TESOL Certificate
12 Credits
(120 hrs)
Advanced Certificate
24 Credits
(240 hrs)
ELL Endorsement
K-12 Teachers
25 Credits
Affiliated with an accredited university (Seattle Pacific University)

Min. 120 hours of instruction



Recognized in the U.S.

Recognized internationally


Free lifetime employment resources

Online and site-based classes

Day and evening classes

Required field experience

University credit with graduate credit option

Instructors have at least an MA degree with min 5 years experience

Dedicated training center

We walk the talk

As you can see, we at S-TESL are very proud of our TESOL training programs. According to TESOL International Association, most independent certificates cannot be applied toward state teaching credentials or a master’s degree. But that’s where S-TESL bucks the trend. Through our affiliation with Seattle Pacific University, you CAN apply the credits earned from our TESOL Certificate toward an ELL and/or Bilingual Endorsement, or a master’s degree. When you complete our program, you gain:

  • practical classroom skills and learn “best practice” techniques
  • a solid framework for delivering English courses and lessons
  • authentic teaching experience with real language learners
  • sound knowledge of underlying theoretical principles
  • a Seattle Pacific University TESOL Certificate
  • university transcripts as proof of credits earned

Prepare to meet your goals

We are often asked: “Why should I choose your program?” It’s true that there are many training programs around the world and you are wise to consider your options. Browsing the internet can be overwhelming when trying to find TESOL training options. There are no universally followed international standards and certificates vary widely. Therefore, it is important that you choose a program that will help YOU be adequately prepared and that will help YOU meet your goals.

  • Do you want to teach locally?
  • Overseas?
  • Adults? Children?
  • Public or private sector?

Expected qualifications will vary depending on your answers to these questions. In general, overseas TESOL employers require a certificate that reflects a minimum of 100 hours of instruction. The S-TESL certificate exceeds that amount AND earns university credit.

Our practical, academic program provides a strong foundation for a career as an ESOL teacher. We also have options for future growth with our Advanced Certificate and/or MA options at Seattle Pacific University should you choose to continue your education. Some of the reasons our program is unique and why students are so satisfied with their education at S-TESL can be found below.

Key features of our program

Our relationship with Seattle Pacific University assures the high quality of our classes and instruction. It means you leave with university credits and transcripts – a real advantage in your professional future – as well as a solid education. Seattle Pacific University is accredited by the Northwest Association for Colleges and Universities. The College of Education is additionally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

We are committed to the best principles of adult education, and believe you can learn happily and successfully from yourself, your past experiences, and your colleagues if we provide a workable format for that to happen.

Our well-established program reflects a strong and cohesive educational framework that gives you the grounding you need to approach any teaching situation. The sound principles you learn and apply in our classes will serve you well whether you are teaching business professionals, K-12 students, immigrants, or any other student population. You will be prepared for teaching situations abroad and in the U.S.

We walk the talk. We want you to have fun, interactive language classes based on student-centered learning and authentic materials and content. We want you to have language classrooms filled with respect for the learners. So we have those kinds of teacher-training classes as well. Our experienced and well-trained instructors are excellent models of what great teaching should be.

Our graduates’ success proves we have excellent employment information and counseling as well as sound preparation to teach. S-TESL has had students working in over 50 countries and we have learned a great deal over the past twenty years from their experiences. We are always pleased by the many “small world” stories we hear about S-TESL students – locally and around the world – who have found other graduates.

We have an on-site community ESOL class that keeps us clear-headed and respectful of the language learning process. Participation in this class is a requirement in some of our classes. Students are also required to complete a minimum six hours’ field experience component.

We offer several study options of day intensive, evening, and online study options.

Our various certificate, graduate, and endorsement options provide opportunities for further professional growth.

General Questions

Can I transfer credits from another program into this program?

Credits cannot be transferred into the 12 credit certificate program. At the Director’s discretion, up to six credits may be transferred into the 24 credit Advanced Certificate.

Can earned credits be transferred to graduate programs other than SPU’s?

It is always up to the receiving institution to accept transfer credits. Elevating credits to graduate status at Seattle Pacific University may be beneficial in petitioning to have credits transferred into another program.

What is your typical class size?

On-ground classes range from a minimum of 3 students to a maximum of 16. Online courses can have any number of students but are usually capped around 6-8.

Is this TESOL certificate recognized everywhere?

No matter what you read elsewhere, there is no “standard” TESOL certificate. Requirements vary around the world and our graduates successfully find work all over the world. Because of the lack of uniform standard, many international employers require applicants to have a certificate that reflects at least 100 hours of instruction.  The Seattle Pacific University TESOL Certificate reflects 120 hours of instruction. The School of Teaching ESL has the credibility of being affiliated with and monitored by an accredited university. People have praised the education they received at S-TESL both during their courses and years later from the field (see Alumni Feedback).

Will I get to work with ESL students?

Yes, but this will vary depending on the study format you choose. 4-Week Intensive students have access to our community ESL class for refugees, immigrants, and short-term visitors to Seattle. The class is taught by a professional ESL teacher who is trained in S-TESL’s pedagogy. Participation is required for 4-Week Intensive students, who will lead various portions of the class and facilitate in others. 4-Week Intensive students are required to spend a minimum of six hours in the class and sometimes more.

Evening program students sometimes work together with the ESL class. The evening course ELT 5535 Pronunciation in ELT is designed to work with our ESL class. Evening students are required to complete a Field Experience component as part of their certificate requirements.

Online students are required to have 1-2 hrs/week of concurrent contact time with ESL students for each three-credit course, so online students actually have more time in an ESL classroom.

These opportunities for interaction with ESL students is quite often mentioned as the highlight of study at S-TESL. In addition, off-site observations of area ESL classes are often a requirement in classes. Employers routinely comment that our students are well-prepared and ready to take on classroom responsibilities.

I’m nervous about teaching ESL students? What else can I do to prepare?

Most students feel ready for this next step after completing our program. Some find that volunteering with a professional teacher is a great way to make the transition from TESOL student to ESL teacher. Contacts made during your TESOL training are also a valuable resource for networking to find these opportunities.

How much teaching practice will I get?

This depends on which format you choose. In our 4-Week Intensive class, you will be required to lead activities and participate in our adult multi-level ESL class (6-9 hours). In our evening classes, you will have the option to complete a ten hour field experience in a volunteer setting in the community. S-TESL shares volunteer opportunities with current students and encourages students to get hands-on experience during their TESOL training. Online students actually have the most contact with ESOL students – up to 120 hours by the end of the program. In addition to direct contact time as a teacher or teacher’s assistant, you may be required to do additional observations in the community.

Does S-TESL provide student housing?

S-TESL does not provide student housing, however, as a convenience to students who are in need of short-term housing during an Intensive 4-week session, we have compiled a list of housing providers located near the school. Email steslinfo@spu.edu to request a housing providers list. You can also search for available housing, including roomshares, using Craigslist.com and Airbnb.com

Employment Questions

What about job opportunities?

Overseas opportunities remain very strong. About 50% of our graduates go overseas within 3-6 months of completion of the program. Others work locally in adult or K-12 education. The Puget Sound area is a highly competitive job market. Qualifications vary depending on the institutional setting and may require a Master’s degree. If you wish to work locally, it is important to have realistic expectations for income. Jobs are often the result of having started as a volunteer, so we strongly encourage students to get classroom experience in conjunction with their studies.

What kind of jobs will this TESOL certificate qualify me for?

Completion of a BA + TESOL certificate is a typical requirement for entry-level positions internationally. Other factors, such as additional education and experience, will determine your ability to compete for better positions. We suggest searching online to familiarize yourself with the ELT job market within the area you wish to teach.

In the U.S., a BA + TESOL certificate can qualify you to teach in adult education in private language schools or community ESL classes. In the U.S., a master’s degree is expected for adult education in more competitive areas, such as within programs offered by colleges and universities in the Puget Sound region. People with a Master’s degree in another field often find that the addition of the TESOL Certificate qualifies them to teach in a community college.

How does S-TESL help with job placement?

First, we prepare you well for the real world in your coursework. Our project-based program gives you lots of practice designing solid plans and materials for real situations. Employers know our graduates can apply what they have learned to the classroom. Second, we offer a monthly job seminar to help you prepare for a job search in teaching. Finally, we share job information via our email discussion list for graduates. Please see our Alumni Page for details on employment resources for our graduates.

How successful are S-TESL graduates in finding work?

Very successful. Most students who complete our program and are ready to teach, find appropriate settings to meet their goals. We have tracked our graduates to over 50 countries in the world, but many S-TESLers work right here in Washington State as classroom teachers or administrators in public schools, community based organizations, private language schools, and community colleges.

Will the TESOL Certificate qualify me to teach in public school?

No. A public school teacher must be state certified. However, we do have an ELL Endorsement program for teachers wishing to add an ELL Endorsement onto their public school certificate.