"I feel competent and educated in the field and have a lot to offer people."

Nora Mitchell

Certificate Program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

The increasing use of English throughout the world means career opportunities for teachers of English as a second language (ESL). But teaching ESL well requires more than fluency in English and a lesson plan. UC Berkeley Extension's Certificate Program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provides a foundation in linguistics and second-language acquisitionalong with classroom methodologies and curriculum-design skillsso that you can be an effective teacher in a variety of environments.


Enrollment in individual courses is open to anyone who meets the stated prerequisites. To participate in the certificate, you must hold at least a baccalaureate degree (B.A.) or the equivalent from an accredited institution. If you completed your undergraduate studies outside of the United States, you must have your transcripts evaluated by an accredited evaluation organization. The most basic evaluation is acceptable; you do not need a class-by-class report. Fluency in a second language is not required to enter the field of TESL, but it is beneficial, in general, to have experience in learning another language and to have knowledge of another culture.

Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum comprises 7 required courses for a total of 17 semester units (255 hours of instruction). All courses emphasize practical applications of theoretical material for classroom use. Candidates must pay a nonrefundable certificate registration fee.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade. To receive the certificate, you must maintain an overall minimum 3.0 grade point average, with a grade of C or better in each course. All coursework must be completed within five years.

How to Register

By registering, you declare your intention to complete the curriculum. To register online for the Certificate Program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, complete these three steps:


  1. Submit the online registration, and complete your student account profile if you are a new student. Please allow 3–5 business days for the registration to appear in your student account.
  2. Pay the nonrefundable registration fee through your shopping cart.
  3. Evidence of a bachelor's degree is required of all new applicants. (All non-U.S. transcripts must be accompanied by a foreign transcript evaluation.) Once you register for the certificate, send official transcripts to:

    UC Berkeley Extension

    Department of Education

    Teaching English as a Second Language

    1995 University Ave., Suite 110

    Berkeley, CA 94704-7000

    All non-U.S. transcripts must be accompanied by a foreign transcript evaluation. The most basic evaluation is sufficient; there is no need for the class-by-class report.

You should register for the certificate before you begin your third course in the curriculum. It is not necessary to send your transcript, application and fee if you are enrolling in an individual TESL course.

Estimated Cost

Each course is priced individually, and you pay the course fee at the time of enrollment. The certificate has an estimated cost of $4,000 (not including course materials or one-time certificate registration fee). Course fees are subject to change.

Certificate and Award Request

Once you have completed the certificate coursework, notify UC Berkeley Extension that you have completed the curriculum and request your certificate. Send an email to extension-education@berkeley.edu or call (510) 642-1172. After your records have been reviewed, verified, and approved, your certificate will be sent to you in the mail. The review of your records is usually completed within six to eight weeks after you request the certificate.


Additional Information

Professional Organizations

What Are Your Teaching Goals?

Teaching at a public adult school requires an adult education teaching credential. Teaching at the community college level requires either an M.A. in TESL or an M.A. in a related field and the TESL certificate. All courses in the Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Second Language can be applied toward the M.A. in TESL at the University of San Francisco.

Continue Your Studies With a Master's Degree

You may apply 17 semester units earned from this certificate toward the University of San Francisco's (USF) Master's in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. If admitted, you will need to complete an additional 15 units (or 5 courses) to earn the USF degree.

Getting a Teaching Credential

The TESL certificate is not a teaching credential, nor does it authorize teaching in public schools in the way a credential does. However, you can complete both the Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Second Language and the Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential in preparation for teaching in public adult schools. Students in the Certificate Program in Teaching English as a Second Language who are interested in applying for a preliminary credential to teach in adult education programs should contact the Education department for more information.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

When an application is made for certificate candidacy, nonnative speakers of English will be required to submit an official international or UC Institutional TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) report. Applicants must receive a minimum score of 250 for the computer-based exam (600 for paper) or a minimum total score of 100 for the iBT TOEFT exam. In addition, a minimum score of 25 is required on each of the four sections of the iBT (reading, listening, writing and speaking). The TOEFL must be taken within two years of application to this program. Registration forms for the TOEFL may be obtained by contacting:

Test of English as a Foreign Language
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151

For more information about the TOEFL, visit ETS.

Advisory Board

Gail Kirby, M.A. in TESOL, Ph.D. in Learning and Instruction
Director, M.A. in TESOL Program
St. Mary's College

Margaret Kirkpatrick, M.A. in Education
Education Consultant and Previous Director
Berkeley Adult School

Louise Malandra, Ph.D. in Education Administration
Education Consultant
U.S. Department of Education

Margaret Pillsbury
ESL Instructor and TESL Program Mentor
Piedmont Adult School

Sedique Popal, Ph.D. in Education
Department Chair of ESL Programs
College of Alameda

Andrea Safir
ESL Instructor and TESL Program Mentor
College of Alameda

Alexsis Scott
CPLC Education

Daria Suk, Ph.D. in TESOL
Visiting Scholar
Stanford University