Certificates & Certifications

English as a Second Language Program Specialist (PDE, K-12)

This option is for students who hold any current Pennsylvania teaching certificate in any content area, who are interested in coursework that provides instruction in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) and leads to Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist Certification.

Any student with a current Pennsylvania teaching certification in any content area will receive, upon completion of the required coursework, a Pennsylvania Department of Education Program Specialist Certification for grades kindergarten through 12.


The need for certified teachers prepared to teach English as a second language in public and private schools continues to grow with each passing year, and with immigration to the United States on the rise, that demand will increase proportionately.

Coursework for this track includes study in the fascinating work of teaching culturally and linguistically diverse learners within English-language school systems. Students will learn about the English language, including its sound system and structure, from the perspective of language acquisition. Graduates will be well prepared to not only meet the needs of English-language learners in P-12 education, but to also advocate for these learners within school systems, and to train and equip others who work with English-language learners.

Within this track students will take core courses that emphasize the unique nature of each English learning context, and the importance of fostering relationships within neighborhoods and families in order to build collaboration and partnership. Through field experience and internships, students hone practical and relational skills. Graduates from the program will be prepared to work for effective change to benefit the communities in which they live and work, and to act as educational leaders within their schools and in TESOL.