Illinois is home to one of the largest public education systems in the United States, supporting over 2 million students, 4,000 schools, and over 800 public school districts. With 130,000 teachers, Illinois public schools have a student-teacher ratio of approximately 15:1, which compares favorably with the national average of 16:1.
And as an up-and-coming state in the sphere of private education, one that has emerged as a leader in the Midwest, the Land of Lincoln has become a popular destination for teachers who want to be on the frontlines of educational innovation. This is especially true for those who want to teach underserved communities and second-language learners. These groups comprise a rising percentage of the state’s K-12 student population. With no less than 12 colleges and universities offering at least one online degree in education across the state, Illinois houses some of the greatest online learning opportunities for educators in the United States. And due to the ever-increasing size of the education infrastructure in almost every state, earning a degree from a top-tier Illinois university goes a long way toward establishing one’s credentials as a leader in the industry.
Requirements for Teaching Licensure in Illinois
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issues professional educator licenses contingent upon meeting six requirements.
- Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree: Earn at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- Complete an Educator Preparation Program: As part of a degree program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education, complete 32 semester hours, or a major in early childhood education.
- Gain Student Teaching Experience: Teach for an approved educator preparation program. All accredited Illinois schools that offer degrees in early childhood education offer some form of educator preparation or student teaching experience.
- Pass Licensure Tests: Take and pass teacher licensure tests in Basic Skills, the early childhood education (ECE) Content Area, and professional teaching assessment, or edTPA. These three tests are organized according to content area and grade level and require approval before testing.
- Submit a State Application: Apply to be licensed after earning degree, completing educator preparation, and passing all tests for licensure in early childhood education. Verify eligibility for certification with preparation program prior to submitting application.
- Register License: Follow the license registration procedures on the Illinois State Board of Education website to be valid for employment.
Online Education Program Admission Requirements
Admission requirements for online degree programs depend on the degree sought. Students applying for an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education must have at least a high school diploma, GED, or 60 transferable credit hours from an accredited community college, preferably with an emphasis in education, in order qualify for admission to an undergraduate program. Students applying for an online master’s degree in early childhood education must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably with a major in education or a related field in order to qualify for admission. Illinois’s doctoral programs generally have the same requirements for admission as those for master’s degrees, albeit with the added requirement of a master’s degree to qualify. Most graduate programs in early childhood education require the GRE, although some may not.
Average Salaries for Common Educator Roles in Illinois
- Preschool Teacher: $37,480
- Elementary School Teacher: $67,840
- Middle School Teacher: $67,520
- School Principal: $106,230
- Special Education Teacher: $59,920
- High School Teacher: $72,480
- School Psychologist: $76,170
Scholarships for Future Educators in the State of Illinois
A scholarship program worth up to $23,000 of tuition to identify and help fund high school seniors and first or second-year colleges students who have what it takes to become excellent teachers at high-need schools and underserved communities.
The 5 Best Online Education Degree
Providers in Illinois
Illinois has a total of 12 education degree-granting institutions that provide online education degrees. These range from community colleges offering an associate in early childhood development or human services, to nationally ranked universities that offer a wide spread of masters level and education endorsement-level programming. While future students may want to go to the “best” online institution in their state for education degrees, they should take some to double check what exact degrees are offered by their institution of choice at the directory of all online education degrees at the bottom of the page. To select the following top five universities, we’ve looked at two factors: the number of fully online education degrees offered by an institution, and an “academic prestige” score. The academic prestige score takes into account metrics such as average amount of financial need received, average class sizes, admissions standards, and the percentage of faculty holding terminal degrees in their field. Also note that the tuition numbers below are just indicators of relatively how expensive or affordable a college is. The tuition numbers below, specifically, are the in-state (where applicable) undergraduate yearlong tuition rates for education degrees. Many universities, however, have similar tuition rates at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Consider the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) if you’re passionate about advancing your career in early childhood education. Established in 1867, UIUC is a public research university located in Champaign and Urbana, making it the flagship institution of the state. What sets UIUC apart is its prestigious College of Education, one of the oldest and top-ranking in the nation.
UIUC has been consistently making waves with its academic programs, many of which rank among the Top 50 programs in the country. As a pioneer in online education, UIUC offers an excellent opportunity for early childhood educators. They offer nine fully online graduate degrees waiting for you to explore and elevate your expertise.
Now, let’s talk specifics. UIUC’s Master of Education (MEd) in Learning Design & Leadership is perfect for those aiming for a progressive career in early childhood education. If you’re looking to make a significant impact in underserved communities, the MEd in Diversity and Equity in Education is your golden ticket to higher-level employment as a second-language educator in demand across Illinois.
The bottom line? UIUC’s graduate programs in education are not just degrees; they are pathways to leadership in your profession. They not only enhance job prospects but also increase earning potential. It’s time to take the next step in your journey and choose UIUC for a brighter future in early childhood education.
Roosevelt was established in 1945 and has a long history of academic excellence. As a private coeducational institution with campuses in Chicago and Schaumburg, Illinois, Roosevelt is not just a university; it’s your gateway to a brighter future. Recognized as one of the larger private institutions in the state, Roosevelt takes pride in hosting one of the best colleges of performing arts in the United States.
If you’re considering a degree in early childhood education, Roosevelt University has got your back. Their three online degrees are not just good; they are among the best in Illinois. The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) covers everything, from Second Language Special Education to Training and Development. But wait, there’s more! The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in Child and Family Studies is your ticket to making a real impact on the lives of children and families.
These online programs are designed for people like you—busy, working students who want to add another line to their educational résumés. Whether you want to teach or work full- or part-time, Roosevelt University offers the flexibility you need. It’s time to invest in yourself, and Roosevelt is the perfect fit to make it happen. Choose excellence, choose Roosevelt University for your educational journey.
Discover the possibilities at University of St. Francis (USF), a private Catholic university with a legacy since 1920. USF stands out as a leading online Catholic university in Illinois, serving a vast student community of over 1,900 graduate students and 250 adult undergraduates who choose to learn off-campus. Distinguished for its commitment to diversity, USF boasts a gender-inclusive student body, with nearly two-thirds being women for the 2022-23 academic year. USF understands the demands of busy lives, and that’s why an increasing number of students are opting for online classes and earning degrees remotely.
USF offers an incredible 20 online degrees, making it a powerhouse for the best graduate programs in education in Illinois. If you’re eyeing teaching and leadership roles in early childhood education, the Master of Education with Teaching Licensure (MEd) at USF is your golden ticket. But wait, there’s more! USF’s programs cover a range of areas including:
- differentiated instruction
- instructional coaching
- best practices
Whether you’re a busy working individual looking to enhance your educational résumé, USF’s options and their flexible structures are tailored just for you. It’s time to take that next step toward your educational goals with the University of St. Francis. Your future in education starts here.
Immerse yourself in the legacy of Eastern Illinois University (EIU), a public state university that traces its roots back to 1895 as a teacher’s college. Nestled in Charleston, Illinois, EIU stands out with its expansive and forward-thinking College of Education which features:
- a selective admissions process
- a roster of distinguished alumni
- captivating historical architecture
EIU holds a prestigious spot among the Top 100 Best Universities in the midwestern region of the United States, a testament to its enduring commitment to academic excellence. Notably, a growing number of EIU students are seizing the opportunity to attend online classes and earn degrees remotely.
EIU is your gateway to success with eight online degrees in education, spanning areas such as:
- music education
- college student affairs
- curriculum and instruction
If you’re envisioning a teaching career with the youngest learners, the online MSE in curriculum and instruction is tailored just for you.
Prospective students should take note of the time-tested education pedigree and flexibility that EIU offers. If you’re a busy working individual aiming to enhance your educational résumé, EIU is your ideal match. It’s time to elevate your career, and Eastern Illinois University is here to make it happen.
DePaul University is a private Catholic institution with a rich history since 1879, situated in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. Notably, DePaul stands as the largest Catholic university in the United States. It’s a beacon for first-generation college students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
DePaul’s commitment to specialized education programs tailored for teaching in multicultural urban environments sets it apart. What’s more, the Continuing and Professional Education program has expanded to offer a diverse range of courses and certificates in 20 different areas, ensuring you get the skills you need for success.
If you’re considering online education, DePaul has got you covered with 12 online degrees in education. Programs in areas like organizational leadership and curriculum studies are just a click away. Early childhood educators, this is for you too! DePaul offers both an MA and MEd in early childhood education. Online students enjoy personalized attention from professors and valuable connections to the professional education community.
Sure, tuition might be a bit higher, but let’s talk value. If you’re seeking a quality education from a leading Catholic university, DePaul is the place for you. It’s not just a university; it’s your pathway to a brighter future in education.
Directory of Online Education Degree
Providers in Illinois
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign County, IL
|Online Ed Degrees: 9
|Online Ed Degrees: 3
|National Louis University
|Online Ed Degrees: 32
|Online Ed Degrees: 2
|Online Ed Degrees: 11
|Online Ed Degrees: 2
|The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago
|Online Ed Degrees: 1