What Classes Do I Need to Earn a TESOL Teacher Certificate?

Learn about the pedagogy and language classes offered in campus-based, online and blended-format bachelor's degree or post-baccalaureate certificate programs that can qualify you to seek a teaching certification endorsement for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a TESOL Teacher Certificate?

You can earn a TESOL teacher certificate by successfully completing a specialized training program offered through several colleges and universities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Certificate programs can take 3-12 months to complete. TESOL teacher training classes are offered as individual certificate programs or as part of a degree program in linguistics or education. TESOL certificate programs, prerequisites and completion requirements vary based on the school awarding the certificate.

To teach in public schools, associations or agencies, you'll typically need to earn a state teaching license with a TESOL endorsement. State regulations vary, though you'll usually need to complete some training and earn licensure. If you teach for private schools or organizations, you might not require a teaching license, though employers might prefer you have some formal TESOL training.

What Is the Program Curriculum?

TESOL certificate programs cover theories and practices related to teaching English as a second language and teaching English as a foreign language. Undergraduate training programs include coursework in TESOL lesson planning, teaching methods and classroom management. You'll learn how to teach, test and assess various language usage skills, such as reading, writing, listening and speaking. Some schools give you the opportunity to complete a teaching practicum during the program.

Graduate-level programs include advanced instruction in TESOL teaching methods. You'll learn to use applied linguistic research methods and examine topics, such as the psychology of language and the relationship between language and society. Graduate certificate programs often require a teaching practicum, and both undergraduate and graduate certificate programs might offer international teaching internships. TESOL teaching certificate course topics generally include:

  • English grammar
  • Vocabulary and pronunciation
  • Cross-cultural awareness
  • Theories of second language acquisition
  • Pedagogy of language
  • Language skills assessment
  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • TESOL program design

What Do I Need to Enroll in a Certificate Program?

TESOL teacher certificate training programs are offered by community colleges, extension schools and universities. Certificate training is offered through classes, seminars, summer programs, extension courses and continuing education programs. You'll usually need to demonstrate a proficiency of both English and at least one other foreign language. You might be able to enroll in a TESOL program with only a high school diploma; however, to teach, you'll need to eventually earn at least a bachelor's degree and complete education training.

Some graduate TESOL certificate programs are offered concurrently with master's degree programs, and you might be able to apply credit earned toward your degree. Depending on the program, you can either earn your TESOL teaching certificate while pursuing your master's degree or upon completion of all of a master's degree requirements.

Can I Earn a Certificate Online?

Several schools offer TESOL undergraduate and graduate certificate programs online and in blended programs that provide a mix of online and on-campus courses. Curricula and prerequisites are similar for both traditional and online programs. Though lectures are available via the Internet and assignments may be completed online, some programs require you to complete a hands-on TESOL teaching practicum in person.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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