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Licensure Questions

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Earning Your Professional Educator License

A significant factor in the distinctiveness and success of Wheaton's Department of Education is having a dedicated full-time Licensure Officer on our faculty to serve both current students and alumni. 

Earning your initial teaching license can bring up a lot of questions about what, where and when you can start teaching. We're here to help. If you have any licensure questions that are not answered here, please email the Licensing Officer or the Education Department office.

Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) website, provides educators information on requirements to become a licensed teacher in the state of Illinois. ISBE suggests staying informed with requirement changes as rules/legislation may change.

Earning Your Initial License

A Professional Educator License (PEL) must be obtained to serve as a teacher in a public school in the state of Illinois. As described on the ISBE website: “A PEL serves as a foundation to which any teaching endorsement can be added after applicable coursework and testing are completed.” Once an educator holds an initial PEL, one or more content area subsequent endorsements may be added to the PEL if the applicable coursework and testing are completed. The PEL will be endorsed with specific content areas and grade level ranges in which the educator is eligible to teach.

Example: Professional Educator License with Elementary Education for Grades 1-6 and Middle Grade Language Arts for Grades 5-8

Initial Content Area Test: Educator candidates must register, take, and pass their initial PEL content area test prior to student teaching. The Education Department will keep candidates informed of any changes to the testing timeline.

Subsequent Endorsement Content Area Tests -Educator candidates must register, take, and pass any subsequent endorsement content area tests prior to the entitlement process to add these endorsements to their initial teaching license, PEL. The Education Department will keep candidates informed of any changes to the testing timeline.

Candidates can visit the Illinois Licensure Testing System website for testing instructions, registration and study materials.

Once an educator candidate completes all licensure requirements for Wheaton College and ISBE, the Licensure Officer, Mrs. Karen Felker, will complete the electronic entitlement process through ISBE. When the entitlement process is completed, the Licensure Officer will send an email notice to the educator candidate to complete the 2-step application and registration process using the ISBE Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) for their PEL to be issued and valid. Only then should educator candidates apply/register their teaching license, PEL. Do not attempt to apply for your license early. The Licensure Officer will contact you to start the process.

Helpful Links for when you're eligible

  • Entitlement: directions on “How to apply for an Entitlement and Register for a PEL.”
  • Licensure: directions that explain the 2-step application and registration process 
  • Substitute Teaching: directions and information on “How to Become a Substitute Teacher.”

 

The PEL will be issued and valid once the educator completes the 2-step application and registration process through the ISBE Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS). The educator’s ELIS Account Credentials screen is the official teaching license, Professional Educator License. ISBE does not send educators a hard copy of their teaching license. Once the PEL is issued and valid and a “Registered Through” date is displayed in the educator’s ELIS Account Credentials screen, the candidate may apply for jobs. If an educator candidate is anticipating program completion and not yet holding an issued and valid PEL, the job application process may still begin and then update it when the teaching license is issued and valid.

The edTPA, required teacher performance assessment, is completed during student teaching. This licensure test must be passed and the score deposited into the educator candidate’s ISBE ELIS Account prior to the entitlement process for holding a teaching license, PEL. If an educator candidate does not pass the edTPA, the Education Department will work with the candidate to complete the resubmission process.

Adding Subsequent Endorsements

The Illinois State Board of Education frequently changes the course and/or testing requirements for adding a subsequent endorsement. For the most current information, please visit their website pages related to adding subsequent endorsements here

Wheaton has specific courses for some additional endorsements. These course sheets meet the state requirements to add the subsequent endorsement

Yes! Once an educator holds an issued and valid Professional Educator License (PEL) in a teaching field, one or more subsequent endorsements in specific content areas may be added to the PEL if the applicable coursework and required tests are completed. Subsequent endorsements may be added after program completion but is an extra cost per endorsement. The Licensure Officer will complete the entitlement process and notify educator candidates by email when to complete the 2-step application and registration process.

Transferring your License

Educators applying for a teaching license outside the state of Illinois are to refer to the state reciprocity page and/or the state education agency for information and requirements to transfer a teaching license. Stay informed as rules/legislation may change and vary from state-to-state. If a state verification form is required to be completed by Wheaton College for verification of program completion, first contact then Registrar's Office. The Registrar’s Office works with the Licensure Officer for completion of the verification forms as needed.

Whether the edTPA is required varies from state to state. Several states do require the edTPA in various capacities. Candidates are to refer to the state education agency website in which they seek employment. The website will include licensure requirements for transferring a license and information on state reciprocity. If candidates have questions, they are to contact the state education agency in which they seek a teaching position.