English as a Second Language & Bilingual Endorsement

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement or Bilingual Endorsement is designed specifically for teachers who desire to work effectively with culturally and linguistically diverse students.


Online Only

School of Education

13 months

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In today’s changing classroom demographic, you must be equipped with strategies to provide equal access to success for all students.

Current educational best practices —including engaged learning, learning styles, technology integration, collegial collaboration, and authentic assessment —are threaded throughout these programs. They incorporate these best practices with interdisciplinary learning. Both programs have similar coursework, but because the Bilingual Endorsement requires fluency in a language other than English, passing the Target Language Proficiency (TLP) test is also required. As a teacher with a busy life, you’ll appreciate the flexibility and convenience of this online program.

Course Overview

  • Format: Accelerated courses meet online, courses start every 8 weeks
  • Program Length: 13 months for endorsement; 23 months for optional masters degree
  • Credit Hours: 18 or 19 credit hours for endorsement; 32 or 33 credit hours for optional masters degree

ESL Cost Sheet (PDF)

Course Descriptions

Choosing Between ESL and Bilingual Programs

When it comes to obtaining additional endorsements on an educator’s teaching license which enables you to support students in multilingual settings, it is important to choose the correct program for you! In general, a bilingual endorsement program is best for a teacher who is able or wanting to teach students in another language besides English. An English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement is for a teacher who will primarily support students in English.

In order to receive either of these endorsements, you must currently have an Educator License or be working towards one in certain states. There are many similarities between courses, clinical hours with students, and the aim to help nurture and cultivate English language skills in students, but the backgrounds and experiences of the educators looking to pursue this endorsement may be different.

Bilingual Endorsements

The educator generally is fluent in 2+ languages. To demonstrate this fluency, the passing of a language proficiency test or a degree in the target language is one way to show this. For many states, there are ways to waive the proficiency test such as possessing a Seal of Biliteracy, but you would want to inquire with your state’s licensure group to help decide if you qualify for that. Many Dual Language Classrooms and Bilingual Classroom teachers have this endorsement.

ESL (EL, ESOL, ENL, ELL, etc.) Endorsements

The educator does not need to be fluent in two languages as the primary goal of the ESL teacher is to support students in acquiring the English language. These teachers focus on embedding speaking, listening, reading, and writing strategies to help support students as they progress in their language proficiency. Note that the name for ESL Endorsements seems to be a constantly moving title such as English as a Second Language (ESL), English Learners (EL), English Language Learner (ELL), English as a Native Language (ENL), etc., but the same goal of supporting students in English is achieved.

Please note that this information should serve as a guide. It is important to check with your state educator licensure departments to ensure you are pursuing the endorsement that will lead to the best certification for you.

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