NIU Teacher Certification Requirements

All NIU candidates for initial teacher certification must meet the following common requirements:

  • Be at least 19 years of age, of good character, in sound health, and a citizen of or legally present in the United States ;
  • Have or be eligible for an earned baccalaureate degree from a recognized institution;
  • Have an overall GPA of at least 2.50 (some programs require higher GPAs);
  • Meet general education requirements;
  • Complete the requirements for the state-approved, standards-based certification program, including the "major area of specialization" for the area in which the certificate is sought;
  • Complete coursework which contributes directly to an awareness of cultural diversity;
  • Complete coursework equivalent to three (3) semester hours on the psychology of exceptional children, identification of exceptional children, and methods of teaching exceptional children, including learning disabled children;
  • Complete a minimum of 100 clock hours of approved clinical experience prior to student teaching plus other clinical experiences as designated by the program;
  • Complete student teaching or a practicum as designated by the program;
  • Pass the Basic Skills test; and
  • Pass the relevant test(s) of subject matter knowledge.

Certification candidates must also meet additional requirements identified by the academic departments; see individual program descriptions for specific requirements.

General Education - Completing NIU's general education requirements will satisfy NIU's teacher certification general education requirements. However, individual teacher certification programs may require additional general education courses as part of a specific major's course work requirements.

Degree Requirements - Many of the courses used to meet certification requirements can, if properly selected, be used to meet graduation or degree requirements. Students completing a degree at NIU, particularly at the undergraduate level, should consult their certification advisors to be sure that, to the extent possible, courses are selected that can be used to meet both sets of requirements.

State Testing - NIU does not require passage of the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) prior to making its recommendation for certification by entitlement. However, passage of the APT is required before the certificate can be issued by the State Board of Education.

See the "Special Programs" section of this website for NIU requirements for a subsequent certificate.