Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)

Graduate Certificate | Online & In-Class Participation | Complete in 1 year

At Shippensburg University, become part of a rich history of over 140 years in education and professional development for teachers. The graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is convenient and ideal for working education professionals with the following program benefits:

  • Highly interactive 16-credit hour program, consisting of 5 course
  • Accelerated format allows for you to complete within 1 year
  • Blended-format program with required online and in-class participation
  • A cohort-setting that promotes a positive and personalized learning environment

Advantages of the TESL Certificate

  • Design programs to effectively plan, instruct, and conduct assessment with K-12 students who are English Language Learners.
  • Provide support to English Language Learners by learning the historical aspects of TESL within the U.S. and understand the role of first languages for English Language Learners.
  • Apply second language acquisition theories and apply them to the instruction and assessment of English Language Learners.
  • Gain new strategies for developing your TESL skills that will help you connect with the English Language Learner, their community and families across the areas of writing, reading, and listening.

Grow your skills to make a major impact in your school district, the  lives of students and their families, see complete course information, payment, and registration information below.

The Importance and Future of TESL

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the need for teachers who are prepared to meet the needs of English Language Learners is growing. Here's why developing your skills and earning TESL certification is important: 

  • "Current data from the US Department of Education (July 2010) shows that enrollment of English language learners (ELL) has increased 114.5 percent in Pennsylvania within the last ten years, while enrollment of all other students has decreased 1.4 percent."
  • "There are approximately 48,000 English language learners enrolled in 462 of 630 LEAs within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These students represent 200 different languages. Spanish speakers represent 75 percent of the ELL population, followed by Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic and Korean."
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for teachers will improve from 2012 to 2022 as a significant number of older teachers are expected to reach retirement age. The "short supply" of teacher of English as a Second Language will "further result in job opportunities." 



The TESL Certificate consists of five courses with 16-credit hours of graduate coursework. The program is designed in a blended format with online and face-to-face classroom participation and can be completed within 1 year. The last course will include practicum experience teaching English within a local migrant center.

  • TESL 500 Foundations of English Language Learner Instruction (Fall term, 3 credits)
  • TESL 510 Second Language Acquisition: Theory, Models, and Principles (Winter term, 3 credits, online)
  • TESL 520 Literacy & Linguistically Diverse Cultures and Communities (Spring term, 3 credits)
  • TESL 530 Instructional Methods and Assessment of English Language Learners (Summer term, 4 credits)
  • TESL 540 Practicum: Teaching English Language Learners (Summer term, 3 credits)

Course Registration

Admitted & Returning Students for Credit Course
Individuals who are admitted or current students who wish to take classes from Shippensburg University for credit, register for classes at: https://ssb.ship.edu/prod/twbkwbis.P_WWWLogin.

New Students
Before registering for courses for this program, you will need to activate an official Shippensburg University email address. For assistance in setting up your email account and password, please contact the SU Helpdesk.

Non-Degree Students for Credit Course
Individuals who wish to take classes from Shippensburg University, but are not seeking a degree should consult the information athttp://www.ship.edu/pcde/nondegree

Non-Credit Students
Individuals who wish to take classes from Shippensburg University, but are not seeking credit(s) should register at:http://register.ship.edu/wconnect/ace/showgroups.awp


How to Apply

To be eligible for admission to the certificate program, applicants must follow these 3 steps:

  • Complete the certificate application.
  • Once you complete the application, click 'Submit" to proceed to pay application fee. If you don't pay fee, we will not be able to process your application.
  • Submit official undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) transcripts documenting the earned degree to 1871 Old Main Drive, Horton Hall 110 Shippensburg PA 17257

Please note the following after your application has been submitted:  

  • Allow two business days for review and processing of application. 
  • After successful completion of application, you will receive follow-up directions for enrolling in your course in an email to the email address you provided on your application.


Tuition & Fees

  • Information about tuition, fees, paying your bill, and the refund and withdraw policies are posted at:/student_accounts/

Financial Aid

Cancellation Policy 

Shippensburg University reserve the right to cancel courses due to low enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances.


Program Faculty & Support

Course content, academic advising, and workplace applicability

General admissions, registration, and course information

  • Contact: Office of Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education (PCDE), (717) 477-1502, pcde@ship.edu