Alternative Licensure Programs

There's more than one way to earn a master's degree plus a teacher's license

Dominican University’s School of Education is committed to preparing teachers and leaders to navigate the changing world of education.  Innovations in instructional technology and social media, an increasing number of students who are English Language Learners, changing state learning standards, and an emphasis on standardized testing are only a few of the increasing shifts that influence our nation’s classrooms.  Here at Dominican University we are developing new approaches to teaching and learning that will serve our country’s children and youth well as the educational landscape continues to change.

The School of Education now offers candidates with a bachelor’s degree an alternative route to attaining a Professional Educator License in the state of Illinois.  Following successful completion of the two year alternative licensure program, the candidate is eligible for a master’s degree and his/her Professional Educator License (PEL).

Dominican University offers alternative licensure programs in the following areas:

Download the Alternative Licensure program brochure

What makes an Alternative Licensure program unique?

In an alternative licensure program, the candidate enrolls in a summer pre-residency experience that includes completion of two graduate education classes. Beginning in August/September, the candidate begins teaching in a high need or under-resourced school as part of a two year paid residency. The candidates take graduate coursework over a two year period that is aligned with the program in which they are enrolled. A university supervisor observes each candidate every week and provides feedback and support. The school in which the candidate is employed provides a mentor teacher who also supports the candidate.

In traditional teacher preparation programs leading to licensure, candidates take all of their coursework leading to licensure prior to completing their clinical practice experience. They do some early field experience as part of their preparation but are not in the classroom full-time until after their coursework is completed.

How can I teach full time if I don't have a Professional Educator License?

Those candidates who are accepted in an alternative licensure program who are not currently teaching are responsible for finding a teaching position. Dominican will provide some suggestions on schools or districts, but it is the candidate’s responsibility to find a position. Candidates would go through the typical application process that any teacher seeking a K-12 position would pursue.

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.

Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • $25 application fee
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional references
  • Written personal statement
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 as evidenced by official copies of transcripts from all colleges/universities previously attended
  • A passing score on the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency and Content Test related to the area of licensure being sought. NOTE: A composite score of 22 on the ACT with a minimum score of 16 on the combined English/writing section at one test administration taken on the same date or a composite score of 1030 on the SAT with a minimum score of 450 on the writing section taken at one test administration on the same date is acceptable in place of a passing score on the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP).
  • A passing score on the pre-residency assessment
  • A passing score on the pre-residency evaluation of teaching performance
  • A major in an area approved by the state.

The state requires a major in one of the following areas for admission into an alternative licensure program: English/Language Arts, Mathematics, one of the Social Sciences or one of the Sciences. Any applicant who has a major other than those specified above, is eligible to apply; however, their transcripts and an evaluation of their transcripts completed by our licensure officer needs to be submitted to the state for their approval. In some cases, the state will approve a candidates who meets all other admissions requirements with the understanding that they need to take additional content courses prior to licensure.

Criteria for Retention in the Program

In order to move from year one to year two of the program, candidates need to have met the following criteria:

  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • A passing score on the edTPA, a state mandated portfolio assessment
  • Evidence of demonstrating dispositions outlined by the School of Education
  • Evidence of teaching competence expected of a first year teacher on a summative teaching evaluation completed by both the university supervisor and school principal

Partnership between Dominican University and the School or School District

A Memorandum of Understanding needs to be signed by an official at Dominican University and the School in which the candidate is employed. This memorandum of understanding 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.

For further information, please contact Dr. Colleen Reardon, Director of Alternative Licensure Programs at or (708)524-6643.