ESL Program Specialist Add-on Certification

  • Language is important. It's one of the foundational elements of a culture. Without language, it can be tough to communicate. And it's something many of us can take for granted as we engage in everyday conversation. 

    Educators have an important responsibility in empowering their students to thrive in the classroom and beyond. With an ESL Program Specialist Add-on Certification, you can take your teaching experience one step further in being equipped to meet varying language needs of students in your K-12 community. This program invites you into an intentional learning community that equips you with the practical knowledge and experience to make a difference for your students. 

    If you're wondering if an ESL Program Specialist Add-on Certification is the right program for you, here are five reasons it could be your next step as an educator.

    Apply      Program Info      Cost & Credit


    Apply Now

    To apply, please fill out the application form

    Applications are reviewed as they are received. New cohorts start in August and January. 

    Admission requirements:

    • Please upload all application materials with the application form
    • Official sealed transcript of undergraduate and graduate coursework sent to DCIU via email ( or via mail to 200 Yale Ave., Morton, PA 19070, attention Paula Coons, Registrar
      • 3.0 GPA in undergraduate work is required for program entry
    • Current résumé
    • Personal statement - a letter of intention outlining the candidate's professional and educational goals
    • Two current letters of recommendation
    • A copy of Instructional Teacher Certificate I or II

    Program Info

    The goal of this post-baccalaureate certificate program is to develop educators that can successfully demonstrate the candidate competencies outlined in the PA Department of Education's five key domains (Language, Culture, Observing, Planning, Implementing and Managing Instruction, and Assessment and Professionalism). 

    This certification program consists of five online courses (13 credits) and a final fieldwork experience (90 Act 48 hours). Coursework is primarily online, with two in-person or video conferences meetings with instructors.

    Program Highlights:

    • New cohorts start in August and January
    • Summer field work option coordinated by DCIU
    • Instructors bring expertise in state and local perspectives; classroom, school, and district-level expertise; urban and suburban teaching backgrounds; proximity to state initiatives and national trends
    • Graduate credit available through Immaculata University


    • ESL 1: Language Application
    • ESL 2: Assessment
    • ESL 3: Observing, Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction
    • ESL 4: Developing Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
    • ESL 5: Professionalism
    • ESL Fieldwork Experience


    Cost and Credit

    For each of the courses ESL 1 - ESL 4:

    • Registration Fee: $675 if registered prior to 1 week before the start of the course; $700 if registering between 7 days and the start of the course (fees charged at registration)
    • Credits: Three (3) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) graduate credits, 90 Act 48 Hours. The courses for this certificate count towards Level II Certification and Master's Equivalency.

    For ESL 5:

    • Registration fee: $225; $250 if registering between 7 days and the start of the course.
    • Credit: One (1) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) graduate credit, 30 Act 48 hours. This course counts toward Level II Certification and Master's Equivalency. Graduate credit is available through Immaculata University.

    ESL Fieldwork Experience

    • Registration fee: $450; $475 if registering between 7 days and the start of the course.
    • Credit: 90 Act 48 hours. This course is not eligible for CPE credit hours or graduate credit through Immaculata University.

    Note: Graduate credit is available for courses ESL 1 - ESL 5 through Immaculata University for an additional fee of $200.00 per credit. The form will be emailed to you if you select this option at registration. Act 48 is offered through Immaculata University with this option. Immaculata fee rates are set by the University and may be subject to change. (Non-refundable - required form due back 5 days prior to course start.


    Five Reasons to Consider an ESL Certification

    1. Take your classroom to the next level.

    As an educator, you know the power of your influence. The way you interact with students in your K-12 classroom can make a difference in their lives.

    Through courses such as ESL 4: Developing Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity, you'll continue to enhance your understanding of your students' social and cultural contexts that heavily influence how your students learn. Meet each and every student right where they're at by understanding the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of a multicultural approach to learning. Through courses focused on language application, assessment, and instruction, you'll gain insight into best practices for instructional methods that empower your students to be successful while also learning the English language.

    Your work makes a difference. Be equipped as you empower others by growing in your expertise and teaching tools with an add-on certification. 

    Is it for you? Ask yourself:

    • Do I have a passion for empowering others with the English language?
    • Do I seek to meet my students where they're at in meeting their language needs?
    • Am I interested in learning more about the social and cultural factors that influence the language learning process? 


    2. Be equipped for a changing classroom.

    Teaching and learning styles have become much more personalized with the abundant presence of technology and an increasingly diverse student body. This means educators must be equipped in meeting their students where they're at. Students each face their own challenges and backgrounds when they enter the classroom, and educators may heighten their effectiveness if they are aware of some of these challenges. 

    For many students, language can be a major barrier in achieving success in and outside the classroom. As a teacher, you can step in and be an active participant in changing this.

    Is it for you? Ask yourself:

    • Am I inspired to truly engage with an increasingly diverse classroom setting?
    • As an educator, do I seek to fulfill my role in setting students up for success? 
    • Do I hope to be an active participant in creating dynamic and personalized educational experiences? 


    3. Become an ESL teacher.

    With growing diversity in many school settings, there's a demand for teachers equipped with training and experience in teaching English as a second language. With an add-on certification, you'll be able to grow your marketability to pursue your goals in serving your school community. 

    The job market for ESL teachers is growing at rates higher than the average job field. Projected through 2030, jobs in the TESOL/ESL fields are expected to be at an 11-14% increase in open positions. 

    Is it for you? Ask yourself:

    • Am I interested in earning my credentials as an ESL educator? 
    • Do I aspire to take my teaching experience to the next level by meeting a need in language learning? 
    • Am I inspired by a career field with positive job growth projections? 


    4. Expand your network of teachers.

    As a teacher, you've probably experienced the camaraderie celebrated between teachers. You discuss with others about classroom problems, seeking advice on how to effectively handle a tough situation. Teamwork and community are essential. 

    Through our cohort model, you can learn alongside fellow certified teachers with a range of experiences and school environments. Engage in thought-provoking discussions about real issues you and your classmates witness every day in the K-12 classroom. Gaining insight from others can help open your mind to fresh perspectives you may not have considered before.

    Is it for you? Ask yourself:

    • Am I interested in growing my network of fellow K-12 teachers? 
    • Do I see the value in learning from others' experiences that can enhance my view of the world and my approach to the classroom?


    5. Set an example of lifelong learning.

    As an educator in Pennsylvania, this program will help you to meet continuing education requirements. These requirements are designed to encourage teachers to continue as lifelong learners in gaining additional knowledge, skills, and experiences they can use in their classrooms.

    In addition to meeting Pennsylvania requirements, pursuing your own education and professional development also emphasizes your dedication to being equipped to serve your students well. Your dedication to your own growth can be a powerful encouragement to your students and your fellow teachers in the value of education. 

    Is it for you? Ask yourself:

    • Do I value engaging in lifelong learning? 
    • Do I see the importance of growing my own professional development?
    • Am I convinced my school environment will benefit from my steps toward continuing my professional development?