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ESL Certification

As the population of the United States becomes more multicultural, it is imperative to prepare teachers who are knowledgeable about working with culturally and linguistically diverse students. The English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification Program provides teachers and preservice teachers with a pathway to the add-on endorsement for teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) in PA schools. The 15-credit series of courses meets content guidelines set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for the ESL Program Specialist Certificate. Embedded in program are 60 hours of field experience. 

Please note that this is an add-on endorsement that must be combined with an instructional certificate in order to teach ESL in Pennsylvania public schools. 

Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map. 

The ESL Certificate is offered cooperatively by the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the Department of Applied Linguistics. Students who are interested in teaching English in other countries or would like to teach adult English language learners should consider the Master's of Arts degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) program in the Department of Applied Linguistics


Students complete five courses for certification as an ESL Program Specialist:

Immersion Experience Option

ESL certification requirements may be completed on campus or through an intensive study option, Teaching ESL with Immersion Experience, which offers the opportunity to complete the program over two academic sessions (Spring and Summer) and includes an international practice teaching experience. A specific application process is required. Applications for the Immersion experience are submitted in November for the program beginning the following January.

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Contact Information

If you have questions, please contact:

Dr. Mari Haneda
155 Chambers Building

For questions about the Immersion Experience, please contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Smolcic
257 Chambers Building
(814) 867-3199