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How to Become a Licensed Preschool Teacher in Illinois

Preschool teachers play a large part in preparing children aged 3 to 4 for entry into the school system. Individuals who wish to become preschool teachers in Illinois can complete a teacher-training program and various tests to obtain certification. There are several certification paths in the training program, depending on the age of the child the individual intends to teach. Candidates who prefer to teach preschoolers need a certification in early childhood education. The Illinois State Board of Education regulates the teaching profession in Illinois.

Register for a teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university. Take the courses required for a teaching certificate in early childhood education. You may complete the program in Illinois, but the state also accepts degrees from out-of-state institutions. Most schools require candidates to pass the Basic Skills test in reading, writing, mathematics and grammar prior to admission.

Take the Illinois Early Childhood Content-Area Test and the Early Childhood Assessment of Professional Teaching test. Candidates must pass these tests to qualify for student teaching.

Complete a student teaching program in a preschool class. Candidates gain experience under the supervision of a licensed teacher and the program director. Candidates can complete the program in 12 weeks to one year.

Apply for your initial Illinois teacher certification. Your school may submit Illinois State Board of Education form 73.03 to the Illinois State Board on your behalf or you may submit it yourself. If you must submit the form yourself, you may download it from the ISBE website. Submit the form to the university certification officer, who must verify that you have completed the course requirements. Submit the form, along with your official transcript and a $30 filing fee, to the ISBE regional office in your area.

Wait to receive a temporary employment authorization from the ISBE. You can accept work with this document while you wait for the ISBE to print and send your certificate.

Register your certificate with the Regional Office of Education in the area where you are employed. Teachers pay a $5 registration fee for each year of the certificate’s validity.

Apply for a standard certificate when you have gained four years of teaching experience.


Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.