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Excellence in Learning Through Excellence in Teaching


NIU’s proud history in Teacher Preparation

Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University first opened its doors in 1899 as the Northern Illinois State Normal School solely to prepare college-educated teachers.  The university has since grown into a world-class university that attracts students from around the globe while still serving the northern Illinois region. Throughout its history, teacher preparation has remained at its core.

Today, we are one of the nation’s largest teacher preparation programs with nearly fifty different programs and over 1,000 graduates annually.  Our programs are designed to meet the ever-changing needs of our vital service region and the teachers and students we serve.  We remain deeply committed to preparing teachers for the classrooms of today and tomorrow, in Illinois and throughout the world.

Mission of the Educator Preparation Unit at NIU

Our university-wide commitment to the preparation of exemplary educators is reflected in our unique structure and is based on the shared vision and goals of a community of learners. At NIU we focus on providing intensive preparation in content fields, teaching pedagogy, and the clinical settings.  Our preparation programs are not located in just one college, but in five different colleges, taking full advantage of the extensive expertise of our faculty throughout the university.

Our focus is on the preparation of exemplary educators who demonstrate the knowledge, practice, reflection and dispositions required of the modern teacher. Our programs draw upon the strength of a global and diverse community of learners—teachers and students—in which practice and reflection are based upon a broad general education and a sound disciplinary base of knowledge. The community of learners includes university faculty, staff and administrators, district faculty and administrators and university candidates in educator preparation programs. The community of learners is enriched and strengthened by the interaction of its core tenets: knowledge, practice and reflection.1

The goal of individual programs is to develop exemplary educators who have a broad general education, relevant disciplinary knowledge, and experience in and knowledge of contemporary best practices. The continuing professional effectiveness of our graduates is rooted in their lifelong learning and reflective practice. This cornerstone of NIU's programs prepares future teachers to deal with the diverse interests of the communities in which they will serve based on the understanding that as a professional educator, they are part of that community of learners. NIU is committed to lifelong learning and to the effective use of creative and critical thinking skills in diverse and collaborative settings.

  1. (Schön, 1983; 1987; Hollins, McIntyre, DeBose, Hollins, & Towner, 2004). 

Illinois Licensure Requirements

This website gives access to information about NIU licensure programs for teachers and other educators. We hope that you will find the site to be a useful resource. Please use the left-hand navigation column or the red navigation bar across the top of the page in order to find more information about specific programs, materials, and issues related to enrolling in our programs and obtaining a license.  Each department with a licensure program has identified one or more staff persons to help potential and current candidates understand NIU requirements and plan their programs of study.  Please use the “Program Advisors” link in the left-hand column to contact a specific program.

For comprehensive information about State of Illinois licensure requirements, please visit the website for the Illinois State Board of Education and/or your local Regional Office of Education

Questions about enrollment in and requirements for any specific program should be addressed to the advisor for the licensure area in which you are interested.

General questions may be addressed to TeacherCertification@niu.edu at the University Office of Educator Licensure and Preparation.

NIU’s Nationally Recognized Programs

NCATE / CAEP Accreditation

Early Childhood Education

English Education

Foreign Languages: French, German, and Spanish

Health Education

History and Social Sciences

Instructional Technology

Library Information Specialist

Literacy Education: English as a Second Language/Bilingual

Literacy Education: Reading Specialist


Physical Education


School Psychology

Science Education: Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science,

Environmental Science, and Physics

Special Education: Learning Behavior Specialist I

Special Education Visual Impairments


Technology Specialist


Additional programs with Illinois State Board of Education Accreditation

Family and Consumer Sciences

Learning Behavior Specialist II


NIU is fully accredited by the National Council for the

Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

(as of July, 1, 2013 Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, CAEP)


Date of last review

October 2010: Full accreditation

Date of Next On-Site Visit

Fall 2017

Continuous Improvement Efforts

As part of our accreditation we have identified ASSESSMENT as our area for continuous improvement and growth.  Thus, NIU continues to work to improve its unit-wide assessment system given the current state of education and its concern with assessment and reflective practice.



Summary of Candidate/Graduate Outcomes for NIU

For detailed information on various facets of our programs and the success of our graduates, please click on each of the data tables indicated below:

Assessment of Initial Teacher Candidate Performance in Key Areas

Assessment of Advanced Education Program Candidate Performance in Key Areas

Employment and Employer Satisfaction

Employment Outcomes

Schools/Districts in Partnership with NIU

Cost of Attendance at NIU

Student Loan Default Rate for NIU graduates: 9.4%