Certificate in TESOL

Program at a Glance

  • Program Credits:

    21 semester credits

  • Class Formats:

    • Traditional (On Campus)
    • Online
  • Standard Completion Time:

    Full Time:   2 to 3 semesters

  • Institutional Accreditation:



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. In addition, Biola’s Certificate in TESOL program is available fully online, giving you the flexibility to receive biblically centered training in TESOL from nearly anywhere in the world.

What does a certificate in TESOL qualify me to do?

Depending on your employer’s requirements, a certificate in TESOL can qualify you to work as an English language teacher in a part-time or entry-level position. As you consider pursuing a certificate in TESOL, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will I need a certificate for a job or visa I’m applying for? If so, what kind of certificate do I need to show to my potential employer?  
  • Am I looking for more training to be more confident and qualified in my teaching?

The job you’re looking at will determine whether the certificate you have is sufficient. You will likely need a certificate if you’re seeking to work in an entry-level or part-time position at a language institute in the United States or other institutions worldwide. If you’re seeking a higher-level position or an ESL position at a university, it may require a master’s degree. The level of certification you need depends on the job you’re applying for.

Biola offers three kinds of certificates in TESOL:

  • Graduate Certificate in TESOL (21 credits): You can acquire this certificate after completing the first year of the M.A. in TESOL, in conjunction with another master’s program, or on its own as a stand-alone program.
  • Undergraduate Certificate in TESOL (18 credits): You can acquire this certificate as part of your undergraduate degree at Biola.
  • Departmental Entry-Level Certificates: Students who complete one or more classes but do not fulfill the credits required for the above certificates can receive a certificate that specifies the number of contact hours. One 3-credit class is 45 contact hours, or results in 180 hours total (assuming three hours of homework per in-class contact hour).

The focus of the TESOL programs is primarily post secondary and adult education. Those interested in K–12 ESL should ask a TESOL faculty member for advice. In the United States, K–12 teaching jobs require a credential, not a certificate. In other parts of the world, the job requirement may be different.

Take a "Test Drive" TESOL Class!

Interested in TESOL but not yet ready to commit to the whole MA TESOL? You can "test drive" the program and take the Introduction to TESOL class when you register as a special student! Contact Graduate Admissions for details.

Essentials of TESOL (Noncredit)

Biola also offers a noncredit Essentials of TESOL class through Biola LEARN. Self-paced, fully online and low-cost, this course will prepare you to teach English in informal settings while giving you a taste of what you will learn in the Certificate in TESOL program.

Learn More

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