Francis Hall Classroom


The ESL Program Specialist Certification Program prepares educators to teach linguistically and culturally diverse students, from English learners to more advanced bilinguals, in a culturally responsive and effective way. The comprehensive and rigorous curriculum emphasizes practical applications of teaching English learners in PK-12 classrooms. The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


The program is designed for:

  • licensed Pennsylvania educators who seek to expand their certification areas or to become an ESL specialist
  • educators who hold an out-of-state ESL certification and seek to get certified in Pennsylvania
  • individuals who seek to teach English abroad and in private/nonpublic U.S. schools which do not require the PDE certification  


Upon the program completion, the teachers holding Instructional I/II will obtain the Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist (PK-12) Certification. The certification enables teachers to provide services to English learners as ESL specialist or embed English learning into their subject area classrooms. 


TESOL Program Mission

Guided by the Alvernia University’s principles of rigor, care and inclusiveness, we strive to prepare educators who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively and ethically teach English learning students. We aim to develop reflective practitioners committed to ongoing professional development who serve as agents of change in their educational contexts in order to empower diverse families and communities.

Program highlights: 

The program starts on Oct. 12 in 2023; Jan. 16, Mar. 7, May 13 & July 8 in 2024.

Read more about:


Questions? Contact:

Kelly Burr, M.Ed.

Director, Graduate Enrollment

610.796.8296 (phone),  610-796-8367 (fax)


Elena Lawrick, Ph.D.

Director, TESOL Programs


English as a Second Language Program
What teachers say about our Program
Teachers describe the program as “immeasurably valuable, engaging, real, supportive, challenging, excellent, organized effectively.” Teachers say that "the program stimulated their growth as intellectuals and educators of diverse students"
Elana Lawrick at Reading High School
Joining Knowledge, Love and ESL
Through a partnership with Reading School District, Dr. Elena Lawrick - director of the TESOL & Educational Leadership Programs - works to certify educators to teach English as a second language (ESL).