Teaching Here

Why Choose Chicago Northwest Indiana?

A headshot of a young woman with long dark hear wearing a white t-shirt.
Mary Nikoo (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '13)

Chicago continues to increase my understanding for diversity in all of its forms, the community of Austin, in particular, has unveiled a love for a family neighborhood that models relentless compassion.

A young Asian-American female sitting on the floor holding a young Asian-American child.
Sammi Wong (Chicago-Northwest Indiana, '14)

I love that every type of human exists in this city - affluent people, homeless people, Asians, immigrants, college graduates, single mothers - whatever story you want to hear, somebody here in Chicago has lived it.

Becoming Certified to Teach

  • Overview
  • What does it cost to become certified?
  • Is a Master's degree required?
  • Do I need to attend an alternative certification program if I am already certified?
  • Where can I find more info?

While the requirements to become an Illinois or Indiana teacher are rigorous, all Chicago-Northwest Indiana corps members end their two-year commitment as certified teachers.



Corps members must pass the basic skills assessment (ACT, SAT or Test of Academic Proficiency) and the appropriate content test(s) for the state in which they’re teaching. In most instances you can opt out of taking the Basic Skills Assessment with previous ACT or SAT scores, however, the content test(s) are required for all corps members.


University Partners

Corps members are assigned to their university partner based on where their certification area (for example, in 2017 all our ECE corps members attended Erikson Institute while our Elementary-High School corps members attended Relay Graduate School of Education). All corps members hired in Northwest Indiana attend Calumet College of St. Joseph


Teaching in Illinois

State Law requires that corps members enroll in an alternative certification Master of Teaching program in order to legally teach in Chicago. Our university partner for grades 1-12 (all subjects) is Relay Graduate School of Education. Our partner for Early Childhood Education will be determined later this fall.

Chicago corps members receive the state’s Educator License with Stipulations (ELS) during their first year. They go on to complete their Professional Educator License (PEL) at the end of their second year, provided they have fulfilled all coursework, processing, and testing requirements. All Illinois corps member will receive their Masters of Teaching in their assigned subject area.


Teaching in Indiana

State Law requires only one year of coursework (and no Master’s Degree) via our university partner: Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Northwest Indiana corps members receive the state’s Transition to Teach (T2T) license during their first year, which is valid for three years (and renewable), provided they have fulfilled coursework, processing, and testing requirements

Certification and university partner coursework can cost up to $17,500 over two years so corps members should be prepared to invest that much in certification cost. However, tuition can be significantly lowered via the AmeriCorps award. From 2014-2016, corps members (eligible for the full AmeriCorps Award) paid between $6,000-$7,000 in tuition and fees towards their certification. This is subject to change every year.

Yes. All Illinois corps members are required to complete a master’s degree in order to receive their license. This is a requirement of the State of Illinois, not of Teach For America, which took effect in 2015. If you teach in Northwest Indiana a Master’s degree is optional, given different State Certification Laws, and you can decide at the end of your first year if you would like to opt into that track. 

It depends. In most instances if you completed a four year college degree leading to licensure in a different state you will be able to transfer that to Illinois or Indiana. If you are able to fully transfer your license you will not need to attend a university partner. If you are not able to fully transfer your license you will work with the Onboarding Team to understand next steps. 


Download our Matriculation Packet to see what our incoming corps members receive once they decide to join us in Chicago-Northwest Indiana. 

This packet has information on the onboarding process, program requirements, summer training, and much more.

Note: This is a Matriculation Packet from the 2015-2016 school year, so please ignore the program dates and deadlines!

What You Need to Know


Salaries range from $38,000 to $51,000.




Dominican University (IL),
Relay Graduate School of Education (IL),
Calumet College (IN)



Two years

Subjects And Grade Levels

  • Early Childhood Elementary (Pre K-K)
  • Elementary (grades 1-5)
  • Middle School English (grades 6-8; limited positions)
  • Middle School Math (grades 6-8)
  • Middle School Science (grades 6-8)
  • Secondary Biology (grades 9-12)
  • Secondary Chemistry (grades 9-12)
  • Secondary English (grades 9 - 12; limited positions)
  • Secondary Math (grades 9-12)
  • Special Education - Elementary (grades 1-8)*
  • Special Education - High School (grades 9-12)*

*Please note: if you are assigned to teach Special Education your certification will cover grades 1-12, however, we assign you to Elementary or High School to make the hiring process more certain. ​

Neighborhood Tour

  • Chicago - Hyde Park
  • Chicago - Humboldt Park
  • Indiana - Hammond
A historic brick apartment building with cherry trees blossoming in the courtyard.


One of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods, it’s a great choice for our numerous corps members that are placed in schools in nearby Woodlawn, Washington Park, and Englewood. Located on the city’s south side, it’s home to the University of Chicago, which means that Hyde Park residents benefit from an array of fantastic bookstores and public lecture series. On the university’s campus are the Oriental Institute and the Smart Museum of Art, and just under two miles away is Chicago’s famed Museum of Science and Industry.

In the summer, corps members go swimming off of Promontory Point, which also offers amazing views of the Chicago skyline. Hyde Park is also ideal for music lovers, who can pick up some vinyl at Hyde Park Records, check out a concert at The Promontory, or experience the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

A photo taken on the bank of a lake, with a bridge in the background.


Located on the northwest side of Chicago, this neighborhood is well known for its vibrant murals, historic boulevards and phenomenal food. Humboldt Park itself is one of the city’s most beautiful green spaces, where kids get to imagine playing for the Cubs or White Sox in a replica baseball stadium, residents enjoy Latin Jazz festivals and domino games near the inland beach, and families take photos at the famed boathouse.

In the summer corps members can often be found in the park or cruising along the 606, an abandoned rail line turned elevated trail that runs through Humboldt, Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park. In the winter months, residents can visit the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (which was once the horse stables for the park), explore the various shops on Division, or do what Chicagoans do best: eat! Humboldt has an endless array of restaurants, and though it’s famous for its Puerto Rican cuisine, it has fantastic sushi, burgers, and bakeries as well.

During the 2015-2016 school year we placed 19 corps members in Humboldt Park schools. One of our partners, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, is doing great work in the community, recently becoming an International Baccalaureate school and exceeding the district’s graduation rate and college acceptance rate!


Hammond is the fifth largest city in Indiana, and one of the oldest in Lake County. It’s located at the very northwestern corner of the state, right along the Indiana – Illinois border. Home to 80,000 residents, it is the most populated city in its county and is part of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area. Sitting along Lake Michigan, Hammond has spectacular views as well as numerous recreational and entertainment opportunities.

Corps members, and the larger community, have a diverse group of activities to keep them occupied year-round. Popular attractions include:

We’ve been partnering with the City of Hammond since 2011 and have had corps members placed in six schools within the district.

Visit Hammond's website for more info.

Alumni Spotlights

Chicago–Northwest Indiana 2013
Jacob Allen (Chicago–Northwest Indiana '13) is the Co-Founder and CEO of pilotED schools, which aims to prepare students to become leaders with a strong sense of self, agency, and enduring academic competitiveness.​ He shares what drew him to TFA and how TFA alums continue the success of our collective work for students everywhere.
Chicago–Northwest Indiana 2008
Jesse Ilhardt (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '08) is the co-founder an early education non-profit, VOCEL (Viewing Our Children as Emerging Leaders). She shares why she jumped at the chance to join TFA and teach preschoolers so close to her hometown.
Chicago–Northwest Indiana 2008
Jonathan Chaparro (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '08) is the Founding Chicago Site Director at Braven. He shares how growing up in the south-side of Chicago with the strong support of family and teachers shaped his life trajectory.
Chicago–Northwest Indiana 2011
Joe Holberg (Chicago-Northwest Indiana '11) is the founder & CEO of Holberg Financial, a financial-education-technology (fin-ed-tech) startup. He reflects on how his background and TFA experience fueled his passion for a quality education for all children.

Get to Know OneGoal

Regional Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs