Fact Sheet: Educator Licensure Information System

June 2013

Division of Public Information, Illinois State Board of Education


The Educator Certification System (ECS) will be seamlessly upgraded to the new Educator Licensure Information System (ELIS) on July 1, 2013.  In the past, Illinois educator certificates sometimes caused confusion for teachers and administrators; it has not always been clear from the certificate which subjects or grade levels the holder is qualified to teach.  To clarify this, Illinois will transition from a certificate system to a licensure system during the summer of 2013, moving from 60 types of educator certificates and endorsements to just three licenses.

Educators will not lose any of their credentials or endorsements in this transition, there is no cost to educators associated with this change, and the difference in each individual’s license will appear automatically July 1 on the ISBE website.

Current certificate holders will not have to do anything except ensure that their existing certificates have been registered or renewed as usual by June 30.  After July 1, 2013, each educator will be able to log in to ELIS and find his or her credentials listed, and districts will be able to use an access portal to verify these credentials.

In order to simplify the credential environment, ISBE will only issue three types of licenses:

  1. Professional Educator License (PEL)
  2. Educator License with Stipulations (ELS)
  3. Substitute License

It is possible for an individual educator to hold multiple licenses, as different certificates held at the time of the exchange will be converted to endorsements on different licenses. 

The first license after the exchange (July 1, 2013) will be valid for the time period remaining on the current certificate; thereafter, each license will have to be renewed and registered at the end of its validity period. Note, upon renewal and registration, the PEL will be valid for five years.   For the ELS, the validity period varies depending on the type of endorsement on the license. Each substitute license is valid for five years.

Educators will not receive paper copies of their licenses, but may print a screen shot of their credentials from ELIS. The subject area and grade levels for which the licensee is qualified to teach or administer will be clearly indicated on the license.  Endorsements obtained after this initial exchange will be added to the license within the same level for which the licensee qualifies.   All applicable content-area tests must also be passed before the endorsement may be issued.

New Educators, prepared outside of Illinois

After this change goes into effect, educators who were prepared outside of Illinois and are seeking Illinois licensure for the first time as of July 1, 2013, will be required to have completed six semester hours in courses that prepare them to teach reading skills and reading in content areas such as social science, math and science, one course in instructional strategies for English language learners, and one course in methods of instruction for special education students.

New Educators, prepared in Illinois

New educators from approved Illinois preparation programs will complete coursework that meets state standards in the areas of reading methods, reading in the content area and methods of instruction for special education.

Substitute Teachers

Additionally, in accordance with Section 21B-30 of the School Code, all substitute teachers will have to pass a test of basic skills in order to renew their licenses.  Under agency rules that will take effect July 1, 2013, anyone currently holding a substitute teaching certificate that is exchanged for a substitute teaching license will have five years before the license will expire and will have to provide evidence of passing the test by June 30, 2018.  Anyone receiving a new substitute teaching license after July 1, 2013, will be required to pass the basic skills test before renewing the license when it expires. 

Registration Fees

Just like certificates, licenses must be registered for a $50 fee every five years in order to prevent them from lapsing.  Educators can pay any registration fee by logging in to ELIS.

If a license is not re-registered after six months, it lapses, and the educator will have to pay a $500 penalty fee, or complete nine semester-hours of college coursework in the content area listed on the credential. 

For more information about transitions to specific licenses for different certificates, please see http://www.isbe.net/certification/default.htm

Additional fact sheets provided by the ISBE Division of Public Information will be released throughout the summer of 2013.