Chicago Teacher Residency™ FAQ
What makes an ideal Teacher Resident candidate?
There is no single “best” profile to become a successful teacher. The Chicago Teacher Residency seeks individuals from all backgrounds, who are passionate about transforming the educational outcomes for students in the lowest-performing schools, and are open to coaching and feedback.
What grade levels or subjects can I teach?
Depending on what degree program you choose as part of your residency, you can select grades anywhere from K-12.
As for subject (content area), Residents must have completed college-level coursework in the subject area(s) they wish to teach, in accordance with the Illinois State Board of Education standards for licensure.
It is okay to apply even if you identify missing coursework in the credit hours you have, especially if they amount to 6 or fewer semester hours. After you pass the initial screening, we will contact you to discuss options for addressing your missing coursework.
What are the minimum qualifications to apply?
To be eligible you must have:
- Bachelor’s degree by June
- 3.0 GPA (Preferred)
- U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident
- Course credits that meet the Illinois State Board of Education standards for licensure
- Valid Professional Educator’s License (for M.Ed. In Urban Teaching program only)
Can I apply to if I'm already a licensed teacher?
Yes, our program is appropriate if you have two or fewer years of full-time teaching experience as a licensed teacher. The Residency program will also allow you to earn a Master’s degree in one year and you will receive a year of full-time, and highly individualized mentoring and guided practice in the classroom.
I am (or will be) licensed to teach in another state, not Illinois. Can I still apply?
Yes! You will, however, need to contact the Illinois State Board of Education to request a transfer of your license to Illinois. Depending on the state you are coming from, this process may require you to pass one or more tests and you may also need additional coursework to meet Illinois requirements for your grade level or content area. Please call our Admissions office at (773) 534-0397 after you submit your online application to discuss whether you need to do anything further to meet Illinois licensure requirements.
Can I enroll to become licensed in another subject or grade-level?
No. We strongly advise against this, as you would be required to enroll in the non-licensed track, resulting in a duplication of previous courses already taken. It would be an easier and less costly option for you to contact Illinois Board of Education directly and ask about your options.
I am still in school completing my bachelor's degree, can I still apply for the Residency program?
Yes, if you receive your Bachelor’s degree by the time you enroll.
I have been out of college for several years, can I still apply?
Yes! We seek passionate and dedicated individuals with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Do I have to live in Chicago to participate?
No. During your training year, you may live in or outside the city of Chicago. However, Chicago Public Schools requires its teachers to live in the city of Chicago, so you will need to abide by the CPS residency policy when you begin your full-time teaching career following graduation.
Teachers in a few high-need areas (e.g. special education, math, and science) are eligible to apply for a waiver of the residency policy. However, we cannot guarantee that a resident will be granted a waiver.
I currently live outside Illinois, can I apply?
Yes, we welcome applications from candidates outside Illinois who choose to make a commitment to training and teaching in Chicago for five years or more.
Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?
All Residents must either be a U.S. citizen or authorized to work in the United States to qualify for the program. Unfortunately, we do not sponsor H1B Visas.
What is the application process?
- Online Interview
- University Admittance
- Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) exam (or waive it with your ACT/SAT score) — for non-licensed candidates only
What is the application deadline?
With rolling admissions, we review applications as they come in. However, to be considered for the 2018 cohort, you will need to complete your by one of the following deadlines:
|Oct. 27, 2017||Dec. 9, 2017||Jan. 19, 2018||Feb. 17, 2018||Mar. 16, 2018||Apr. 13, 2018|
I am unable to obtain my transcript from my university. What are my options?
Unfortunately, you will need to work with your university to negotiate the release of your transcripts. Some universities allow transcripts to be released if they are contingent on employment. Ultimately, it is the candidate’s responsibility to resolve this issue and we will not contact the school on your behalf.
I only took one course at a university. Do I still need to submit a transcript from that school?
Yes. We require a transcript from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended, regardless of how many credits were earned.
If I am not accepted to the program, can I apply again?
You may apply once for each program year, but you must submit an entirely new online application. We encourage you to find ways to strengthen your application (for example, complete missing coursework, obtain work or volunteer experience with urban children, etc.) when reapplying.
Which tests do I take?
All residents must pass the Illinois Licensure Testing System tests required for their content area before the start of the program:
|Grade Level/Content Area||Test Codes||Test Names|
|Early Childhood (K-2)||400
|Test of Academic Proficiency AND
Early Childhood Education (Final test 1/21/2018) OR
Early Childhood Education (Available starting 1/22/2018)
|Test of Academic Proficiency AND
|Middle (6-8) Language Arts||400
|Test of Academic Proficiency AND
Middle Grades Language Arts
|Middle (6-8) Mathematics||400
|Test of Academic Proficiency AND
Middle Grades Mathematics
|Middle (6-8) Science||400
|Test of Academic Proficiency AND
Middle Grades Science
|Special Education (K-12)||400||Test of Academic Proficiency
(Special Education tests are taken during the training year.)
We advise that you choose and register for your tests as early as possible. Applicants who take tests in by February have an advantage, because they may re-test (if necessary) to complete testing requirements in time to join the program in late June or early July.
How do I register for the tests?
Tests are administered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) in accordance with the requirements for teacher licensure established by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Register online.
Tests are computer-based and can be scheduled Monday through Saturday at one of over 4,400 Pearson VUE locations worldwide. The total registration fee for all 4 subtests of the Test of Academic Proficiency is $113. If taken separately (for example if you need to retake one part of the test), the registration for each subtest is $68. The registration fee for most content area tests is $122.
Send AUSL a copy of the unofficial score report that you receive upon exiting the testing center. Final scores are reported 2-4 weeks after the test date, also send AUSL a copy as soon as you receive them. (It is not necessary to request that a score report be sent to AUSL or our university partners when you register for your tests.)
Note: Fees and fee policies are established by ILTS and subject to change. AUSL does not represent that this information is guaranteed to be accurate.
Are there any study guides for the tests?
Preparing for the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) is critical. Fewer than one-third of test-takers pass all four sections of the TAP on the first attempt. The more you study and prepare, the greater your chances of doing well on the test.
If you need to retake a test, you must wait 30 days before retaking the same test. You will need to take the test by the end of May for the late June Residency year start. You must pass all required tests before the start of the program.
See below for information about available test preparation resources, many of which are free.
Official Study Guides and Practice Tests
- Visit the Illinois Licensure Testing System’s preparation resources. ILTS provides free study guides and practice tests, as well as a Computer-Based Testing Tutorial Preview.
- The Teacher Prep: Basic Skills mobile app may help prepare by offering a review of reading, writing, and mathematics content.
- An expanded study guide for the TAP is available for $19.95; full-length practice tests are available for the Reading Comprehension, Language Arts/Writing, and Mathematics subtests for $17.95 per practice test or $29.95 for the set.
- DePaul University College of Education preparation suggestions
- Tutoring support through DePaul University’s Academic Success Center is available for AUSL applicants who have been admitted to DePaul and accepted their offer of admission.
- National Louis University Library & Learning Support preparation and courses (free for AUSL applicants who have been admitted to National Louis University; contact AUSL admissions for registration form)
- Longsdale Publishing (free for AUSL applicants, access instructions are available here)
- A Math professor at Western Illinois University
- 4Tests Online Praxis Prep Test
- Praxis Math Study Guide
- Free SAT/ACT Prep (can be used to prepare for the TAP): SAT Exam Prep and College Board Full SAT Practice Test
- Video-BasedHelp/Lessons: Khan Academy and Mathpower.com
Books and Other Resources
- Look for books and flash cards at your local library or bookseller.
- AUSL has a library of resources available for checkout by accepted residents. Contact AUSL Admissions (773-534-0397 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up a time to pick up items from our office.
- GRE or SAT study guides from major test preparation providers (Barrons, The College Board, Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.) can be helpful in preparing for the Test of Academic Proficiency.
- Study guides and resources for Praxis tests can also be helpful in studying for the ILTS tests.
Do I have to take the Test of Academic Proficiency?
The Illinois State Board of Education allows applicants to use their ACT/SAT score in lieu of passing the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) for admission.
Please Note: This option is only allowed for candidates who have an existing ACT/SAT score that meets the criteria listed below. You will also still need to take and pass the appropriate content area tests.
The following criteria must be met:
- Prior to 9/1/2015 – Composite ACT Plus Writing score of at least 22 and a minimum 19 Combined English/Writing score
- 9/1/2015–9/9/2016 – Composite ACT Plus Writing score of at least 22 and a minimum 16 Writing score>/li>
- 9/10/2016 or later – Composite ACT Plus Writing score of at least 22 and a minimum 6 Writing score
(The ACT Plus Writing must be taken at the same time you receive a score of 22 or higher.)
- Prior to 3/5/2016 – Composite (Mathematics & Critical Reading) SAT score of at least 1030 and a minimum 450 Writing score
- After 3/5/2016 – Composite (Evidence-Based Reading & Writing + Mathematics) SAT score of at least 1110 and a minimum 26 Writing and Language score
- ACT & SAT: AUSL must receive your test scores by May 1, 2017 and ISBE Waiver by June 1, 2017.
Prospective candidates who wish to use their ACT/SAT score in lieu of the TAP must complete the following:
STOP: Only complete steps 2-5 if and when you are accepted into the program.
Step 2: Create an Educator License Information System (ELIS) account.
Step 3: Request ACT or SAT send an official score report to ISBE. (ISBE must receive the score reports directly from ACT/SAT.) For ACT, use institution code 3001; for SAT, use institution code 6773.
Step 4: Check your ELIS account regularly to check the status of your waiver request.
Step 5: Notify AUSL Admissions once ISBE has accepted your waiver. This must be completed by June 1, 2018 for the late June start.
* Instructions for calculating your combined English/writing score
I took and passed my Test of Academic Proficiency and/or Content Area tests a few years ago. Can I use those scores?
The ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency (formerly the Basic Skills Test) scores are valid indefinitely. All versions of the Test of Academic Proficiency/Basic Skills test (096, 300, or 400) are acceptable.
Content Area test scores are valid for 10 years from the date of application for educator licensure. Since you will apply for your license in June 2019, only passing scores dated after July 2009 are eligible.
What if I don’t pass the Test of Academic Proficiency or content area test on the first attempt?
You may re-take the Test of Academic Proficiency and/or your content area test(s) if you don’t pass the first time. The best strategy is to invest some time to study the required knowledge before you take the test so you will pass everything on the first attempt.
May I submit an application before I register for or receive my test scores?
Yes! We will review your application before you register for your tests. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be required to register for your tests and pass them before the start of the program.
Do I get paid?
All Residents receive a $20,000 stipend during their training year deposited directly to you to be used as needed (for tuition, living expenses, etc.).
What is the TEACH Grant?
The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete coursework needed to begin a career in teaching.
As a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve in which you agree to (among other requirements) teach in a high-need field, currently defined as:
- Foreign Language
- Special Education
- Reading Specialist
- Another subject listed on the state addition list
In addition, the service must take place:
- At an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families
- For at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which you received the grant.
NOTE: TEACH Grants are awarded on a rolling basis so the student may receive more than the annual award amount if they are eligible all four terms of their program. If you do not complete your service obligation, all TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. You must then repay this loan to the U.S. Department of Education, with interest charged from the date the TEACH Grant was disbursed (paid to you or on your behalf).
What is the Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program?
Qualifying residents are eligible for a scholarship of up to $5,000 towards education expenses.
Should I and how do I apply for the FAFSA?
You should apply for the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1. Gather all the necessary documents needed to fill out the FAFSA, which are listed below:
- Social Security number – be sure that it is correct! (Name should be used as it is stated on your Social Security Card.)
- Records of income, such as income earned from work and business, child support paid or received, and any other untaxed income. If available, refer to the W-2 Forms and the IRS Federal Income Tax Return 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ.
- Information about assets, such as savings, certificates of deposit, stock options, bonds, 529 plans, other college savings programs, real estate, and business.
- Driver’s license number, if you have one. (This is not required.)
- Citizenship records – alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. Citizen).
Access the FAFSA application at fafsa.ed.gov.
NLU school code: 001733.
DePaul school code: 001671.
What are my student loan options?
Student loans may include Federal Stafford and Graduate PLUS loans.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan:
- Up to $20,500 per academic year
- Accrues interest from the date of disbursement
Graduate PLUS Loan:
- Credit-based loan that can provide additional funding for educational and living expenses
- Award amount can be up to the cost of attendance minus any other aid received
- Accrues interest from the date of disbursement
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Under the Stafford Loan program, individuals who teach full time for five consecutive, complete academic years (following the residency training year) in high-needs schools (all AUSL schools qualify) may be eligible for loan forgiveness. Math, science, and special education teachers are eligible for up to $17,500 of loan forgiveness; teachers of other subjects are eligible for up to $5,000.
Are there other scholarship opportunities?
There are many additional scholarship opportunities available. Use these websites as a starting point for additional research.
- Scholarships.com – Education Scholarships
- Teachers Count – Scholarships
- Teach.org – Scholarships
- Peterson’s Scholarship Search
- SuperCollege.com – Scholarship Search
- Fastweb – Scholarships
- College Board’s Scholarship Search
- CollegeNET – Mach25 Scholarship Search
- Black Excel – 100 Minority Scholarship Gateway List
- FinAid! – Financial Aid Guide
- TG’s Adventures In Education
- GoCollege – Financial Aid Tool
- Masters in Education – Financial Aid & Scholarships
During The Residency Year
When does the Residency program start and end?
It’s a full academic year, which runs June to June.
What will my schedule look like during the Residency year?
- Summer: Full-time university coursework, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday at the university campus. Half of the graduate coursework for the Master’s degree is delivered during the summer; it is an intense academic experience and a full-time commitment (or more). Classes are held from July to early August.
- School year: Residents work in classrooms with their mentor teacher Monday-Thursday, whenever school is in session. Fridays are dedicated to university classes.
- Summer: In mid-July, following the Residency year and Master’s degree graduation, residents who will be teaching at AUSL-network schools attend professional development and planning to prepare for the first day of class.
Does the program provide housing?
The Chicago Teacher Residency does not provide housing. You are able to choose where you live. Many residents use the class Facebook group to find roommates.
What is the tuition cost for the Master’s degree?
Our university partners offer attractive tuition rates for residents and financial aid is available. For the one-year Master’s degree, tuition rates range from $18,250 to $19,999.
Can I choose which school I will train at during my residency year?
Residents do not choose their training site. Each site has a different mix of mentor teachers available for various grade levels and subject areas. We will choose your mentor teacher, matching each resident with the most appropriate mentor. You will learn your school and mentor assignment a few weeks after the start of the program (early August).
What salary will I earn after the Residency year?
Most graduating residents will be employed as Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers beginning in fall. As of 2018-19, the starting salary for a CPS teacher at a master’s degree level will be $56,625, plus pension and other benefits for a 41.6 week school year. This is more than $3,500 higher than the starting salary for a CPS teacher without a Master’s degree.
What is my commitment required following graduation from the Residency program?
The Chicago Teacher Residency is designed to create a pipeline of talented, specially-trained teachers to fill positions in AUSL-network Chicago Public Schools. When you join our program, you will sign an agreement committing to teach in an AUSL school for a minimum of four years after graduation.
If you are unable to meet your commitment, you will be required to repay all or a portion of the scholarship you received during your training year ($20,000 for most residents). If a resident is not placed in an AUSL school upon graduation, becomes disabled, or if there are other special circumstances, AUSL will be flexible about repayment expectations on a case-by-case basis. (Moving out of Chicago is not considered a special circumstance.)
Am I guaranteed to have a teaching job after graduating from this program?
Placing Chicago Teacher Residency graduates in AUSL-managed schools is part of AUSL’s mission. Each spring, AUSL principals observe residents in the classroom and select new teachers for their schools. However, AUSL does not force any principal to hire a teacher, so placement is not guaranteed.
For the small number of Residency graduates who are not placed in AUSL schools, AUSL provides assistance to find other positions in schools in high-needs Chicago neighborhoods. Historically, over 95 percent of our graduates are teaching somewhere in Chicago during the school year immediately following graduation.