This summer, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed two pieces of legislation into law, Senate Bill 2658 and House Bill 5627, which provides educators the ability to apply for and obtain positions in Illinois with valid out-of-state licenses.
Susan Sarfaty, the superintendent for St. Clair County’s Regional Office of Education, explained there are four types of licenses for educators in Illinois:
▪ Professional Educator License: This license is for all educators who have completed an approved Illinois or out-of-state educational program. This includes teachers, administrators, school social workers, school psychologists, and other school support staff;
▪ Educators License with Stipulations: This license is for educators without approved four year degrees like a teacher’s assistant;
▪ Substitute License: This license requires a bachelor’s degree. This license permits 90 days of substitute teaching for one teacher. The substitute can teach for an unlimited number of days per school year. For example, a substitute can teach on behalf of Mrs. Smith, an English teacher with Washington Elementary School, for up to 90 days. The substitute can also teach throughout the school year for other teachers at Washington Elementary. This license cannot be used for school support personnel nor those with a PELs or ELSs; and
▪ Short Term Substitute License: This license requires an associate’s degree or 60 semester hours of education. It is scheduled to expire in 2023 but allows each substitute to teach up to five consecutive days per teacher. Substitutes with this license can also teach an unlimited number of days per school year.
“The biggest change is the new laws signed by the governor now allow the state to accept out-of-state PELs,” said Sarfaty. “While this helps to address the teacher shortage in the state, more importantly, this eases the burdens placed on teachers who move into Illinois with valid licenses from other states. This is certainly a good thing for all teachers.
“It is especially helpful to military spouses who transfer to Scott Air Force Base or Great Lakes Naval Station and Rock Island Arsenal up north.”
The new legislation also makes PEL with stipulations valid for three years to allow educators additional time to meet the requirements to obtain a full PEL.
In a press release from the state, State Sen. Paul Schimpf said, “This law makes it easier for military spouses to secure work in Illinois as a teacher ... This is very helpful, as our service members and their families are often in transition. This offers them some stability and peace of mind.”
Col. Leslie Maher, installation commander and commander of 375th Air Mobility Wing, said, “Moving is never easy. It’s even more challenging for those of us in the military who move every two to four years. It’s hard on those who wear the uniform and it’s equally as hard on their families. Some military spouses end up giving up their careers and professional aspirations because it becomes too difficult and cumbersome to transfer their licenses or certifications from one state to the next or from overseas to state side.
“This is a hardship our military spouses take on, often without complaint. Having Illinois recognize this challenge for teachers, whether they are military spouses or not, and enacting legislation to simplify the process is a very big win.”
Military spouses who work in education and are seeking positions in Illinois should reach out to the county regional offices of education for assistance in navigating the process of license transfer and identifying job openings. For those assigned here at Scott Air Force Base, the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education may be reached at (618) 825-3900 or via their Web site at www.stclair.k12.il.us.