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Graduate Certificates in English to Speakers of Other Languages

Before you decide to earn an ESOL Certificate, you should ask yourself a few questions.

Do I want to teach

  • in a U.S. public school?
  • in a U.S.  private school?
  • abroad?
  • adults?

U.S. K-12 Public Schools: If you want to teach ESOL in a K-12 public school in the U.S., you must already have initial certification. This means you must already be certified to teach in another area: Early Childhood, Elementary, Special Education, or a content area such as math, English, social studies, art, music, etc. ESOL is an add-on endorsement; you add it to the initial licensure. For more information regarding add-on endorsement, go to the SC Department of Education website at

U.S. Private Schools: Private schools in the U.S. do not require state certification, so you do not need initial certification. An ESOL Certificate can open doors for you within private schools because some non-native English speakers attend private schools and you would be viewed as a resource, someone who has knowledge of language acquisition.

Teaching Abroad: If you want to teach abroad, do some research and find out what your destination country requires. Some countries require only that you be a native speaker of English. Other countries require that you be a native speaker of English and that you have a college degree. Still other countries want you to have some formalized ESOL education (with or without a college degree), such as a Certificate.

The College of Charleston’s Certificates offers you an opportunity to learn about language acquisition, culture, principles and strategies, assessment, etc. This kind of knowledge will give you an edge over individuals who are native speakers only. In addition, some countries require you to have a formalized ESOL body of knowledge if you are interested in administrative work within the ESOL field.

Teaching Adults in the U.S. Currently, South Carolina does not have an adult ESOL Certificate. The CofC Certificate, though, can give you the groundwork you will need to teach ESOL right from the start.

**All ESOL courses are online, with two possible class meetings.  Please contact the instructor for additional information.

Emily Beck
Interim Program Director
Phone: 843.953.5412

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