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ESL Specialist Certificate Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there any requirements to apply to ESL specialist certificate program?

Teachers need to have an Instructional I PA certification, which can be in any content area including PK-4, Middle Level, or Secondary Education. Students may take ESL courses in congruence with courses for the Instructional I certification, but must first receive their Instructional I certification before they can request the ESL Specialist certification from the state.

2. Is there a need for ESL teachers in Pennsylvania?

There are approximately 47,700 students in Pennsylvania who are classified as English language learners (ELLs), speaking 175 different languages. The number of ELLs in Pennsylvania went up 110% in the last decade, which is almost twice as much as the national average (60%). There is a steadily increasing demand for ESL education in the state, but there is a shortage of well-prepared, certified teachers for PA K-12 public schools.

3. How many credits is the ESL specialist certificate?

The ESL specialist certificate is a total of 16 credit-hours consisting of 5, 3-credit courses and a 1-credit practicum.

4. How much will tuition cost throughout the program?

Tuition is posted on the Admissions and Aid page. Many full-time students (enrolled in at least 2 classes a semester) receive a 25% discount on tuition which makes our program cost-competitive with similar university ESL Specialist Certificate programs.

5. How do I apply for the program?
To apply for the program:

a. Complete the online application for the ESL M.S. Ed.
b. Submit official transcripts from undergraduate and/or graduate course work (minimum of 3.0 GPA required)
c. Submit a statement of purpose - 1,000 words describing your academic and professional goals
d. No GRE is required for this program

6. Do I apply for the M.S. Ed. and ESL Specialist Certificate separately?

No, the application is the same for both programs. After completing the course work for the ESL Specialist Certificate, you continue your course work at Duquesne University to earn an M.S. Ed. in ESL.

7. Do you offer evening or online courses?

We offer all of our program classes in the evenings, but we do not currently have program classes online.

8. What are the average class sizes for this program?

Average class size for this program is around 15 students, which enables all students to receive individual attention in every course.

9. Does the ESL Specialist Certificate transfer to other states or internationally?

The PA ESL Specialist Certificate will transfer to many states that require ESL credentials for teachers who work with ESL students in K-12 public schools.

10. Are students required to enroll full time?

No, students may enroll under full time or part time status.

a. Part time = 1 course, 3 credits
b. Full time = 2 or more courses, 6+ credits

11. Is there a teacher certification exam for ESL in Pennsylvania?