shortage.


Find out how to take your education to the next level and explore teaching opportunities in Illinois.

On this page, compare Illinois teaching programs and get in touch with schools that catch your eye.


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