Middle Grades Endorsement

Illinois does not have a middle grades certificate; however, holders of elementary (K-9), secondary (6-12) and special (K-12) certificates are required to meet specific requirements in order to teach in a departmentalized middle grades setting (grades 5-8). Individuals who meet these requirements are eligible though not required to receive a "middle grades endorsement" on their certificates.

For additional information, please refer to the Guide to Requirements for Certification, Endorsement and Assignment of Teachers, School Service Personnel, and Administrators and the Northern Illinois University Endorsement Application page.

The requirements for teaching in a departmentalized middle grade setting fall into two categories: subject area requirements and middle grade pedagogy.

Subject area requirements

State Board rules require that the candidate have at least 18 semester hours in the subject matter of the major teaching assignment. If the assignment is in mathematics, reading or library information/media, the 18 semester hours must include specific content. To see the Illinois rules on content requirements, please refer to the State Board Administrative Rules

If a middle grade teacher is assigned to deliver instruction in two subject areas, the teacher must have at least 18 semester hours in one of those areas and have no fewer than 9 semester hours in the other subject areas.

Middle grades pedagogy

To teach in a departmentalized middle grades setting, all elementary, secondary and K-12 certificate holder must have a

  • minimum of three semester hours in middle-grade curriculum and methodology, and
  • minimum of three semester hours in middle school adolescent psychology.

NIU provides numerous options for meeting the middle grades pedagogical requirements. For a list of NIU Courses that have been approved by the university as meeting this requirement, please refer to the following document.

A candidate for the middle grade endorsement may also be able to meet the pedagogical requirements through

  • similar courses transferred from other institutions, and/or
  • "life experience."

The discipline coordinators for the respective colleges are responsible for providing information about the requirements and procedures for these options.

Candidates may meet the middle grade requirements while earning an initial certificate or as a post-graduate students. The student's NIU record will indicate that middle school requirements were met.

For additional information, please refer to the Northern Illinois University Endorsement Application page.