Senator Glowiak Hilton


SPRINGFIELD – Under a new law supported by State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs), more paraprofessionals, or teacher aids, will have access to classrooms sooner.

“Paraprofessionals are vital members of a school’s support staff,” Glowiak Hilton said. “By lowering the eligible age, Illinois is offering an opportunity to an aspiring educator or other responsible adult while working to address the statewide teacher shortage.”

In Illinois, paraprofessionals are currently required to be at least 19 years old. Under the new law, the age would be lowered to 18 years old, as long as the individual meets the other license requirements. Paraprofessionals are required to have a high school diploma, an associate degree and pass a competency test.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the number of unfilled paraprofessional positions in school districts across the state nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022. There were 1,237 unfilled positions last year compared to 2,397 this year, making this law more important than ever.

“Paraprofessionals add another layer of support to the classroom, allowing students to have more opportunities for one-on-one assistance,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Lowering the required age by one year will allow additional qualified individuals to take on this role and offer support to our school system.”

Senate Bill 3988 was signed into law Wednesday and is effective Jan. 1, 2023.