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Illinois Teacher Certification Requirements

Testing

Candidates for teacher certification/licensure must take and pass three tests. These three tests are required by the Illinois State Board of Education and should be taken at specific points in your program. All of these tests are administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System (formerly the Illinois Certification Testing System). Learn more about these tests and when you can take them.

Basic Skills Test or Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)

Official passing scores from the Basic Skills Test or the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) must be submitted before you’re admitted to the School of Education, typically in the second semester of sophomore year for undergraduate students. Certification-only and master’s level students must submit their scores on this exam in order for an admissions decision to be made.

The Illinois State Board of Education may accept ACT Plus Writing (composite score of 22) and SAT (composite score of 1030 on critical reading and mathematics) score reports that are up to 10 years old. The official score report cannot be more than 10 years old (month/year) at the time of the application (ISBE form 73-60 or 73-54) and submission to ISBE and must include a score on a writing component. Learn more from ISBE.

Content Test

Students in all programs must pass the content test before beginning student teaching. The content tests are specific for each certificate, e.g., early childhood, elementary, biology, mathematics, etc.

Assessment for Professional Teaching (APT)

This test should be taken during student teaching and must be passed before you can become certified/licensed. This test assesses knowledge of the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards.

Coursework

The Illinois State Board of Education requires teacher preparation and subject area coursework for teacher certification. You’ll also complete the Core Curriculum program for your degree from North Park University, enhancing your critical thinking and writing skills and exposing you to a broad range of subjects.

Subject Area Courses

All teacher candidates are required to have a certain number of semester hours in a subject area approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. Specific requirements are based on the certification/licensure being pursued, and the requirements must be completed prior to student teaching.

  • Early Childhood and Elementary Certification: 18 semester hours
  • Secondary Certification: Minimum of 36 semester hours
  • K-12 Certification: Minimum of 36 semester hours

Teacher Preparation Courses

Your foundation for a career in teaching will be built on a number of courses that will teach you how to be an effective educator and include content in all educational areas including curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology, and psychology. Your education coursework will consist of 33 to 43 semester hours of coursework, depending on the type of certification you wish to pursue. Your area of concentration or a second major are an additional 18 to 36 (or more) semester hours of coursework.

Academic Planning Guides

The actual courses required in each of these areas varies by the program or degree you choose. Review the program requirements for each of our education programs, and download the academic planning guides for easy reference.

Classroom Experiences

All teacher candidates must also complete three classroom experiences: teacher aiding, mini-teaching, and student teaching. Learn more about these requirement for North Park’s education majors.
Illinois Teacher Certification