Alternative Licensure Program


For 13 years, Benedictine University has prepared nearly 300 career changers as secondary school teachers in mathematics and science. Designed specifically for engineers as well as science and mathematics majors, the 2014 cohort recently completed an intensive, 8-week course of study in educational methodology (PBL). PBL----Problem-Based Learning---focuses on a real-life problem that is student-centered and hands on.

Benedictine University and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) have collaborated to design an accelerated program for mathematics and science professionals seeking a teaching career. The program is 12 months in duration and includes an orientation, an intensive course of study in educational theory, instructional methods and teaching practices during an eight-week summer session, and a yearlong paid internship in a middle school or high school.

Upon completion of the summer experience, cohort members earned a Professional Educator's License with Stipulations (PELS) and were hired as fully-compensated teachers of record. Following one successful year of teaching, interns will then earn the PEL---Professional Educator's License.

Based on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) rules and regulations, Benedictine University's Alternative Licensure Program is under revision and not accepting applications at this time.

Call Dr. John Zigmond at (630) 829-1364 or send an E-mail to for additional information.

We offer a true alternative pathway to teacher certification:

  • Candidates participate in the program as a cohort, offering support and encouragement to each other, and learning from each other's experiences.
  • The cohort is immersed in an intensive, problem-based, preparation program that includes:
    • An orientation to problem-based learning.
    • Strong grounding in pedagogical knowledge.
    • Practice teaching under the auspices of a master teacher/coach.
  • Participants enter full-time, paid internships in selected middle schools or high schools with support from mentor teachers and university faculty who provide feedback and help throughout the year.
  • The cohort will be involved in ongoing professional preparation via regularly scheduled seminars and workshops throughout the initial teaching year.

At the end of the program, participants receive an Initial Teacher Certification from the State of Illinois.

Program Requirements
  1. A Bachelor's degree or above in the field of engineering, mathematics, or science from an accredited college or university;
  2. Five (5) years of work experience in the "related" field;
  3. A passing grade on both of the:
    • Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) Basic Skills Test
    • The Mathematics Content Area Test or Science Content Area Test;
  4. A minimum of a 2.7 grade point average on academic work;
  5. A completed application, official transcripts from all schools attended, a one-page Statement of Interest, three (3) letters of reference, a resume, the application fee, and a personal interview.