Certificate in TESOL


English has become the most widely used language in the world today, particularly in the areas of science, commerce and education. Tens of thousands of students in developing countries are required to learn English in school. Thousands more study English in order to pursue careers or educational programs demanding English language skills. Refugees and immigrants to the United States desire English to survive and to establish themselves in their new homeland. There is thus a considerable demand for qualified teachers of English both here and abroad.

Why TESOL at Biola?

The Graduate Certificate in TESOL program enables a Christian student with a bachelor's degree to develop both a solid academic foundation in second language pedagogy and practical skills in teaching English in cross-cultural situations.

What is a certificate in TESOL and what does it qualify me to do?

There is no governing body regulating “certificates” in TEFL, TESL, TESOL, or ELT. Thus, you may find online businesses, schools, or universities offering certificates that range from 60 “hours” of work to a full year of graduate study. In choosing a certificate, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I getting this certificate in order to have piece of paper that is necessary for a job or visa? Am I getting this in order to be confident and qualified in my teaching?
  • What kind of certificate does my potential employer require?

One of the original entry-level certificates is a CELTA. It requires 120 hours including six hours of supervised practice teaching. This can be considered a good standard against which to measure other certificates.

The kind of jobs that require a certificate are usually language institutes in the U.S. (such as Kaplan, EF, ELS, etc) which have entry-level jobs (that is, they don’t require an M.A. and they have more part-time than full-time openings) as well as a variety of institutions around the world. In the U.S. a K-12 job will probably require a credential issued by the state (not a certificate); a university ESL position is likely to require an M.A.; qualifications for jobs teaching immigrant or refugee adults vary depending on the state. Internationally, the more developed a nation’s educational system is, the more likely they are to have more stringent requirements for teachers. To sum up, you must first look at the job in order to know whether a given certificate will suffice.

Biola offers three kinds of certificates:

  • Graduate Certificate in TESOL – 25 credits for someone with a bachelor’s degree. This is the first year of the M.A. TESOL and can be done on its own or in conjunction with another M.A., such as M.A. ICS or M.A. Applied Linguistics.
  • Undergraduate Certificate in TESOL – 19 credits as part of an undergraduate degree.
  • Departmental Entry-Level Certificates – Students who have done one or more classes, but not enough for the above listed certificates, can be given a certificate that specifies the number of contact hours. One three-unit class is 45 contact hours or 180 hours total (assuming three hours of homework per in-class contact hour).

Learn More

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639