Licensure Process

Q: How do I get admitted into one of your educator licensure programs?

A: Varies by program. See program websites for information.

Q: What are the requirements for educator licensure?

A: Initial educator licensure in Illinois requires that the candidate be of good character, in sound health, a citizen of or legally present in the United States, and at least 19 years of age. In addition, initial educator licensure requires

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree or above;
  • Completion of an approved licensure program at an Illinois higher education institution (out-of-state candidates are discussed separately);
  • Completion of a major consisting of a minimum of 32 semester hours of standards-based coursework in the subject area or an amount otherwise determined by the institution and identified on the transcript;
  • Completion of coursework addressing the psychology, identification, and methods of instruction for the exceptional child, including learning disabled children;
  • Completion of clinical experiences, including pre-student teaching and student teaching;
  • Successful passage of the three required state tests: Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), Subject Area Test in the major field, and Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT);
  • Recommendation by the higher education institution that the candidate be licensed by the State of Illinois.

Issuance of the licensure is based on notification by the institution that the candidate has met all institutional requirements and is eligible for the designated license. This process is known as "entitlement." For additional information, please refer to the ISBE Guide to Requirements and the Northern Illinois University Endorsement Application page.

Q: How long will it take to become licensed?

A: Varies by program. See program websites for information.

Q: What grade levels will I be prepared to teach after completing one of your programs?

A: Successful completion of all programs except Foreign Languages will give you a Type 09 teaching license, which will allow you to teach grades 6-12. The Foreign Language program is K-12 (Type 10 license). Please be advised that licensure programs are under review by the State of Illinois. New requirements will be posted as they become available.

Q: Will my license include a middle school endorsement?

A: Yes. Currently any candidate completing one of our programs will meet the requirements for a middle school endorsement. 

Q: When should I take the state tests and how do I register for them?

A: Contact program advisor.

Q: How much does it cost to attend NIU?

A: The cost of a college education includes tuition, fees, housing and/or travel, and many other variables. Specific information about these costs can be obtained from the Office of the Bursar.

State law requires that Illinois residents enrolling for the first time at NIU (or other state university) as degree-seeking undergraduate students in or after the fall semester be charged a fixed tuition rate schedule for four continuous years, beginning with their initial enrollment. This will help candidates plan for the costs of obtaining a license through NIU.

Q: Is there financial aid available to those seeking licensure?

A: The NIU Financial Aid Office provides information to students regarding the financial aid process. In addition, the departments with secondary science licensure programs also have scholarships available for those pursuing licensure. Talk to the appropriate Discipline Coordinator for more information and to see if you qualify.

Q: Do I need a new TB test every year?

A: Yes, TB tests are good for one year and will have to be current any time you enter a clinical site (school). For more information, go to the Tuberculosis Test Requirements page. 

Clinicals & Student Teaching

Q: When are applications due for the clinicals (ILAS 201, ILAS 301) and Student Teaching?

A: Varies by program. See program websites for information.

Q: What districts does NIU work with in placing students for clinicals and student teaching?

A: The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences works with over 150 districts and over 200 schools to place candidates for clinicals and student teaching. For our introductory clinical (ILAS 201), we primarily work with local, partner districts, such as Sycamore CUSD #427, Rochelle Township HSD #212, Rochelle CCSD #231, Kaneland CUSD #302 and Genoa-Kingston CUSD #424. For our second clinical we work with Rockford SD #205, Elgin CUSD #46, East Aurora CUSD #131, Keeneyville Elem SD #20, and DeKalb CUSD #428 (primarily for candidates in the tutoring program). For final clinical and student teaching placements, we can work with most districts and schools in the northern Illinois area. We primarily try to place student teachers within a 60 mile drive from where they intend to live during their clinical experiences and student teaching.

Q: Can I arrange my own placement for clinicals and/or student teaching?

A: No. All placements are arranged by the university through the college Office of Secondary School Partnerships & Clinical Experiences. Candidates are not allowed to contact districts/schools on their own.

Q: Does NIU provide transportation to schools?

A: No, candidates are responsible for their own transportation to and from all clinical sites. Also, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences does not provide university loaner/rental vehicles to candidates.


Q: What can I do to increase my chances of getting a job upon completion of the program?

A: It helps to become licensed in two or more areas, especially if you are planning to teach at the middle school level. Also, for English majors and those candidates planning to teach at the middle school level, it is helpful to get a reading endorsement. Proficiency in a second language (ideally Spanish) is also useful.

Q: What type of help is available for getting a job?

A: You will receive assistance from the office of Career Services and your advisor. Career Services offers credential file management, resume and cover letter reviews, practice interviews, and educator job fairs free of charge to NIU students and recent alumni.

Q: What salary can I expect?

A: For information related to teacher salaries refer to the most recent Illinois Teacher Salary Study.


Q: What is the difference between a license and an endorsement?

A: A "license" is required for an individual to teach in an Illinois public school. An "endorsement" is a descriptor that is placed on a license to identify and limit the specific areas in which the individual is qualified to teach in conjunction with that license. For example, a candidate who completes a secondary licensure program in biology will receive a Secondary license (Type 09) endorsed in biology. If that person later meets the requirements for an endorsement in chemistry, a chemistry endorsement would be added to the Secondary License.

Q: Can I get credit for my work or substitute teaching experience?

A: Possibly, but it will not substitute for the 32 or more credit hours required in the major field. Under some special circumstances you may receive credit if you hold a valid Illinois teaching license (Elementary, Special, or Substitute). Contact a program coordinator or advisor for more information.

Q: What is a "highly-qualified" teacher in Illinois, and how does a teacher earn that status?

A: In response to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the State Board of Education has established criteria for teachers to be considered "highly-qualified." The state criteria are aligned with the federal requirements and are intended to provide educators and school districts with guidance for assuring that all teachers in core academic subject areas are "highly-qualified" in each area of teaching responsibility. To learn more, please refer to the Part 25, Appendix D of the State Board Administrative Rules

Q: I want to teach outside of the State of Illinois. How do I find out what is required in other states?

A. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) website provides links to the licensure departments in all states and territories.