Initial Certification Process

picture of diploma Certification will not be released until all course work is completed, including clinical/student teaching, and is posted on the transcript at the end of the semester and clearance for graduation has been given by both the Certification Officer and the Registrar. Entitlement notices will be entered on-line once grades and clearance have been obtained--usually this will be within two weeks of the end of the semester. Candidates will apply and register their certificates on-line.

Teacher Certification What’s Next?- Frequently Asked Questions  

The following information is provided by the Certification Officer:  Melissa Phillips (309-298-1434), email: MM-Phillips@wiu.edu, 91 Horrabin Hall, Western Illinois University.   This information is for students completing WIU's teacher education program and acquiring initial teacher certification.

What happens when I finish Clinical/Student Teaching?
If you have completed all program requirements, including state exams, and have been cleared for graduation by both the Certification Office and the Registrar's Office AND an "S" grade has been submitted by your Field Supervisor, your certification will be processed at the end of the semester. The Certification Officer will electronically complete the institution's entitlement process. Once the entitlement notice and completion of program notice have been submitted to ISBE, you may electronically apply for your certification through the Educator Certification System (ECS) www.isbe.net/ECS There is a minimal service fee required along with the application fee. A credit card is required for this process.

What will I do with my certificate?
You can register your certificate immediately after applying on ECS. There is a registration fee required at the time of registration. You must register your certificate for any county/region in which you are teaching; however, only one fee is required.

Where do I find my Regional Office of Education?
You can find this information in the telephone book under County Government in the yellow pages. You can also find a list of all Regional Offices on the web at: http://www.isbe.net/regionaloffices

Where can I check on the status of my certificate being issued?
You can go to: www.isbe.net/ECS to check on the status of your certification being issued.

What if I did not pass all my state tests yet?
You will NOT complete your program and CANNOT obtain your teaching certification without passing ALL required state certification tests. Therefore, you cannot substitute teach.

What am I qualified to teach?
You received a paper that indicated the type of certificate(s) you would receive and the endorsements, if any, that would be on your certificate. You are qualified to teach in the subject areas that you received endorsements for at the middle or high school level.

What areas am I considered "highly qualified" to teach?
You are "highly qualified" in the areas in which you have passed the appropriate content exams. For example if you are a mathematics major and have passed the mathematics content test, you are "highly qualified" to teach math at the high school level.

Special Education majors who take and pass the Elementary/Middle Grade Content test will be considered "highly qualified" in all subjects at the elementary and middle grades for special education and will be considered "highly qualified" in all subjects taught at the high school level for two years after the date of first employment. Once this two-year period has elapsed, the teacher shall be required to meet the criteria for being considered "highly qualified" in the core subject area of assignment. See 23 Illinois Administrative Code Subtitle A.

I have endorsements for middle level on my elementary certificate. Why doesn't it say elementary? Can I teach in a self-contained elementary classroom?
The endorsement for elementary is called "Self-Contained General Education". The elementary certificate qualifies you to teach in a self-contained elementary classroom. The endorsements indicate that you are ALSO qualified at the "middle" school level in the subject areas indicated by endorsements listed.

Why didn't I get endorsements?
Endorsements are entered on teaching certificates. To qualify for a middle level endorsement, you must have completed EIS 201, 301 and C & I 403 plus the 18 s.h. of content course work required for a specific endorsement. 

What is the difference between an Initial and a current Standard certificate?
An initial certificate is valid for your first 4 years of teaching. An assessment will be required and must be passed to move from an initial certificate to a standard certificate. Go to http://www.isbe.net/ECS

image of a certificateWhen will I get my official certificate from the state?
You should receive your certificate within a week after you complete all requirements, including state exams, and you have applied on-line. Your entitlement can only be processed if you have been cleared for graduation by the Registrar, completed the second reflective paper successfully, met any departmental requirements, have a final recommendation from your major department, and a satisfactory grade recorded for STCH.

How do I add endorsements after I receive my initial certificate (after graduation)?
Contact your Regional Office of Education to request transcript evaluations to add endorsements or go on-line through ECS to request an evaluation. If you attended institutions other than Western Illinois University or took course work after graduation, you must be sure to submit the transcripts to ISBE.

How do I obtain subsequent (second) certificates?
Contact the Institution you plan to attend and request an evaluation for a subsequent certificate. This evaluation will be completed by that institution. If you plan to attend Western Illinois University, contact the Teacher Certification Office, 309 298-1434 for information on requesting an evaluation or online:   http://www.wiu.edu/cpep/evaluation_subsequent.html.

What if I want to teach in another state?
You must obtain an application from that state's Department of Education. Call the Certification Office at 309 298-1434 if you need assistance. Most states have a place on the application for institutional recommendation or verification of completion of a program. If this is required, you should complete your application and send the entire application to: Certification Office, 91 Horrabin Hall, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, Illinois 61455-1390. You must request that transcripts be sent to each state as required by that state.

How do I get a transcript sent?
Send written requests for transcripts to the Registrar's Office, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, Illinois 61455-1390 or online http://www.wiu.edu/registrar. You must indicate where you want the transcript(s) sent. There is no charge for this.

What type of certificate do I have?

  • 04 Early Childhood Certificate
  • 03 Elementary Certificate
  • 09 Secondary Certificate
  • 10 Special Education Certificate (K-12)
  • 29 Bilingual Transitional

My secondary certificate says 6-12, but I only have high school endorsements. Can I teach at the 6th, 7th, or 8th grades?
No, you must have middle level endorsements to teach at the middle level grades.  You must complete C&I 403 and a minimum 18 s.h. in the discipline in which you wish to teach.

My elementary certificate says K-9, but I don't have any endorsements. Can I teach at the 6th, 7th, or 8th grades?
Only if it is in a self-contained classroom. You must have middle level endorsements to teach at a departmentalized middle school.  You must complete C&I 403 and a minimum 18 s.h. in the discipline in which you wish to teach.

I have completed a K-12 certification program. Do I want a K-12 certificate or elementary and secondary certificates?
There is no advantage to splitting a certificate at this time. Endorsements can be entered on K-12 certificates.

What is the APT assessment and am I required to take it?
Anyone seeking a certificate is required to take the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) exam. This is a state required assessment. There are four different examinations. You are required to take the exam that matches your certificate: early childhood, elementary, secondary, or K-12. This assessment covers the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards which include special education standards for the regular classroom teacher, Language Arts Standards for all teachers, and Technology Standards for all teachers. 

What if I have additional questions on certification?
Contact the Teacher Certification Office:

Phone: 309-298-1434
e-mail: Â  Mrs. Melissa Phillips (MM-Phillips@wiu.edu)
                or Nancy Stoneking (NE-Stoneking@wiu.edu)