Jun 17, 2024  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 

Teacher Certification - Physics

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Individuals wishing to receive certification and/or endorsement to teach physics or general science with a physics emphasis should apply for admission to the physics teacher certification program. Admission to teacher certification in the Department of Physics may take place at any time once the student is enrolled at NIU. This application should be made in writing to the physics education coordinator. Undergraduates should formally apply for admission during the first semester of their sophomore year, except in the case of transfer students who normally apply during their first semester at NIU. Graduate students and students who already possess the baccalaureate or higher degree and wish to pursue certification and/or endorsement with or without becoming a candidate for a degree, should apply for admission to the coordinator of physics education as early as possible. All certification students should seek advising as soon after enrollment as possible.


The student must have completed at least PHYS 210 and PHYS 211 or PHYS 253 and PHYS 273, or their equivalents as determined by the coordinator, and apply in writing to the physics education coordinator. To be admitted, the student must be enrolled in a degree program leading to a degree appropriate to certification being pursued or be in possession of an appropriate degree from an accredited institution, and provide evidence of proficiency in reading, mathematics, and the language arts. Evidence of required proficiencies consists of passage of the ICTS Test of Basic Skills and a grade of C or better in all NIU core competency courses. The student must also have a satisfactory interview with the physics education coordinator in which the student demonstrates attitudes and motivations appropriate to the professional educator.


The State of Illinois has moved from a course-based set of requirements for certification to course and standards-based requirements. Approved certification programs must have requirements that meet or exceed the state requirements. A list of the current state minimum requirements is available from the Illinois State Board of Education web page. The physics certification program requirements are designed to prepare candidates for certification both to meet state requirements and to demonstrate that they meet state teaching standards.

At this time requirements include the possession of an appropriate baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, a minimum of 32 semester hours in the field, pre-student teaching clinical experiences at the 6-12 level or proof of teaching experience at the 6-12 level, student teaching or an approved teaching experience, passage of the basic skills and secondary certificate subject matter examinations of the Illinois Certification Testing System and demonstration that the candidate has met teaching standards for the physics teacher. Contact the discipline coordinator for information on the necessary criteria that experiences must meet to be used to meet certification requirements.

Additional course work is required as determined and approved by the physics education coordinator to meet state standards for the preparation of teachers, certification requirements and student needs. Students must also qualify for an endorsement in a subject area in addition to physics.

  • A minimum of 20 additional hours of physics must be taken for certification.


A minimum GPA of 2.50 in all undergraduate course work at NIU and a minimum 3.00 GPA in all graduate course work at NIU.

Satisfactory review of progress with the physics education coordinator each semester after admission to the certification program.

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