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Open up a World of Opportunity

If you see yourself working in a multicultural or international setting— just imagine where you could go with an ESL Certificate.

You'll gain an advantage in an increasingly global workforce. You’ll be on your way to a rewarding career, like teaching English in a foreign-language school or workplace, or working with multilingual speakers in the US or abroad.

What Will You Learn?

Complete the 12-credit ESL certificate program and you’ll be well-prepared to teach English as a second or other language. The certificate focuses on:

  • Structures and uses of English
  • The role of sociocultural contexts in language learning
  • Second language acquisition theory
  • Practices and materials for use in the ESL classroom

All undergraduate majors can add the ESL certificate to their learning journey at IUP—and all 12 credits are offered online. That means flexibility as you chart your path to what’s next.

Why Earn Your ESL Certificate at IUP?

Connect with supportive faculty mentors

Our professors have a broad range of research interests and experiences with language teaching and are ready to share it with students like you.

Prepare for graduate school

At IUP, you’ll be challenged to grow academically by your course content and your professors, whose varied research interests might spark a new passion of your own. After earning your certificate, you’ll be ready to move on to graduate-level Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or applied linguistics work.

Launch into teaching abroad

Gain the concepts and experience to work with learners from around the world. You’ll be equipped for a rewarding career, like teaching ESL in the US K–12 system or in a workplace overseas.

Gain intercultural skills

Course content emphasizes the skills and knowledge you’ll need for international and multicultural workplaces.

Get field experience as an education major.

Teacher candidates in education majors will take an additional field course working with English Language Learners and gaining classroom experience. You’ll be ready to apply for ESL certificate from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Imagine Your Future

The ESL certificate program will give you a competitive edge while enhancing your ability to teach students from diverse backgrounds. Picture yourself teaching English in a variety of domestic and international contexts.

And you’ll be in demand: English as a second language is listed as a nationwide teacher shortage area by the US Department of Education.

Classes and Requirements

The ESL Certificate program is 12 credits, and all English as a second language classes included in the 12 credits are offered online.

Requirements for All Students Pursuing ESL Certificate


  • ENGL 415 English Language Study for Teachers 3cr
  • ENGL 426 ESL Methods and Materials 3cr


  • ENGL 424 Second Language Acquisition 3cr
  • ENGL 442 Cross-cultural Communication 3cr

Additional Requirement for Teacher Candidates Seeking ESL State Certification

If you’re a teacher candidate seeking ESL add-on certificate, you will need to take a three-credit field experience course offered in person beginning in the fall.

  • ENGL 493 Internship 3cr

While the program is open to all majors, only current teacher candidates can pursue the 15-credit certificate and ESL add-on certificate from the state.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Internship Requirement for Teacher Candidates

If you’re a teacher candidate in an education major, you’ll take an additional three-credit field experience course and be placed in an ESL classroom. You’ll put what you’ve learned into practice as you work under a master teacher, plan lessons, and assess student learning.

  • Internship requires 60 hours of direct, in-person work with English language learners. Education majors sign up in the fall semester.
  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours in an approved public school classroom setting in the fall.
  • Complete your remaining hours in the spring in a variety of approved settings, including after-school clubs that provide ESL tutoring and other community locations that offer services to English language learners.

Education majors must add the internship course in order to apply for ESL certification from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.