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Special Education




If you are interested in special education certification degree programs, NTEC is a great place to start! There is a national shortage of qualified teachers with a special education certification. To help school districts address that shortage, NTEC offers alternative certification in special education in partnership with National Louis University. The program allows students to work as full-time paid special education teachers after the first term of the program. Contact NTEC to learn more about how you can obtain your teaching license in special education!

The Special Education Program is offered with an option for a Bilingual or ESL Endorsement. If you are bilingual and would like to become a bilingual special education teacher, please contact an NTEC admissions representative. There is especially high demand for bilingual special education teachers. An NTEC admissions representative can help you understand that opportunity and explain the additional requirements for bilingual special education candidates.

How Does it Work?

During the first academic term, candidates take coursework in classroom management, lesson planning and special education methods. After completing that coursework and passing their certification exams, candidates are then eligible to work as full-time paid special education 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 of their two-year teaching experience candidates earn their Special Education license. 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 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 Master's 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 lower than 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 with the writing component within 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 semester of coursework in the alternative certification program
  • Passing scores on Illinois Certification Testing System Test #163 – The Special Education General Curriculum Exam
  • Passing scores on Illinois Certification Testing System Test #155 – The Learning Behavior Specialist I 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 a special education teacher in an Illinois classroom in the 6 county Chicago area

Qualifications to continue Teaching in Year 2

  • Successful completion of all coursework in the alternative licensure program
  • Passing scores on Illinois Certification Testing System Test #188 – Assessment of Professional Teaching Exam for grades K-12
  • Passing scores on the Illinois edTPA exam

Qualifications to earn a full Teaching License and Master's Degree 

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