The ESL Program Specialist (PK-12) Certification curriculum includes 5 courses (16 credits), 20 hours of fieldwork, and 40 hours of internship. Up to 6 graduate credits from another university may be transferred upon approval of the program coordinator.

The coursework is offered on campus, remotely, and online. Take advantage of a rolling admissions process and apply now! 



MED 574, Foundations of Teaching English as a Second Language (3 credits, 10 fieldwork hours)

Learn about various types of English learners and the policies, regulations, and processes which pertain to the provision of inclusive and equitable education to English learners in PK-12.

This course aims to build the foundational knowledge for teaching English as a second language. It covers key topics related to providing English language learners with equitable quality education compliant with federal and state laws and regulations. Examined topics include diversity of English learners, legal framework, language learning program models, instructional differentiation, advocacy, and assessment Experiential learning in the format of professional learning community and data interpretation skills are emphasized. 10 hours of field experience are integrated into course assignments.

MED 576, Structure of American English for Educators (3 credits)

Advance your knowledge of the English language, typical difficulties of English learners, and effective instructional strategies to teach the American English phonology and grammar. 

This course surveys the structure of American English from the perspective of teachers of English language learners. It aims to help teachers develop linguistic and pedagogical knowledge by exploring the English phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics, an impact of native language on learning English, common difficulties with learning English, and effective instructional strategies for teaching English.

MED 578, Cultural Aspects of Teaching English as a Second Language (3 credits, 5 fieldwork hours)

Understand the role that culture plays in educational contexts. Learn the evidence-based practices of culturally responsive teaching and effective engagement of culturally diverse parents.

This course explores a complex role of culture in education. It examines key concepts of intercultural communication and evidence-based practices of culturally responsive teaching and engagement of culturally diverse families. Acquiring the theoretical knowledge is combined with experiential learning activities, digital collaborative projects, and action research project. 5 hours of field experience are integrated into course assignments.

MED 682, Second Language Acquisition (3 credits, 5 fieldwork hours)

Examine the key factors that impact learning English as a second language. Learn how to optimize the conditions of English language development in your classroom. 

This course takes on a teacher’s perspective to examine the research on key factors that influence learning a second language. A two-phase course structure enables students to make connections between SLA research and teaching emergent bilinguals. First, students will build the knowledge of second language acquisition theories and research. Then, they apply this knowledge through several projects situated in authentic classrooms, collaborative digital environments, and focused synthesis of published research. Course assignments utilize authentic English language learners’ data and simulate typical challenges of teaching emergent bilinguals. This helps foster the ability to identify student’s English language development needs and optimize the conditions of English language learning through reflective analysis and research-informed practices. 5 hours of field experience are integrated into course assignments. 

 MED 684, Instruction and Assessment for English Language Learners (4 credits, 40 internship hours)

Learn effective strategies of teaching English and content to English learners, monitoring their English language development, and assessing their progress in academic achievement. Practice carrying out the responsibilities of an ESL program specialist in authentic educational contexts. Create a professional portfolio. 

This capstone course with integrated 40-hour internship experience covers the principles and strategies of effective instruction and assessment for English learners. The course emphasizes the development of reflective English language teaching. During a structured and supportive internship experience, students will practice a range of ESL-certified teacher’s responsibilities including teaching and assessing English learning students; monitoring, documenting, and assessing students’ English language development and academic learning; observing lessons and providing recommendations to teachers; and designing and delivering professional development for educators. Students will create an ESL teaching portfolio. 


Prior to the beginning of a course with fieldwork and/or internship hours, candidates are required to submit their clearances including PA Criminal Record check (Act 34), PA Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151), FBI Clearance (Act 114), and TB Screening. Read more about clearances here


Read about the program in the Graduate Catalog. Read more about the program's admission requirements and application process.

After completing the program, students will be able to apply for the Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist (PK-12) Certificate (CSPG 68) in TIMS. Please note that in Pennsylvania, the ESL Program Specialist certification is added to the instructional certificate. Therefore, prepared candidates for the ESL Program Specialist Certification should hold Instructional I/II or out-of-state ESL Certificate in order to receive their ESL Program Specialist Certificate.  


Program Exit Requirements

  • Complete the 16-credit coursework including field experiences
  • Earn GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Satisfy the requirements set forth in 24 P.S. §12-1209 relating to good moral character


ESL Program Specialist (PK-12) Certification
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