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 UNC Charlotte Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language is an 18-credit-hour program crafted for individuals with a bachelor’s degree aiming to pursue a career in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in K-12 settings. This comprehensive program equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve the “A” license in ESL in North Carolina, marking a critical step towards shaping the future of young learners.

Key Program Features

  • Accreditation and Licensing: Successful completion enables eligibity for the “A” license in ESL for North Carolina, opening doors to teaching opportunities across the state.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The program offers a robust curriculum covering essential areas such as:
    • Linguistics: Deep dive into the structure and function of language.
    • Teaching Methods: Innovative strategies for effective language teaching.
    • Assessment: Techniques for evaluating student progress.
    • Language Acquisition: Insights into how students learn a second language.
    • K-12 Instruction Planning: Tailored plans for diverse classroom environments.
  • Focus on Social Justice: A unique emphasis on equity and advocacy, preparing educators to foster inclusive learning environments.
  • Research-Driven: Incorporates the latest findings in linguistics, second language acquisition, and teaching methodologies to ensure you're at the forefront of the field.
  • Practical Experience: A semester of student teaching, offering real-world experience through a full-time internship. This can be completed in an approved school or through a non-paid placement, with current teachers having the option to complete this in their own classrooms.

Program Format

Designed with flexibility in mind, the program is 100% online, catering specifically to working professionals seeking to advance their education without compromising their current obligations. This modern approach ensures accessibility for all, regardless of geographic or time constraints.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the UNC Charlotte Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language program are well-equipped for a wide range of career paths in the burgeoning field of ESL. Potential career opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • K-12 School Teachers: Both in public and private sectors, or language schools.
  • Individual Tutors: Offering personalized instruction in schools and homes.
  • Corporate Positions: Roles in multinational companies requiring expertise in ESL.
  • Government Consultants: Advisory positions within federal and state education agencies.

Request More Information

Explore this unique opportunity to advance your career in ESL education and become a leader in fostering inclusive and effective learning environments. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist today to learn more! Complete the For More Information box on this page or contact us using the links below.


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

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • $536.98 per credit hour


  • $1,098.21 per credit hour

Find more information regarding tuition and fees here ».