While the requirements to become an Illinois or Indiana teacher are rigorous, all Chicago corps members end their two-year commitment as certified teachers. Corps members must pass the basic skills assessment (ACT, SAT or Test of Academic Proficiency) and the appropriate content tests for the state in which they’re teaching. Special education, Early Childhood Educattion, Spanish, and bilingual teachers are required to take additional tests. Corps members must also enroll in an alternative certification program with one of our partner universities—Dominican University in Illinois, or Calumet College in Indiana—in order to be qualified to teach. Corps members are assigned to their university partner based on where they are hired to teach.
In Chicago, most corps members receive the state’s Educator License with Stipulations (ELS) during their first year, and then elevate to the Professional Educator License (PEL) before their second year, provided they have fulfilled all coursework, processing, and testing requirements.
In Northwest Indiana, most corps members receive the state’s Transition to Teach license during their first year, which is valid for three years (and renewable), provided they have fulfilled coursework, processing, and testing requirements.
All subject areas can cost up to $18,500 over two years before the possible AmeriCorps education award, so corps members should be prepared to invest that much in certification cost. However, tuition is lower in Indiana based on the different state coursework requirements.