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Parapro Approval

Madison students in class waving their arms

Paraprofessional Requirements

In order to serve as a paraprofessional, an individual must hold either:

  • a valid Illinois teaching license (Professional Educator License), or
  • a valid Illinois substitute teaching license (Professional Educator License with Stipulations), or
  • a valid Illinois paraprofessional license (Educator License with Stipulations – PARA)

If you are eligible for a teaching or substitute license, the District encourages you to obtain that license as it allows you the most flexibility in terms of being able to serve as a paraprofessional (instructional aide), substitute, and/or teacher in our district.

Paraprofessional License

If you are NOT eligible for a teaching or substitute license, then you must meet the following requirements to obtain your paraprofessional license:

  • Be at least 20 years of age and,
  • Have 60 semester hours of college credit (regionally accredited institution), or
  • Associate’s degree or higher (regionally accredited institution), or
  • A High School Diploma or GED AND Passed the ETS Parapro Assessment with a score of 460 or higher, or
  • A high school diploma or GED AND Passed the applicable ACT WorkKeys assessments with minimum scores of Applied Mathematics – 4, Reading for Information – 4, and Writing or Business Writing – 3

To apply for a paraprofessional license you will need to use ELIS, the online licensure system. Please refer to the detailed directions below for information on the online process.

Applying for a Paraprofessional License

In order to obtain your paraprofessional license, you need to go online to make an application. The state is not taking paper applications. Please follow these steps to create an account with the state AND to make your application. You will need to have a credit card handy.

In order to be a paraprofessional, you must hold either: a valid teaching license, a substitute certificate, OR a paraprofessional endorsement (NCLB). If you are eligible for a substitute license (or a teaching license) you should obtain that instead of a paraprofessional license. It costs the same but it gives you more job flexibility. To obtain a substitute license you simply need a bachelor’s degree.

  1. Go to:
  2. On the left hand side in the light blue section you will see “Sign Up Now”. Click on that to create an account with ISBE.
  3. Enter your personal information (Name, Birth Date, SSN). You will create a login name and a password. We recommend that you use a personal email address with ISBE so that they can communicate with you in the future. Click continue.
  4. You should be re-directed to a log-in screen. You can now enter your login name and password. If you aren’t re-directed to a log in screen, you can go here and click on the “Educator Access” to log in to your ELIS account.
  5. On the Home Page of your personal account, you should see a link that says “Apply for Illinois License, Endorsement, or Approval”. Click here and follow the directions to apply for the license. You will either apply for a “substitute license” or a “paraprofessional endorsement (NCLB)”. To be eligible for a substitute license, you need to have a bachelor’s degree (it can be in any field). 

    NOTE: If you are eligible for a substitute license, you should apply for that. You will not need a separate paraprofessional license. A substitute license provides you with the MOST job flexibility.
  6. During the online application process, you will need to pay an application fee for the paraprofessional and/or substitute license.  The state will also assess a small fee for the credit card transaction. You will also need to pay to register the license in Region 05 – North Cook for its 5-year validity period.
  7. You will need to submit official transcripts to the state of Illinois. You should send those to: North Cook ISC / ROE 05, c/o Shirley Bloom, licensure, 2340 Des Plaines River Road, Suite 414, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Certification Questions

If you have questions about certification, please contact North Cook ISC at 847-824-8300 or visit
You may also visit ISBE’s website.