Illinois is home to one of the largest public education systems in the United States, supporting over 2 million students, 4,000 schools, and a thousand public school districts. With 135,700 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, especially those who want to teach underserved communities and second-language learners, who comprise a rising percentage of the state’s K-12 student population. With no less than 17 colleges and universities offering at least one online degree in early childhood education across the state, Illinois houses some of the greatest online learning opportunities for early childhood education 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, and specifically the foundational field of early childhood education.
Requirements for Teaching Licensure in Illinois
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) issues professional educator licenses contingent upon meeting six requirements. These six teaching requirements are as follows:
- 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 valide 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 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 ECED-holding Roles in Illinois
- Preschool Teacher: $31,173
- Elementary School Teacher: $56,767
- Public School Teacher: $55,213
- School Principal: $102,675
- Special Education Teacher: $53,202
- ESL Teacher: $45,000
- School Psychologist: $70,000
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.
A scholarship worth full tuition for students who are currently completing or planning to complete a degree and teaching licensure special education in the state of Illinois.
Provides financial aid to current, separated, and retired Illinoisan members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Reserve components of the National Guard. Members must have honorable discharge before separation or retirement to participate in the program, which can offer financial assistance through all phases of earning teaching licensure.
The 5 Best Online Education Degree
Providers in Illinois
Illinois has a total of 17 education degree-granting institutions that provide online education degrees. These range from community colleges offering associates 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.
Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public research university located in the twin Illinois cities of Champaign and Urbana. As the state’s flagship institution, UIUC is is home to one one of the oldest and topmost ranking colleges of education in the nation. Some of University of Illinois’ other academic programs are among the most celebrated in the country, ranking consistently among the United States’ Top 50 schools for several decades. As one of the forerunners of online education, many of UIUC’s degree programs are fully online, making it an excellent choice for early childhood educators who want to pursue any of its eight master’s degrees in subject areas related to their field.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 8 online degree programs in education offer some of the best graduate degree programs in early childhood education in the United States. In addition to the more traditional master’s programs in Education, UIUC’s Master of Education (M.Ed) in Learning Design & Leadership: New Learning (P-12 Education) is especially suited to students who want to start or advance a forward-thinking career in early childhood education, which might lead to more advanced administrative roles as School Principals, Professors of Education, and education policy makers. The M.Ed. in Diversity and Equity Issues in Education is sure to go a long way toward securing higher level employment as one of Illinois’s high-demand second-language educators for underserved communities. Truly, any of UIUC’s graduate programs in education have great potential increase both the job prospects and earning potential of early childhood educators who want to become leaders of their profession.
Established in 1945, Roosevelt University is a private coeducational university with campuses in Chicago and Schaumburg, Illinois. Roosevelt is particularly known for being one of the larger private institutions of higher learning in the state of Illinois, as well as for hosting one of the best colleges of performing arts in the United States. Roosevelt University also ranks consistently among the top 100 Regional Universities in the MIdwest, and a growing portion of Roosevelt students attend online classes and earn online degrees.
Roosevelt University’s 4 online degrees in education offer some of the best undergraduate and graduate programs in early childhood education the state of Illinois. In addition to the traditional master’s degrees in Teaching (MAT), which includes an emphasis in Adolescent Literacy, Roosevelt’s Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in Child and Family Studies offers an excellent pathway to pursuing administrative and leadership roles in the early childhood education arena that may involve counseling families with how to prepare food for and optimally parent their children. The Master of Arts in Human Performance Improvement or Master of Arts in Training and Development also offer unique opportunities for students who might like to pursue graduate work while teaching or working either full- or part-time. All of these options, and their attendant flexibilities, make Roosevelt University a perfect fit for busy working Illinoisans who are looking to add another line to their educational résumés.
Founded in 1920, the University of St. Francis (USF) is a private Catholic university located in Joliet, Illinois. USF is particularly known for serving one of the largest student populations of any online Catholic university in the state of Illinois, as well as the United States, with over 1,900 graduate students who learn off campus and over 250 adult undergraduates who learn off campus. The University of St. Francis also supports a gender-diverse student enrollment, with women comprising nearly two in every three students for the 2016-2017 school year. A growing portion of USF students attend online classes and earn online degrees.
The University of St. Francis’s 6 online degrees in education offer some of the best graduate programs in early childhood education the state of Illinois. In addition to a number of traditional master’s degrees in Education and Teaching, USF’s Master of Education with Teaching Licensure (M.Ed) provides an excellent path to pursue administrative and leadership roles in the early childhood education arena. The Master of Science in Teaching and Learning and the Master of Science for Reading Specialists also offer unique opportunities for students who might like to teach reading, as well as thorough preparation for teaching children while also teaching or working either full- or part-time. All of these options, and their attendant flexibilities, make the University of St. Francis a perfect fit for busy working Illinoisans who are looking to add another line to their educational résumés.
Established in 1895 as a teacher’s college, Eastern Illinois University (EIU) is a public state university located in Charleston, Illinois. EIU is particularly well-known for its large and forward-thinking College of Education, its selective admissions process and long list of notable alumni, as well as for its historical architecture. EIU is one of only a handful of public universities to rank among the Top 5 Best Universities in the midwestern region of the United States. A growing portion of Eastern Illinois University students attend online classes and earn online degrees.
Eastern Illinois University’s 6 online degrees in education offer some of the best undergraduate and graduate programs in early childhood education the United States. In addition to the traditional bachelor’s degrees in Education, which include emphases in Elementary Education and Special Education, St. Thomas University’s unique Master of Science in Counseling offers a specialized pathway to pursuing more administrative and leadership roles in teaching and caring for children with special educational needs. The master’s degrees in Elementary Education or Educational Leadership also offer great opportunities to train for leadership roles in a setting conducive to early childhood education. All of these options, time-tested education pedigree, and their attendant flexibilities, make Eastern Illinois University a perfect fit for busy working Illinoisans who are looking to add another line to their educational résumés.
Founded in 1879, DePaul University is a private Catholic university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is the largest Catholic university in the United States, having traditionally placed an emphasis on enrolling first-generation college students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. DePaul University maintains one of the most specialized education programs for teaching in multicultural urban environments in the state. DePaul also maintains a Continuing and Professional Education programs, which has grown over the past several years to offer courses and certificates in 20 different topic areas.
DePaul University’s 3 online degrees related to early childhood education include the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MA), the Master of Education in Higher Education (M.Ed), and the Master of Science in Sport, Fitness and Recreation Leadership (MS). The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership includes the option to specialize in Higher Education and is ideal for prospective early childhood leaders who want to become professors of early childhood education. The Master of Education in Educational Leadership with the same concentration would help accomplish the same, while also potentially leaving the door open to enter more educational policymaking roles for early childhood educators. And finally, the Master of Science in Sport, Fitness, and Recreation Leadership will prepare prospective early childhood educators to lead physical education for children, as well as enter administrative roles in the same capacity.
Directory of Online Education Degree
Providers in Illinois
|Roosevelt University||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 4|
|University of St Francis||Joliet, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 6|
|Eastern Illinois University||Charleston, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 6|
|DePaul University||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 3|
|University of Illinois at Chicago||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|Olivet Nazarene University||Bourbonnais, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 2|
|National Louis University||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 4|
|Western Illinois University||Macomb, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|Greenville College||Greenville, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 3|
|North Park University||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|Quincy University||Quincy, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|College of DuPage||Glen Ellyn, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|Erikson Institute||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|Knowledge Systems Institute||Skokie, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|
|The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago||Chicago, IL||Online Ed Degrees: 1|