ESL Program Specialist Certificate

ESL Program Specialist Certificate in the State of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist Certificate Endorsement is only available to individuals who already hold a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II certificate in any content area.

Applicants who are interested in becoming ESL teachers in Pennsylvania but do not have Commonwealth of Pennsylvania instructional certification are strongly encouraged to apply to the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program at the Graduate School of Education.

For students who already have instructional certification in elementary, middle level, or secondary education, the Master’s degree in the TESOL specialization may fulfill the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requirements for teaching ESL. To fulfill the Pennsylvania Department of Education course content requirements for the “ESL Program Specialist Certificate,” TESOL students must take “Language Diversity and Education” (EDUC 661) and “Language Assessment” (EDUC 634) as two of their electives.

To qualify for a position teaching ESL in a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania school, including the School District of Philadelphia, prospective ESL teachers must complete the following:

  1. They will obtain or already hold Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II certificate in any content area.
  2. They will have demonstrated competency through successful coursework in the following domains: language; culture; observing, planning, implementing and managing instruction; assessment; and professionalism.
  3. They will have completed at least 60 hours of ESL field experiences including one at the public school setting.
  4. They must apply to the PA State Department of Education for the “ESL Program Specialist Certificate.”

Upon completion of this process, candidates are eligible to apply for ESL teaching positions within Pennsylvania.

If you are a Pennsylvania teacher who already holds an instructional certification and would like to earn the ESL Program Specialist Certificate through continuing education courses, please contact us directly.

ESL/Bilingual Education Certification in States Other than Pennsylvania

Students interested in ESL/Bilingual Education certification in states other than Pennsylvania should consult with the appropriate state certification department to inquire whether or not their M.S. Ed. in TESOL coursework meets certification requirements in the respective state.

For more information on the Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist Certificate, please contact Katherine O'Morchoe (