Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

Student teacher aiding children crawling through hula hoops.

From Alternative Certification Programs to UCIEL, learn more about terms and abbreviations you'll encounter as you complete your teaching license.

Alternative Certification Programs

Certification programs that are designed to provide an expedited route to teaching for individuals who hold at least a bachelor's degree and have experience in a related field.


A state authorization to teach a specific subject or grade level. "Approvals" are available only in specific areas. The approval is typically issued in the form of a designation in credentials from the State Board of Education rather than as a statement on the holder's license.

CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation)

A non-profit, non-governmental nationally accrediting body. CAEP stands on a strong foundation and rich history of accreditation in teacher and educator preparation. CAEP seeks to increase the value of accreditation and to increase participation, building on the decades of institutional knowledge of education’s previous accreditors.


An additional descriptor that further identifies and limits the subject area for which the certificate and its endorsement are valid. Designations are required for certain subjects or fields, such as science, social science, and foreign languages, and are optionally available in several other fields.

edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment)

is a performance and knowledge assessment for pre-service teachers that is designed to measure teacher candidate effectiveness in the classroom by focusing on student learning.


(Educator Licensure Information Systems) the database in ISBE that records educator credentials.


Endorsement is used to describe a credential listed on a professional educator license or an educator license with stipulations.

Teaching endorsement

Teaching endorsement may be a grade-level endorsement (i.e. early childhood, elementary, secondary, or special) or a content/subject-area endorsement (i.e. middle school language arts, senior high school health education or transitional bilingual educator).

Administrative endorsements

Administrative endorsements include chief school business official, director of special education, superintendent, principal and general administrative.

School support personnel endorsements

School support personnel endorsements include school counselor, school social worker, school psychologist, school nurse, and speech language pathologist (non-teaching).


Licensure based on institutional recommendation and verification that all requirements have been met. Issuance of the license is essentially automatic once the required state assessments have been passed and all fees have been paid.

Focused Licensure Programs

Individualized licensure programs that are designed for students seeking an additional or "subsequent" teaching license. Focused licensure programs are structured around the requirements for the initial license but, at the institution's discretion, give credit for the candidate's previous training and experience. Each teacher preparation institution must have policies and procedures for its administration of "focused programs."

IEIN (Illinois Educator Identification Number)

A unique number assigned to each individual when his/her ELIS account is created. If you should ever need to contact your ROE or ISBE with questions, please have your IEIN available so staff may easily locate your account.

ILTS (Illinois Licensure Testing System)

The clearinghouse where you will register for the TAP and APT or Content Area Tests.

Initial and Advanced Licensure Programs

Programs that prepare the candidate for a first teaching license are called "initial licensure programs." These programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels and do not require a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite for admission except in conjunction with an advanced degree. At NIU, all undergraduate teacher preparation programs except those for the reading specialist and library information specialist licenses are considered "initial licensure programs."

Advanced Licensure

Advanced Licensure programs that are offered only at the graduate level and that require a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite for admission are called "advanced Licensure programs." These programs typically lead to specialized certification in areas such as school administration and school services. Some "advanced certification programs" require prior certification as a teacher and/or a designated amount of experience.

Initial License and Subsequent Teaching Endorsements

The first Illinois teaching license is called an "initial" License, while additional teaching endorsements earned by the holder are called "subsequent" endorsements.

ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education)

The governing body of education for Illinois.The State Board consists of nine members who are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. Board members serve four-year terms, with State Board membership limited to two consecutive terms. The board sets educational policies and guidelines for public and private schools, preschool through grade 12, as well as vocational education. It analyzes the aims, needs and requirements of education and recommends legislation to the General Assembly and Governor for the benefit of the more than 2 million school children in Illinois.

LBS I (Learning Behavior Specialist I)

LBS I is the acronym for Learning Behavior Specialist I. An educator can teach cross-categorical special education with an LBS I endorsement.


A license issued by the State of Illinois authorizing the holder to teach or work with students at a specified grade or age level, or to serve in a specific role, such as a high school teacher or guidance counselor.

Out-of-State License

To receive a license as an out of state candidate, please go to the ISBE website.


Paraprofessionals are personnel authorized to be employed to assist in instruction (for example, a teacher’s aide). After July 1, 2013, all new applicants for a paraprofessional credential must hold an educator license with stipulations endorsed for a paraprofessional educator in order to be employed as a paraprofessional.


Professional Educator License is a type of license issued by the Illinois State Board of Education. It is valid for five full fiscal years and renewable.


Regional Office of Education works with the ISBE to supervise school districts in a specific region. The Regional Superintendent of Schools acts as the official advisor of the school officers and teachers throughout the region.


Self-Contained General Education endorsement allows an educator to teach all subject areas in one classroom to all students within the grade range of the license.


State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board the body that is authorized to use peremptory rulemaking in accordance with Section 5-50 of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act. This body functions to place into the Illinois Administrative Code the licensure policies as they are updated or changed into to effect.

School Support Personnel

School Support Personnel include the following: school social worker, school counselor, school psychologist, school nurse and non-teaching speech-language pathologist.

State-Approved Program

State-Approved Program is a higher education institution or not-for-profit organization’s focused program for the preparation of education personnel that leads to licensure in that state or country. To be considered an “approved program” in Illinois, an institution/organization must meet rigorous requirements and be recognized as such by the Illinois State Board of Education.


Test of Academic Proficiency is a comprehensive exam that measures reading, language arts, mathematics and writing. The test is offered through the ILTS and may be taken every 30 days until the candidate receives a passing score in all areas. May be replaced by the composite score of 22 or higher on the ACT Plus Writing test with 19 on the writing portion.


The basic purpose of the Committee on Advanced and Non-Teaching Educator Licensure Programs is to serve as a coordinating body regarding policies, curriculum, and procedures pertaining to advanced professional licensure/endorsement programs at Northern Illinois University.


The basic purpose of the University Committee on Initial Teacher Licensure is to review and approve policies, curriculum, and procedures pertaining to initial teacher licensure programs, especially as it relates to matters of program accreditation and issues regarding national, state, and local education.