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Become eligible for a master’s degree and your Professional Educator License (PEL) in Illinois. Through our suite of alternative licensure programs for teachers, we offer more than one way to build a meaningful career in a field that makes a difference.

Our nation’s classrooms are changing dramatically. Teachers now must be prepared with a working knowledge of instructional technology and social media, changing state learning standards and standardized testing, as well as methods for approaching changing student populations. In this program, you’ll gain the skills you need for success in the classroom.

  • Prepares you for alternative teacher certification in Illinois
  • Designed for aspiring teachers who already hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Involves one-year, paid teaching residency experience

Enter a rewarding field. Join us at Dominican University. Request information

What You’ll Learn

As a leader in Illinois teacher certification programs, our alternative licensure programs provide a strong foundation of professional knowledge, personal insight and appreciation of diversity that teachers need to succeed as classroom leaders and student advocates.

Our alternative licensure programs combine a theoretical base with in-depth practicum experiences, so you can be confident and capable as you step into your first post-graduation teaching role. And, every program prepares students for concepts like education research, instructional technologies, and an understanding of the diverse learning and social-emotional needs that modern students face.

Quick Degree Details
  • 35 credit hours
  • Program offered in a hybrid format; 100% online is not available
  • Complete in one year
  • Full-time schedule, including teaching residency
  • Approved by the state of Illinois

Note: Admission to graduate and certificate programs in education is open only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Alternative Licensures Offered

Dominican University offers alternative licensure programs in the following areas; all are PDFs and open in a new window unless otherwise indicated:

Elementary (with Early Childhood, ESL and/or Bilingual Endorsement)

Middle: English/Language Arts

Middle: Mathematics

Middle: Science

Middle: Social Sciences

Secondary: Biology

Secondary: Chemistry

Secondary: English/Language Arts

Special Education

Have questions about the curriculum or course listings in the links above? Request information

Related Degrees

At Dominican University, we also offer a breadth of graduate education programs for working professionals looking to enter or advance in the field.

Endorsements: If you already hold a valid professional educator license, our endorsement programs can help you build your depth of expertise in a specific area of education. Learn more

Master of Arts in Education (elevation): If you’ve previously completed an endorsement or certificate at Dominican, this program is for you. Learn more

What to Expect as you Earn Your Alternative Licensure

Unlike a traditional teacher-preparation program, our alternative licensure programs make it possible for you to take necessary coursework while completing required teaching experience. (In traditional programs, you would take all coursework leading to licensure prior to completing your clinical practice experience—lengthening your time to completion.)

In Dominican’s alternative licensure program, you’ll first enroll in a summer pre-residency experience, which includes two graduate education classes. These courses will be specific to your chosen area of study.

After completing your pre-residency courses, you’ll begin teaching in a high-need or under-resourced school as part of a one-year paid residency while simultaneously completing your graduate course of study. Following successful completion of the one-year alternative licensure program, you’ll be eligible for a master’s degree and a Professional Educator License (PEL) in Illinois.

Residency Experience

Over a one-year period, you’ll take graduate coursework that is aligned with your program. During that time, a university supervisor will oversee and support your progress, providing regular feedback every week. The school in which you are employed will also provide a mentor teacher to help you through your residency. Meet our faculty

Securing Your Residency

Candidates who are accepted into an alternative licensure program, but who are not currently teaching, are responsible for finding a teaching position in a high-need or under-resourced school. Dominican will provide suggestions on schools or districts, but it is the candidate’s responsibility to find a position. Candidates will go through the typical application process that any teacher seeking a K-12 position would pursue. Your first step? Apply now online

About Dominican’s School of Education

Dominican University’s School of Education is committed to preparing teachers and leaders to navigate the changing world of education. We continue to innovate and develop new approaches to teaching and learning to better serve our country’s children and youth. See what sets us apart

Financing Your Alternative Licensure Program

The process for financing a degree can seem daunting, but you do have options. Through loans and grants as well as scholarship opportunities within Dominican’s School of Education, specifically, we can help you navigate the process and find options that work for you.

Contact our Office of Financial to learn more. We can be reached at (708) 524-6809 or by email at

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I ensure my residency location counts toward my licensure program?

When you secure a position that fulfills the residency requirements for your alternative licensure program, you’ll want to make sure a memorandum of understanding is signed by an official at Dominican University and at the school in which you will be employed.

This memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlines the resources and collaboration expectations as outlined by the state for an alternative licensure program. The university will initiate this memorandum at the time a candidate is hired.

How can I teach full-time if I don’t have a Professional Educator License (PEL)?

Candidates enrolled in an alternative licensure program will be entitled with a provisional license: an educator license with stipulations. With this license, the candidate can serve as teacher of record in any school in Illinois for up to three years as long as the candidate remains in good standing in their alternative licensure program.

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online

Build Your Career in Education

At Dominican, we are committed to helping you achieve your goals and fulfill a mission of service as a teacher. We’re here to answer your questions and walk you through the process of gaining your alternative teaching license in Illinois. Request information today


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