Teaching English as a Second Language, Graduate Certificate

Teaching English as a Second Language, Graduate Certificate
18 Credit Hours
Admits: Fall, Spring & Summer
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Program Tabs


The Graduate Certificate is a 18-credit-hour program designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to teach English as a Second Language in K-12 settings.  Completion of the Graduate Certificate leads to the “A”  license in English as a Second Language in North Carolina (ESL). Coursework includes linguistics, teaching methods, assessment, language acquisition and planning for K-12 instruction.

  • The program is built on social justice principles, with equity and advocacy at the center. The program draws on the most current research in linguistics, second language acquisition, curriculum design, and teaching methodologies.
  • The program culminates with a semester of student teaching, which is a full-time internship requiring employment as an English as a Second Language teacher in an approved school or a non-paid placement with a licensed ESL teacher in a public school. It requires application and approval during the semester prior to the internship which current teachers may complete in their own classrooms.

The program is 100% online and designed to be flexible for working professionals hoping to continue their education.

Graduates of the program will learn critical skills for positions in the field of Teaching English as a Second Language. Career examples include but are not limited to:

• Teachers in public or private K-12 schools or language schools • Individual tutors in schools and homes • Positions with multinational companies • Consultants within federal and state government agencies


Application Deadlines: 

  • August 1 (fall)
  • December 1 (spring)
  • May 1 (summer first half)
  • June 15 (summer second half)

Admissions & Requirements: 

  • Complete the Graduate School Admission Application.
  • A bachelor’s degree from a university accredited by a US Department of Education-recognized institutional accreditor.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 (If you do not have at least a 2.7 GPA, please see our GPA Forgiveness process).
  • Copies of unofficial transcripts from all academic coursework beyond high school.
  • A statement of purpose.
  • Two online professional recommendations coming from individuals in a supervisory capacity (i.e. principal or manager) and/or academic reference (i.e. professor).
  • A clear criminal background check, which will be requested after application submission. The cost of this will start at $18 and could take 2-4 weeks to be processed. Please note your application cannot move forward until this step is complete.
  • The online Graduate Certificate Program requires classroom observation hours to be completed in the state of North Carolina.

Required Courses (15 credit hours)

  • MDSK 6162: Planning for K-12 Instruction
  • MDSK 6163: Instructional Design Support
  • TESL 5103: Methods in Teaching English as a Second Language
  • TESL 5104: Authentic Assessment**
  • Choose one of the following options
    • TESL 6204: Multicultural Education
    • TESL 5204: Inclusive Classrooms for Immigrant Students
  • Select one of the following:
    • TESL 5205: Second Language Acquisition in K-12 Schools
    • ENGL 6163: Understanding Language Learning: Mind, Identity, and the Sociocultural World 

Internship/Student Teaching (3 credit hours)

  • TESL 6470 Internship in Teaching English as a Second Language*

* The graduate-level student teaching/internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the initial Standard Professional I teaching license.  Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time, semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and university faculty.  Lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of School and Community Partnerships to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the student teaching/internship experience and licensure requirements.  This contact should take place at least one semester before student teaching.

**Clinical Experiences
UNC Charlotte's Graduate Certificate in Teaching offers an efficient pathway to initial teacher licensure for candidates who have already earned a bachelor's degree and meets the  Educator Preparation Program (EPP) enrollment requirement for candidates seeking Residency Licensure. Course instruction is delivered 100% online using Canvas. Students are also required to attend virtual synchronous coursework for their teaching labs. Each semester consists of a clinical component of 15-30 hours per semester in a North Carolina school.  Candidates then participate in student teaching, a 15-week experience where they take over the total course instruction load from their clinical instructor. Current public school teachers may complete this requirement in their own classrooms.  Resident teachers are able to use their own classroom and teaching as their clinical and student teaching site.


*Rates are subject to change*


  • $288.82 per credit hour
  • $5,199.00 est. program cost

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • $536.98 per credit hour
  • $9,666.00 est. program cost


  • $1,098.21 per credit hour
  • $19,768.00 est. program cost