College of Education > Academics > Counseling & Special Education > Licensure & Endorsements > Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) Endorsement

Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) Endorsement

Special educators are exceptional teachers who have a deep understanding of students with disabilities and a repertoire of effective instructional strategies that enable them to help students reach their maximum potential. Special educators also mentor other teachers, manage teams, coach paraprofessionals and work closely with parents.

The nine-month Special Education Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) Endorsement program is designed to prepare currently licensed teachers for new roles as collaborators in specialized instruction and as advocates for students with disabilities. The program addresses the essential knowledge, skills and dispositions required to work with students with both high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities from ages five to 21 in a variety of settings, with an emphasis on helping them succeed in the general education curriculum.

Educators who earn a LBSI endorsement may work as special education teachers in urban and suburban, public and private schools, and private practice and private learning centers provide other career options. A critical shortage of special education teachers makes job opportunities plentiful.

Courses in the Special Education Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) Endorsement program are a subset of courses in the Special Education for Teachers concentration in the Special Education master’s degree program. Students who complete the endorsement program have the option to continue coursework in Special Education if they want to eventually earn an LBSI license or an LBSI license and a full master’s degree in this area.

Are you interested in enrolling in this program? View its admission requirements and application instructions here or contact the College of Education’s Office of Graduate Admissions​ at (773) 325-4405.


The Special Education (LBSI) Endorsement program leads to a LBSI endorsement from the Illinois State Board of Education, which can be added to an Illinois teaching license (PEL).

Program Format

To accommodate working professionals, the Special Education (LBSI) endorsement program can be completed fully online. In addition, the program’s schedule is flexible, allowing students to enroll full-time or part-time as their professional and personal schedules allow.

Program Requirements

The full Special Education (LBSI) endorsement program includes four courses (16 quarter hours) in Literacy and Specialized Instruction; however, students may apply to the Illinois State Board of Education for the LBSI endorsement (usually prior to beginning the program) and then take only the courses for which the state determines they are deficient (this may be fewer than the full number listed as the program’s requirements.)

Each course in this program requires 10 hours of field experience that can be completed in the candidates own school or classroom. Candidates who are not currently employed in a school will need to make arrangements to have access to a classroom where they can practice newly learned skills.

This program is typically eligible for financial aid. Please see this document and consult your advisor in the COE.

The endorsement is limited to the range of the program the candidate has completed to receive his/her Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL). For example, if a candidate has completed an elementary 1-6 program to receive the PEL, then the LBS1 endorsement will be applicable only to the 1-6 range.  For requirements of the full endorsement range (preschool-age 21), please go here.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for the Learning Behavior Specialist 1 (LBS1) endorsement only program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a valid Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL). 

To apply, please submit the following materials to the Office of Graduate Admission:

  • A completed graduate application
  • Online application fee
  • Copy of a valid Illinois teacher license
  • A bachelor’s degree conferred by an accredited, recognized institution
  • A previous grade point average of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale
  • Two letters of reference, one of which must be from persons familiar with your academic work
  • One official transcript from each college or university attended
  • Personal statement (see below)1
  • Resume or curriculum vitae showing evidence of adequate background for the program.
  • The admission process also may include an interview with program faculty.

Personal Statement

Write a personal statement that discusses your future goals and your thoughts about your career as a special educator. As part of your statement please consider the following: the possible tasks/roles of a special education teacher are multiple and include inclusion specialist, team teacher with general educators, specialized instruction for exceptional students, advocate for exceptional students, response to intervention (RTI) coordinator, case manager or provider of staff development. From your perspective, rank order the tasks/roles and discuss your rationale for the top ranked roles.  

Course Requirements

LBS1 Endorsement-Only Requirements 16 hours required, grade of B+ or better required

Course Title Quarter Hours

Licensure Tests

All individuals licensed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) are required to complete licensure tests specific to their teaching license. LBS1 Endorsement students must complete the following tests:

  • Learning Behavior Specialist I (test #290) – assesses knowledge of the following areas: understanding students with disabilities, assessing students and developing individualized programs, supporting development and learning, working in a collaborative learning community, and foundations and professional practice.

Candidates who are conditionally admitted with an out-of-state (OOS) teaching license are required to transfer their license into Illinois, and therefore may also be required to take additional licensure tests. Students should work with ISBE to fulfill outstanding test requirements. These additional licensure tests may include the following:

  • EdTPA – an electronic portfolio that includes video clips of instruction, lesson plans, student work samples, analysis of student learning and reflective commentaries. Usually completed during pre-service student teaching experience.  

Endorsement Application

Individuals must submit an application directly to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) upon successful completion of the required coursework and licensure tests. All individuals must meet ISBE requirements at the time of application. Requirements are subject to change per the discretion of ISBE.

Registration, testing schedules, and fees for ISBE licensure tests are available on the ISBE website.

Note that the LBS1 Licensure endorsement program listed above does not lead to a degree.

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