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Chapter Two: Membership

TRS is the retirement system for educators in positions requiring licensure under the Illinois School Code and employed in public schools outside the city of Chicago.

Covered positions

You qualify for TRS membership if you are employed as:

  • an assistant regional superintendent of education,
  • a chief school business official,
  • a classroom teacher,
  • a driver education teacher,
  • an employee of a regional superintendent in an educational program that serves two or more districts and in a position that requires licensure,
  • a regional superintendent of education,
  • a retired teacher if post-retirement employment limitations are exceeded,
  • a school administrator requiring licensure,
  • a school librarian,
  • a school nurse,
  • a school psychologist,
  • a school social worker,
  • a substitute or part-time teacher, or
  • a teacher of homebound students.

You also may be a member of TRS if you are employed in a position requiring teacher licensure in certain state government agencies or in certain positions with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) or TRS.

Noncovered positions

You do not qualify for TRS membership if you are employed as:

  • an adult education teacher,
  • an assistant athletic director or athletic director not requiring licensure,*
  • an athletic official with IHSA or similar contract,
  • a behavior analyst,
  • a buildings and grounds manager,
  • a bus driver,
  • a cafeteria worker,
  • a clerical worker,
  • a construction manager,
  • a contract speech pathologist under section 5/14-6.04 of the School Code,
  • a custodian,
  • a graduate general administrator intern,
  • a home educator/parent educator,
  • an individual aide,
  • a mobility instructor,
  • a non-licensed school administrator,
  • an occupational therapist,
  • a paraprofessional/teacher’s aide,
  • a physical therapist,
  • a physical therapist assistant,
  • a psychologist intern,
  • a retired teacher who complies with post-retirement employment limitations,
  • a secretary,
  • a security guard,
  • a social worker intern,
  • a speech and language pathologist assistant,
  • a student teacher or worker,
  • an ROTC instructor,
  • a tutor,
  • a technology director not requiring licensure,* or
  • a transportation director.

* Depending on the job duties, these positions may or may not require licensure. 

Positions that do not qualify for TRS membership may be covered by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).

The preceding lists are not all-inclusive. Contact ISBE with any questions regarding licensure requirements.

Effective date of membership

The effective date of your TRS membership is the day you begin employment in a TRS-covered position. If your employer has not recorded your date of employment, your membership date is the first payroll day for which contributions from your salary are required.

Proof of birth

If you have not already submitted a “proof of birth” in the secure member area online, it must be provided to TRS in order to receive future benefits. Acceptable proof of birth includes: a copy of your birth certificate, valid passport, valid driver’s license or any other state-issued identification card displaying your date of birth.

Felony conviction

If you are convicted of a work-related felony while you are a member of TRS, you become ineligible for TRS membership and benefits. However, you may take a refund of your TRS retirement contributions. (See “Refund of Retirement Contributions.”)

If you are convicted while an annuitant, you are entitled to a refund of your retirement contributions that have not been paid as an annuity benefit.