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Elementary Education




NTEC offers an alternative certification program for elementary teachers. The program, offered by National Louis University, allows you to pursue an elementary education degree and earn your Illinois teaching license.*

Because of the current shortage of bilingual teachers in Illinois, all students in this alternative certification program will also earn Bilingual or ESL Endorsement.

Pursue your elementary education degree with NTEC and prepare to become an elementary teacher! Contact us to learn more.

How Does it Work?

During the first academic term of the program, candidates take coursework in classroom management, lesson planning and early childhood education methods. After completing that coursework and passing their certification exams, candidates are eligible to work as full-time teachers with a two-year license. Candidates continue teaching for two years while taking the additional coursework required to earn an Illinois teaching license. At the end for their two-year teaching experience candidates earn their Early Childhood Education license and their ESL endorsement. Candidates who pass the required language test also earn a Bilingual endorsement. Since the Alternative Certification Program is a graduate level program all candidates who successfully earn their license also earn a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University. 

Click here for a more complete description of the Alternative Certification Program.

Candidates who do not get a teaching job after their first semester of coursework in the alternative certification program may transfer their credits into the traditional master's with certification program at National Louis University. In that program candidates complete their course credit and an unpaid student teaching assignment before earning their teaching license and a masters degree.


Qualifications for Admission

  • An undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university or the verified overseas equivalent of the same, with a major in the content areas of Reading, Math, Language Arts, or one of the Sciences (transcript review available if your major does not match one of these areas)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (Candidates with a GPA between a 2.5 and 3.0 may be considered for admission with the contingency of a review after taking 4 courses in the program)
  • Passing score on the Test of Academic Proficiency OR a score of 22 or better on the ACT taken within the writing component with the last ten (10) years OR a passing score on the Basic Skills Test within the past 10 years

Qualifications to begin Teaching

  • Successful completion of all coursework in the first term of the alternative certification program
  • Passing scores on Illinois Certification Testing System Test #110 – The Elementary Content Exam 
  • Bilingual teachers must also pass the Target Language Proficiency (TLP) Exam. Please consult an NTEC admissions representative before registering for the TLP as the test numbers are confusing
  • A job offer as an elementary or elementary bilingual teacher in the 6 county Chicago area

Qualifications to continue Teaching in Year 2

  • Successful completion of all coursework in the alternative certification program
  • Passing scores on Illinois Certification Testing System Test #188 – Assessment of Professional Teaching Exam 
  • Passing scores on the Illinois edTPA Exam

Qualifications to earn a Full License and Master's Degree 

  • Successful completion of all coursework and classroom teaching in the alternative licensure program


* The reauthorization of the Alternative Elementary Education program is currently under review at ISBE.