Frequently Asked Questions

Why become a teacher?

The need for better educated and better prepared teachers has never been greater. As an educator you can make a positive impact on the lives of children and make a valuable contribution to your community. Education is the second largest industry in the economy. The constant demand for teachers offers job security and a steady earning potential. Many find the nine month calendar and no weekend or holiday work schedule appealing.

What qualities do successful teachers possess?

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Planning and organizational skills
  • Analytical and decision-making skills
  • Flexibility
  • Fair-mindedness and respect for others
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Time management skills

What types of teaching certificates are available?

In order to teach in the state of Illinois you need a baccalaureate or master's degree in education. Teaching certificates can be obtained in Elementary (K-9), Secondary (6-12), Special Education and Special Topics (K-12). Endorsements (statements) appearing on a certificate identify the specific subjects or grade levels that the individual is authorized to teach. Refer to Illinois State Board of Education website at for details.

What is the employment outlook and salary range for teachers?

Over the next 10 years millions of new teachers will be needed to meet rising enrollment demands and to replace retiring teachers. There are definitely some categories of teaching that experience more severe shortages than others (math, science, special education, bilingual education), but in general local school districts hire dozens of new graduates each year for a variety of positions. In Illinois the statewide mean salary for beginning teachers in 2006 was $31,222.  Salaries are dependent upon your academic degree, which grade level you teach, and the district that employs you.

What are the steps to becoming a teacher?

  • Research different categories of teaching jobs (elementary, secondary, special education).
  • Meet with an advisor.
  •  Select the right transfer school for you.
  •  Understand the academic, admission and matriculation requirements for an education major.
  •  Take the Basic Skills Test (review course available at COD)
  •  Earn a baccalaureate or master's degree in education.
  •  Complete the state teaching certification process.

How can College of DuPage help prepare me for a career in teaching?

Course selection toward an associate's degree at College of DuPage can match course requirements to enter an education program at the transfer college of your choice. By using the COD Student Planning Worksheet, in conjunction with a transfer guide from the four-year college of your choice, most general education courses and some preliminary education course requirements for a bachelor's or master's degree can be satisfied at COD for a seamless transfer.

Which courses should I take while I am at College of DuPage?

Consider taking courses from those listed below to fulfill Associate of Arts degree requirements in preparation for transfer. Course descriptions can be found in the College Catalog or on the COD website at

English 1101 English Composition I
English 1102 English Composition II
Speech 1100 Fundamentals of Speech Communication

Physical and Life Sciences (one of each required)
Biology 1100 Survey of Biology
Chemistry, or Earth Science or Physics

Mathematics 1321 Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers I
Mathematics 1322 Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers II
Calculus, or Finite Math if going into secondary education

Humanities and Fine Arts
A total of three courses, one must be from Humanities and one must be from Fine Arts.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Psychology 1100 General Psychology
Psychology 2220 Educational Psychology
Psychology 2230 Developmental Psychology: Childhood
Psychology 2233 Developmental Psychology: Adolescence
Political Science 1101 American Politics
History 1130 History of the United States to 1865
History 1140 History of the United States since 1865
Anthropology 1130 People and Cultures of the World

Education 1100 Introduction to Education
Education 1101 School Procedures I
Education 2201 Education for Exceptional Children

What if I already have a bachelor's degree?

You have the option of obtaining another traditional bachelor's degree or an entry-level master's degree in education. An education program advisor from a four-year college will do a transcript review to identify any general education course deficiencies. Many equivalent courses in general education necessary to satisfy deficiencies are available at College of DuPage. Completion of the Basic Skills Test is also required.

Illinois has established alternative processes for persons who already have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and five years of experience in the area of their degrees. They are the alternative certification program, the alternative route program, and the resident teacher program. These fast track programs expedite training compared to the traditional route. All of these programs require completion of the Basic Skills and content-area tests before certification is issued. Refer to Illinois State Board of Education website at for details. College of DuPage does not offer any of these programs.

What else do I need to know?

Classroom observation opportunities are required in several of the COD education courses. Students shadow teachers in primary, intermediate or secondary schools in the community to observe the application of professional knowledge and skills and classroom management techniques.

Contact Information

April Zawlocki
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 2808A, (630) 942-3383

Shannon Brown
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 2808B, (630) 942-3014

Health and Sciences Division
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 2616, (630) 942-2010


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    "Personally, I am learning how to be more and more independent through going to COD. Educationally, I am able to take classes that are actively engaging and challenging. They apply to my major and will transfer to U of I. It's great being at one of the best community colleges out there."

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