How to Become a Teacher in Chicago (2023)

If you are interested in working in an urban school environment, Chicago is a great place to look for teaching opportunities. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third-largest school district in the country and includes over 500 public elementary and secondary schools and over 100 charter schools.1 You will need at least a bachelor’s degree and an educator license to apply for public school teaching jobs in Chicago. Preparing a professional application package will be an important step towards securing a teaching job in the Chicago area. You might also consider working in private and charter schools in Chicago, which have different requirements. Read on for more information.

Chicago Teacher Certification Requirements

To become a teacher in Chicago through the traditional route, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher preparation program, and pass several tests demonstrating your literacy skills, subject area knowledge, and teaching proficiency. The educator preparation program will include hands-on experience through a student teaching placement. You must complete all the program requirements with a ‘C’ grade or higher to apply for licensure. Further detailed information can be found on our Illinois certification page.

It is also possible to earn your license through an approved alternative program. This option is available if you have a bachelor’s degree in a content area but did not complete teacher preparation. There are many different alternative programs that typically require you to complete coursework and pass content assessments before beginning a student teaching placement. Refer to our Illinois alternative certification page for more information.

Teacher Certification Programs in Chicago

To help you find state-approved teacher preparation programs, we have compiled the following list of approved programs in Chicago. These programs can prepare you for first-time certification or for additional endorsements. You can also read more about teaching programs statewide on our Illinois schools page.

  • Chicago State University
  • City Colleges of Chicago Harry S. Truman College
  • Concordia University-Chicago
  • DePaul University
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • National Louis University
  • North Park University Chicago
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • Roosevelt University
  • Saint Xavier University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Vandercook College of Music


Chicago School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher

All Chicago teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate issued by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Teacher hiring for all public and many charter and magnet schools in Chicago is centralized through CPS. The CPS Teach Chicago initiative provides a wealth of further resources for applicants, including recruiters to help candidates through the process.

Step 1: Apply to the Teacher Quality Pool.

Before you can apply for Chicago teaching jobs, you need to be accepted by the school board into the Teacher Quality Pool (TQP) on the Chicago Public Schools Careers website. This is a pre-screening measure and does not guarantee that you will receive a job offer. The TQP application includes a 10- to 15-minute interview offered in person, via telephone, or via webcam depending on individual circumstances. Applicants must provide two letters of reference.

Step 2: Complete your teacher profile.

Once you are accepted into the Teacher Quality Pool, you can complete your online profile and search for open jobs. Schools hire teachers directly in Chicago, therefore you will need to apply to each job individually.

Step 3: Attend an interview with a school leader or panel.

A school may contact you for an interview if your application is a good match for the open position for which you applied. Interviews for teaching positions typically focus on your teaching experience, subject area knowledge, and preferred teaching methods to see if you are a good fit for the institution. Many schools will require delivery of a sample lesson and lesson plan as part of the interview process so that they can get a sense of your teaching style.

Step 4: Complete the hiring process.

If you are offered a position, it will likely be contingent on passing a background check. Then, you will connect with the human resources department to complete tax paperwork, set up an official school email address and payroll deposit, and complete any other necessary administrative requirements before your first day. Note that CPS teachers must establish residency within the City of Chicago within six months of hire.

Contact Information

Chicago Public Schools

42 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60602
(773) 553-1000

How to Become a Substitute Teacher with Chicago Public Schools

To work as a substitute teacher in Chicago, you will need an Illinois Substitute Teacher License. To be eligible for this license, you must have a bachelor’s degree. You can apply online through the Educator Licensure Information System by completing the application form online, mailing your official transcript, and paying the $100 fee. The license is valid for five years, at which point you will be allowed to renew the license.

CPS hires two types of substitutes: day-to-day subs, who fill in on an as-needed/as-available basis, and full-time subs, known as CPS Core Cadres. CPS Core Cadres substitute teachers are typically full-time (at least three days per week) in the same school, and may receive long-term monthly assignments. You can read more about these opportunities on the CPS website.


Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in Chicago

Private and charter schools in Chicago set their own hiring requirements and qualifications; however, many schools prefer to hire teachers with state licensure to ensure they are knowledgeable and well-prepared for classroom leadership. A bachelor’s degree in a content-specific area is likely the minimum requirement for these jobs. Contact private and charter schools directly to learn about job opportunities and hiring procedures. Private schools and charter schools often require families to apply for spaces and may have additional admission requirements based on the school specialty or reputation. Here are some well-known schools in the Chicago area.

The Largest K-12 Schools in Chicago

The following table is designed to help you compare public, private, and charter schools in the city of Chicago that may be hiring teachers.

SchoolTypeGrade Level# StudentsStudent-Teacher
Sawyer Elementary SchoolPublicK-81,55223:1
Richard Edwards IB Fine and Performing Arts Dual Language SchoolPublicPK-81,55021:1
Hanson Park Elementary SchoolPublicPK-81,48318:1
Robert Healy Elementary SchoolPublicPK-81,42019:1
G. Armstrong International Studies Elementary SchoolPublicPK-81,41919:1
Mary Lyon SchoolPublicK-81,41120:1
Curie Metropolitan High SchoolPublic9-122,91819:1
Kenwood Academy High SchoolPublic7-121,75619:1
Schurz High SchoolPublic9-121,75117:1
Chicago International Charter SchoolCharterK-128,55650:1
Youth Connection Charter SchoolCharter9-123,95926:1
University of Chicago Charter SchoolsCharterK-121,81728:1
University of Chicago Laboratory SchoolsPrivatePK-122,0518:1
Marist High SchoolPrivate9-121,75016:1
St. Ignatius College PrepPrivate9-121,40416:1

See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.


Chicago Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook

Of the 50 largest school districts in the US, Chicago Public Schools has the highest pay level for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience.2 Excluding special education, in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area the average salary for elementary teachers is $65,670, for middle school teachers $66,010, and for secondary school teachers $77,760.3 These salaries are slightly above the national and statewide average salaries for teachers.4,5

The Illinois Department of Employment Security projects that teaching positions in Chicago will have stable to moderate growth through 2026.6 Elementary, middle, and secondary school teacher positions are expected to remain stable, with most openings coming from replacements.6 Growth of 8% is projected for preschool teachers, and growth of 2% is projected for kindergarten teachers.6

Chicago Teacher Shortage Areas

The US Department of Education bases some student loan forgiveness programs on teacher shortage areas, meaning that your chances of qualifying for loan forgiveness may be stronger if you are teaching a subject that has been formally identified as a shortage area. You may also qualify for other funding opportunities or a more competitive salary based on your endorsement(s). Note that shortage areas may change from year to year, so you should be sure to check with state education agencies, your selected education program, and your student loan providers about funding options. For the 2017-2018 school year, the following subject areas were recognized as shortage areas in Illinois (statewide):7

  • At-Risk (Pre-K)
  • Art
  • Bilingual Education
  • Career and Technical Educator
  • Computer Literacy/Technology
  • Computer Programming
  • Driver Education
  • Elementary
  • English (Language Arts, Reading)
  • English as a Second Language
  • Foreign Language-Spanish
  • Gifted Education
  • Health Education
  • Mathematics (Algebra, General, Geometry)
  • Music (K-8, Instrumental, Vocal)
  • Physical Education
  • Reading Specialist
  • Science (General, Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Social Science
  • Special Education (Bilingual, Hearing Impairment, Learning Behavior Specialist, Speech and Language Impaired)
  • Vocational-Technical (Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Business, Marketing,
  • Management, Health Occupations, Industrial Occupations)

Chicago Teaching Jobs Boards

You can browse teaching jobs in both public and private schools in Chicago on various online job banks before you obtain teaching certification. Take a look at these links to learn more, and see our jobs board to search for even more teaching jobs in Chicago.

Additional Resources for Teaching in Chicago

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the starting Chicago teacher salary?

Answer: Public school teachers in Chicago are members of the Chicago Teachers Union, which publishes pay scales on a regular basis. For the 2019-2020 school year, first-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree will be paid $54,547 in salary, with $58,365 in total compensation (which includes pension contributions).7 This will rise each year under the current union contract through 2023-2024, when the first-year bachelor’s degree salary will be $61,990 with $66,330 in total compensation.7

Question: What are the requirements for substitute teachers in Chicago?

Answer: In order to substitute teach in Chicago public schools, you must have a valid Illinois Substitute License. Requirements for private schools may vary. For more information, you can visit the CPS substitute employment portal.

Question: How do I get hired as a charter school teacher in Chicago?

Answer: Many, though not all, charter schools in Chicago are part of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which differs from many other areas where charter schools are a separate school district. The hiring process and requirements will therefore vary. Check with the charter school(s) where you are interested in employment for further details.

1. Chicago Public Schools: Stats and Facts:
2. Illinois Policy, “Chicago Teachers Highest Paid Among Nation’s 50 Largest School Districts,” 5 Feb 2016:
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL:
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States:
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Illinois:
6. State of Illinois Occupational Employment Projections (Long-term):
7. US Department of Education Nationwide Teacher Shortage Areas:
8. Chicago Teachers’ Union Salary Schedule for Full-Time Appointed Teachers:


What do you need to become a teacher in Chicago? ›

All Chicago teachers must have a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate issued by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Teacher hiring for all public and many charter and magnet schools in Chicago is centralized through CPS.

Does Chicago pay teachers well? ›

How much does a Teacher make at Chicago Public Schools in Chicago? Average Chicago Public Schools Teacher yearly pay in Chicago is approximately $67,656, which is 45% above the national average.

What qualifications do you need to be a teacher in Illinois? ›

To qualify, you need to have a bachelor's degree with adequate coursework in a teachable subject area and complete a teacher preparation program. You must also have student teaching experience and pass the state's certification tests, including content-area exams in the subject(s) to be taught.

How do I become a teacher in Illinois without a teaching degree? ›

To be accepted to an alternative teacher certification program in Illinois, candidates must first post a passing score on the relevant content area test. Candidates must then be accepted to an approved teacher preparation program and apply for an educator license with stipulations as a provisional alternative educator.

How much is a teachers salary in Illinois? ›

How much does a Public School Teacher make in Illinois? The average Public School Teacher salary in Illinois is $58,193 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $48,596 and $70,969.

What is the minimum wage for teachers in Chicago? ›

The new law phases in the increases over four years: $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year, $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year, $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year, and $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

How much do first year teachers make in Chicago? ›

Salaries by years of experience in Chicago, IL
Years of experiencePer hour
Less than 1 year$32.77
1 to 2 years$32.82
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years$38.27
1 more row

How many hours do Chicago teachers work? ›

Work hours for full-time non-union staff are 35 hours per week with a 30 minute lunch included in each 7.5 hour work day.

What state pays teachers best? ›

New York leads the nation in teacher pay with an average salary of $80,286, according to WalletHub.

Does Illinois require basic skills test for teachers? ›

Passing a test of basic skills is a requirement set by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for all teacher preparation programs and school support personnel.

What is a Type 9 teaching certificate in Illinois? ›

Type 10 – Special Ed Teaching Certificate endorsed for speech/language. Type 03 – Elementary Teaching Certificate and Type 09 – Secondary Teaching Certificate.

What GPA do you need to be a teacher in Illinois? ›

All teacher candidates must graduate with a minimum cumulative and major GPA of 2.50.

How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Illinois? ›

How long does it take to become a teacher in Illinois? Illinois teachers spend several years completing the requirements for a teaching license. Teaching in Illinois requires a bachelor's degree, which generally takes four years. Most teachers complete an educator preparation program as part of their bachelor's degree.

Do student teachers get paid in Illinois? ›

These courses may have been completed prior to program entry, including community college coursework and coursework from other institutions, provided they are regionally accredited. Student teachers may be paid for student teaching.

Can you be a substitute teacher without a teaching degree in Illinois? ›

You must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in order to receive a Substitute Teaching Certificate. You must submit an official, sealed transcript to your Regional Office of Education with your certification application.

How much do first year teachers make in Illinois? ›

How much does an Entry Level Teacher make in Illinois? The average Entry Level Teacher salary in Illinois is $43,917 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $36,675 and $53,559.

How many hours do teachers work in Illinois? ›

Teachers work 58 hours per week on average during the school year. Teachers work for 10 hours and 48 minutes on average during a standard school day, and spend almost an additional two hours working at home in the evening. Teachers work another three hours and 45 minutes on school-related work over the weekend.

Where do teachers get paid the most in Illinois? ›

Highest paying cities for High School Teachers near Illinois
  • Coal Valley, IL. $64,340 per year. 57 salaries reported.
  • Chicago, IL. $59,524 per year. 432 salaries reported.
  • Naperville, IL. $50,771 per year. 14 salaries reported.
  • Palatine, IL. $50,742 per year. 8 salaries reported.
  • Alton, IL. $42,437 per year. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

Is there a teacher shortage in Illinois? ›

Pritzker has proposed a three-year, $70 million pilot program in the state's 2024 budget that would help school districts hire and retain educators amid the state's ongoing teacher shortage.

Do Chicago teachers have to live in Chicago? ›

On July 9, 1980, the Board adopted a “Resolution to Require Residency Within the City of Chicago of all Personnel Employed by the Board of Education On or after September 1, 1980” (See Resolution #80-149-2.)

How much do public teachers make in Chicago? ›

As of May 29, 2023, the average annual pay for a Public School Teacher in Chicago is $41,204 a year.

How much do subs get paid in Chicago? ›

Average Chicago Public Schools Substitute Teacher hourly pay in Chicago is approximately $24.20, which is 68% above the national average.

What is the cost of living in Chicago? ›

List of prices in Chicago, Illinois Current as of Jun 2023.
FoodUpdate prices
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in expensive area$2,443
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in normal area$1,717
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat$263
57 more rows

How much do most teachers make a month? ›

As of Jun 4, 2023, the average monthly pay for a Teacher in the United States is $2,743 a month. While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $4,500 and as low as $1,292, the majority of Teacher salaries currently range between $2,000 (25th percentile) to $3,083 (75th percentile) across the United States.

How many days off do Chicago public school teachers get? ›

Teachers and employees employed for less than 52-weeks, including appointed and temporarily assigned teachers, receive up to ten (10) days of paid vacation per year, five during the Winter Recess and five during the Spring Recess as designated in the Academic Calendar.

How many hours is a full day for a teacher? ›

On average for all days of the week, full-time teachers worked 5.6 hours per day and part-time teachers worked 2.8 hours per day.

How many hours is a full day of teaching? ›

Depending on what state you live in and what your particular district rules are, the average school day is anywhere from 6 to 8 hours long.

What state has the highest teacher shortage? ›

Illinois has the lowest number of underqualified teachers at 1.17 positions per 10,000 students while New Hampshire has the highest at 348.79. Notably, New Hampshire has not reported teacher shortage areas to the U.S. Department of Education since the 2019-2020 school year, according to the report.

Where is the best place to live as a teacher? ›

Top 11 Places to Be a Teacher
  • Syracuse, NY. ...
  • Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT. ...
  • Worcester, MA-CT. ...
  • Canton-Massillon, OH. ...
  • Toledo, OH. ...
  • Lancaster, PA. ...
  • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT. ...
  • Columbus, OH (Tie)
Aug 9, 2022

How can I make more money as a teacher? ›

For teachers who do have additional hours to give outside of school, coaching sports, leading after school activities, chaperoning school dances or teaching remedial classes can increase their paychecks. No matter how many new skills you acquire or extra jobs you take, experience is the greatest salary booster of all.

What disqualifies you from being a teacher in Illinois? ›

Misdemeanor or felony convictions for crimes of moral turpitude. Misdemeanor or felony convictions for crimes involving minor victims, including sexual offenses or abuse. Felony drug convictions. Misdemeanor or felony convictions for misappropriation of school property or funds.

How many times can you take the Illinois teacher certification test? ›

How many attempts do you get to pass an ILTS test? If you fail an ILTS exam, you may retake it as many times as needed. Each attempt requires you to complete the registration process and pay the test fee. If there is more than one subtest in an ILTS exam, you will need to retake all the subtests.

How do I get a Type 75 certification in Illinois? ›

Students seeking certification only must possess a master's degree in addition to the previous requirement. All students seeking this endorsement must be admitted by the department, have a program of courses approved by an adviser, and successfully complete a comprehensive examination.

What does a Type B teacher mean? ›

Personalities can be generally categorised into Type A and Type B. Type A people are organised, conscientious, and competitive. Type B personalities are creative and laid back. Of course, life is not that black and white, and many people fall somewhere in between the two. ​

How long does an Illinois teaching license last? ›

The license is valid for five years and may be renewed if the educator has passed Illinois' test of basic skills (TAP 400.)

What is a Type 4 teaching certificate in Illinois? ›

Early Childhood Education Subsequent Certification (Type 04 Certification) Teachers who have an Illinois teaching certificate in elementary education, secondary education or special education may add certification in early childhood education through this standards-based sequence.

What is the average age of a teacher in Illinois? ›

StateAverage age of teachersMedian age of teachers
63 more rows

Can I become a teacher with a bad GPA? ›

There are no minimum GPA requirements in any state I am aware of to become certified as a teacher.

Do teachers aid need degrees in Illinois? ›

Anyone interested in becoming a teacher's aide in Illinois must be at least 19 years old and have an associate's degree, 60 hours of coursework, or a high school diploma or equivalent.

What do I need to substitute teach in Illinois? ›

If you hold a valid professional educator license, educator license with stipulations or paraprofessional license and hold a bachelor's degree, you are qualified to be a substitute teacher. You do not need to hold a substitute teaching license.

Where can I teach with an Illinois teaching certificate? ›

Once you have completed your degree and earned your Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL), you will be qualified to teach in schools in Illinois as well as in every other state in the U.S. except Alaska, Iowa and Minnesota.

What do you need to be a preschool teacher in Illinois? ›

In public schools, preschool teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field. In Illinois you must take and pass the Early Childhood Education content examination administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS).

How much do teachers make a day in Illinois? ›

Salaries by years of experience in Illinois
Years of experiencePer hour
Less than 1 year$20.11
1 to 2 years$20.14
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years$23.49
1 more row

Is Illinois good for teachers? ›

Illinois is 16th for the best state to teach in.

What is the demand for teachers in Illinois? ›

Of the Illinois school leaders from 690 school districts surveyed, 73% say they have a teacher shortage problem, 93% say the shortage is as bad or worse than last school year, 95% report receiving the same or fewer applicants for vacant positions, and 92% say they have a substitute teacher program.

How much do subs make in Illinois? ›

The average salary for a substitute teacher in Illinois is $23,500 per year.

How much does a substitute teacher license cost in Illinois? ›

If you do not fit one of the three scenarios above, Illinois currently has two types of substitute teaching licenses valid for preschool through 12th grade. Valid for five years. Renewable every five years with payment of $50 registration fee.

How much does it cost to become a substitute teacher in Illinois? ›

To apply for a substitute teaching license, a candidate must submit an application online in the Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS). During this process, a $100 fee (plus a $1.75 processing fee) is assessed electronically when the application is submitted, so a credit/debit card must be readily available.

Do you have to live in Chicago to be a Chicago public school teacher? ›

Yes. As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools, Resident Teachers must be an actual resident of the City of Chicago or be willing to become a resident within six months of the date of his/her employment as a Resident Teacher with Chicago Public Schools.

Are Chicago teachers required to live in Chicago? ›

On July 9, 1980, the Board adopted a “Resolution to Require Residency Within the City of Chicago of all Personnel Employed by the Board of Education On or after September 1, 1980” (See Resolution #80-149-2.)

What are the requirements to be a pre K teacher in Illinois? ›

In public schools, preschool teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field. In Illinois you must take and pass the Early Childhood Education content examination administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS).

How much money do Chicago Public School teachers make? ›

Public School Teacher Salary in Chicago, Illinois

How much does a Public School Teacher make in Chicago, IL? The average Public School Teacher salary in Chicago, IL is $59,745 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $49,892 and $72,862.

Where do teachers get in free in Chicago? ›

The Museum of Science and Industry is always free for United States military active-duty personnel and veterans, Illinois POWs, Chicago firefighters, Chicago police officers and Illinois teachers (Pre-K through 12th grade).

What is the minimum salary needed to live in Chicago? ›

According to the study, a Chicago-area resident without children would need to make $65,500 after taxes to live comfortably. The study is based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which uses the cost of housing, food, transportation, medical care and more.

How fast can you become a teacher in Illinois? ›

Teaching in Illinois requires a bachelor's degree, which generally takes four years. Most teachers complete an educator preparation program as part of their bachelor's degree. After earning a bachelor's in education, graduates must meet additional licensure requirements.

Is it hard being a pre-K teacher? ›

Being a preschool teacher can be hard but rewarding, depending on your personality. Just like any other job, it has its pros and its cons. Understanding the pros and cons of the job before you take the next steps can help you be more confident in your decision to become a preschool teacher.

How much do pre-K teachers make in Illinois? ›

Get accurate pay by adjusting the below factors. How much does a Preschool Teacher make in Illinois? The average Preschool Teacher salary in Illinois is $38,970 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $35,180 and $44,540.

What age does pre-K start in Illinois? ›

Pre-K (Ages Birth-5)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated: 11/11/2023

Views: 5329

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.