Academic Programs

Elementary Education

When you choose to become an elementary education major at Benedictine University at Springfield, you will work toward a Type 03 Elementary Teaching Certificate, which will prepare you to teach in grades K-9 in any school or district in Illinois. In addition, you will be able to teach middle school in an area of endorsement that you elect during your work in the Benedictine program. You will be prepared to meet the challenges of teaching in a diverse and changing world.

Advantages of studying elementary education at Benedictine

  • Personal attention and guidance provided by skilled academic advisors.
  • The career flexibility made possible by a liberal arts degree.
  • The opportunity to gain experience through off campus preclinicals and a 16-week student teaching experience under the guidance of certified professionals.
  • Integration of technology into coursework.
  • Quality instruction from experienced faculty who have worked extensively in both private and public schools.
  • Certification as a teacher in Illinois.

What are the requirements for elementary education?

Students prepare for a degree in Elementary Education that leads to an Illinois teaching certificate by completing courses that satisfy general education and professional education requirements along with an 18 semester-hour concentration in a major area. This
concentration satisfies the subject area requirements for a middle-grade endorsement. Other requirements are as follows:

  • A course of study that requires a minimum of 120 semester hours.
  • Students must meet the 2.75 GPA for admission into the education program.
  • Completion of the Basic Skills core, the Common core, electives in the Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and the Multicultural/Non-Western culture.
  • All majors must submit at least 33 hours within the Department, excluding student teaching, plus six hours of math all with a “C” or better.
  • An 18-hour endorsement provides course content needed for teaching at the middle school level. Nine of the 18
    semester-hours must be in upper division at the 200-300-level.

As candidates progress through their program, they will develop an understanding of the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the new Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core. In addition to successful completion of their coursework, they will also develop a professional portfolio that demonstrates their growth in teaching and service to education as well as their understanding of the Illinois standards. Similarly, technology will be an integral part of their development through the use of LiveText as a part of their coursework along with the preparation of their portfolio. Their preparedness to teach will also be demonstrated through passage of the Illinois Certification Testing System’s (ICTS) Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP), Content-Area Test and Assessment of Professional Teaching Test (APT).

PLEASE NOTE: All sections of the Test for Academic Proficiency (TAP) must be successfully completed before being admitted to the Teacher Education Program.

What does elementary certification at Benedictine offer?


The program provides students with opportunities to develop strong interpersonal skills, effective communication practices and a dedicated commitment to children in an atmosphere of reflection and community.

Q. If I want to teach high school, is this the program for me?
A. No, this is not the program for you. By completing this Program you will be certified to teach kindergarten through middle school.

Q. Are courses offered at night?
A. While some courses are offered at night, not all are. In particular, the 3 preclinical experiences can only be completed during the day when children normally attend school.

Q. What exactly is a preclinical experience?
A. There are 3 courses that have a preclinical experience tied to them. While the student is learning content information through participation in an on-campus course, he/she is assigned to a specific teacher who is currently teaching in an elementary or middle school. The student spends a minimum of 40 hours assisting the teacher with a variety of tasks, observing the class and teaching two mini-lessons. The purpose of the preclinical is to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Q. How long does it take to complete the program?
A. For graduation a student must earn a minimum of 120 semester hours of which 45 hours must be from Benedictine University and 55 hours from a 4-year institution. Most students who have earned the required courses as freshmen and sophomores complete the Teacher Education Program in two years.

Q. What is a “middle school endorsement” and do I need one if I don’t want to teach middle school?
A. An endorsement is a concentration of a minimum of 18 credit hours in a particular subject area such as math, science or language arts. The endorsement is an integral part of the Teacher Education Program and is required for both certification and graduation.