Are you thinking about becoming a teacher, but want to make sure it's right for you? There are probably a lot of things you're wondering about, like what you'll need to do to be certified to teach, what salaries teachers make, how you can pay for college and others. Use the information below to find the answers to your questions. The academic advisor at the college you're planning to attend can also counsel you about which classes to take to prepare you for your teaching career.
Teacher Preparation and Certification
Before you decide to enter the teaching profession, take advantage of the information provided by the Illinois Career Information System - overviews of different teaching fields, including course planning, employment outlook, working condition and wages. You can also access tools available via the Resources area of the ISAC Student Portal – including Cappex and the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard – to help you locate Illinois colleges that offer degrees in education. Additionally, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Division of Educator Licensure website provides the testing requirements to be certified to teach in Illinois, testing preparation and other valuable information about becoming a teacher.
Teacher education candidates preparing to take the required (unless candidate has an ACT Composite score of 22 or higher on the ACT plus Writing exam) Basic Skills/Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) may find the websites listed below helpful. Additionally, many colleges provide testing tools; check with your advisor for their recommendations.
State of Illinois/ISAC Programs
There are several programs designed specifically to help students studying to become teachers pay for college, including the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program, the Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Program, and the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program. ISAC also offers a program that is available to those who worked, or are working, in the early childhood field, including early childhood teachers – the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program.
The federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program was designed to benefit current and prospective teachers.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Defense offer the Troops to Teachers program to help military personnel begin a new career as teachers in public schools. Illinois Troops to Teachers provides information specific to teaching in Illinois, including teacher certification requirements, information about teaching degree programs and assistance in locating employment opportunities.
A comparison chart provides a side-by-side view of the MTI Scholarship, Illinois SETTW, ECACE Scholarship, Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois, and federal TEACH Grant programs.
Some financial aid programs – including many teacher programs – have requirements that must be fulfilled as a condition to receiving the financial aid. If the conditions are not met, the financial aid received will convert to a loan. Be sure you understand what you’re agreeing to before accepting the award(s). To learn about the requirements associated with ISAC’s programs, refer to our Program Requirements page.
Finding a Teaching Job
Those teaching program recipients who are required to teach as part of their financial aid requirements may find these websites helpful in locating a teacher position in the required field/area.
- Illinois Network of Charter Schools
- School Spring
- Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA)
- K-12 JobSpot
- Noble Network Charter Schools
Loan Cancellation/Forgiveness/Repayment Programs for Teachers
There are also programs available to help teachers repay their student loans after college. The Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers program, the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, and some of the Illinois Loan Repayment/Forgiveness Programs offer options for repayment or cancellation of student loans, based on certain teaching requirements.
- Teacher.org - teacher advocacy site for students interested in considering teaching (and other avenues within the field of Education) as a career