Certified Teacher Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For all Certified Teachers

  1. My certificate is expiring soon or already expired. How do I renew it with ISBE?

How to Renew Your Professional Educator License (PEL) in ELIS – VIDEO

  1. I want to take an additional exam to become certified in another area. How do I do that?

Register for an exam with the Illinois Licensing Testing System

  1. I have passed another context exam. How do I add it to my Professional Educator's License.

How to Add Endorsement to Your Professional Educator License (PEL) in ELS - VIDEO

Not Certified but Want to Teach?

Frequently Asked Questions About Obtaining Certification:

  1. How do I obtain a teaching certification in Illinois?

In Illinois, there are three routes to certification. 1) completing an Illinois Educator Preparation Program; 2) out-of-state reciprocity, and; 3) alternative licensure.

  1. What is alternative licensure?

Alternative (non-traditional) teacher licensure is an option for those who have not completed traditional teacher preparation programs, but have an interest in changing careers and becoming teachers. If you hold at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and wish to pursue a teaching license, alternative licensure may be the right fit for you. District 161 does not endorse a specific program. For a list of authorized programs, visit this link.

Here are additional resources to check out to help you choose the best program for you:



  1. Do you hire alternative licensure teacher candidates?

ABSOLUTELY! Candidates need to provide a letter from their respective university stating that you are eligible to serve as a teacher of record. Alternative licensure candidates are hired as regularly-licensed staff, receive the same salary and benefits, and will receive high-quality mentorship by a high-qualified mentor!

  1. I am a licensed teacher in another state or I completed an out-of-state educator preparation program. How do I obtain my license in Illinois?

Option 1: Reciprocity - You can qualify for the Illinois PEL by submitting the following documents:

  • A copy of your valid, comparable out-of-state license

  • A bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education​

Option 2: ISBE 80-02 - If you completed an approved out-of-state educator preparation program but did not become licensed in that state, you must meet the following requirements to obtain your Illinois PEL: