McKendree University to Offer New Paraprofessional+ Pathway Program for Aspiring Teachers Starting Fall 2023

(LEBANON, Ill., May 2, 2023) – Teacher’s aides and teacher’s assistants, also known as paraprofessionals, throughout the state of Illinois will soon be able to take advantage of McKendree University’s all-new program, Paraprofessional+ Pathway. This new program is fully online for students’ convenience and is perfect for paraprofessionals looking to become full-fledged teachers at the elementary level. A special education add-on license will also be available. This program is slated to begin in the fall 2023 semester.

Paraprofessionals enrolled in this program will be able to attain a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree and initial licensure in only two years. Additionally, students can expect to save up to $5,000 on program tuition. In order to be admitted, enrollees must be employed as a paraprofessional, obtain approval from their administrator and have 60-90 hours of bachelor coursework.

“The McKendree University School of Education faculty and staff worked closely with many area superintendents to create this unique online program in an effort to address the Illinois teacher shortage,” said Dr. Karee Nasser, professor of special education and chair of the School of Education at McKendree University. “Through the creative efforts of numerous stakeholders, we are excited to provide this convenient, cost-effective, high-quality program for many individuals desiring to become teachers in our region and state.”

The need for teachers in Illinois and throughout the nation is at a record high. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, more than 5,300 classroom positions were unfilled across the state during the 2022-2023 school year. In the Greater St. Louis region, that number reached close to 200 unfilled positions.

McKendree’s education program ensures that its students are fully prepared for the teaching career of their choice through a series of real-world experiences. Education students benefit from the longstanding relationships the University has with area school districts and are often paired with one of the many McKendree alumni who are now teachers at nearby K-12 schools. Furthermore, an impressive 98-100% of McKendree education students who remain in the state of Illinois after graduation land a job in their field of choice.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Ketchum, academic advisor for the School of Education at McKendree University, at