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Best Education & Teaching Programs in Illinois for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Whether you’re exploring the possibilities of a teaching career or you’re an experienced educator, this guide provides a look at the best education and teaching programs in Illinois.

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Do you love sharing knowledge with someone and watching their eyes light up? Are you a seasoned veteran of the classroom looking for a leadership position? If so, this guide is for you. We put together a list of quality schools that offer the best education programs in Illinois for undergraduates and graduates, with affordability, financial aid, student support, and accreditation as our main criteria.

Get ready to learn about the various education degrees, projected job market, and important resources for educators in Illinois. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid foundation of knowledge about the best on-campus and online teaching programs in Illinois.

Best Colleges to Earn a Teaching Credential in Illinois: Campus-based

To help you get started in your search for the top education programs in Illinois, we spotlight three universities that stand out for their accreditation, student support, and affordability below. In these profiles, we share key points that make each school special, like accelerated programs or tuition that remains the same for in-state and out-of-state students. Whether you’re just exploring an education career or you want to advance one, this list is a good place to begin.

Northwestern University

In Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University offers students a lakefront campus setting and an intimate learning experience within its School of Education and Social Policy (SESP). With just 300 graduate students, this department offers six undergraduate programs, four master’s programs, three doctorate programs, and an accelerated program that enables undergrads to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just five years.

The application process involves submitting a nonrefundable application fee, an essay, a transcript, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. They also have the choice of pursuing a degree (most common) or simply taking a few classes without earning a degree.

  • Accelerated program to earn a combined bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Dual master’s degree
  • GRE exam optional
  • $4,037 per course unit for Master of Science in Education (doesn’t include books)
    • Elementary/Secondary Teaching = $60,555
    • Educational Studies or Learning Sciences = $48,444


List all that are available in bullet point form.

  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Elementary Teaching
  • Human Development in Context
  • Learning and Organizational Change
  • Learning Sciences
  • Secondary Teaching
  • Social Policy

Graduate Programs:

  • Dual Master’s Degree: Applied Economics and Social and Economic Policy
  • MS in Education (K-12)
  • MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy
  • MS in Learning and Organizational Change
  • Joint PhD in Computer Science and Learning Sciences
  • PhD in Human Development and Social Policy
  • PhD in Learning Sciences
  • Teacher Leadership Program

Specialization Options:

  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Teacher Leadership

Illinois State University