At a glance


❱❱❱ 12 credits

ELT 5530 Foundations in English Language Teaching
*pre-requisite for most all other TESOL-track courses

ELT 5532 Grammar in English Language Teaching

Two electives (Evening and Online formats only)

120 hours of instruction

6+ hours of Field Experience in our ESL class

Graduate credit options at SPU

What a TESOL Certificate will do for you

  1. Learn practical techniques for managing English language classrooms and delivering engaging and effective instruction.
  2. Build foundational knowledge of the theories and approaches underlying modern English language teaching.
  3. Raise your language awareness and understanding of vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and discourse.
  4. Increase your confidence and ability in planning and execution of classroom activities, lessons, units, and courses.
  5. Develop as a professional and widen your career scope with well recognized and highly regarded credentials.


What are the requirements to enter the TESOL certificate program?

You must have a bachelor’s degree from an approved college or professional school to earn the Seattle Pacific University Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. With a BA Waiver, you can earn a stand-alone TESOL certificate from S-TESL (without transcripts from SPU). Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 to successfully complete the program. Non-native English speakers are required to demonstrate language proficiency in English to be accepted into the program.

How many courses do I need for the 12-credit TESOL certificate?

The 12-credit certificate requires ELT 5530, ELT 5532 + 2 elective classes. In the 4-Week Intensive format, the four courses are predetermined (ELT 5530, ELT 5531, ELT 5532, ELT 5533). In evening and online classes, students may select different electives to tailor their certificate to individual interests and needs. For example, classes such as Pronunciation in English Language Teaching, Young Learners and English Language Teaching, and and/or English for Specific Purposes can be useful components of your certificate. All students interested in creating a plan of study should contact the school for advising.

How long does it take to earn a 12-credit certificate?

This certificate can be earned in the 4-Week Intensive format, or in the evening, or online. In the evening and online formats, students generally complete the certificate in two to four quarters (six to twelve months).

Where can I teach with the 12-credit certificate?

Much depends on your background and other experience or training you bring to your job search. Also, employment conditions vary around the world. In general, overseas employers require a BA + a certificate that reflects at least 100 hours of instruction. Our 12-credit certificate reflects 120 hours of instruction. In the U.S., community organizations and private language schools also hire with this level of training. Community colleges and universities will generally require a master’s degree (MA-TESOL OR MA in a different field + TESOL certificate).

Is field experience with ESL students required?

Yes. A minimum of six hours is required for the 12-credit TESOL certificate. Many students complete more, depending on the class format chosen.

Is TESOL training right for me?

If you are considering teaching English as a career, it’s important to think about your past work and education experiences, your own personality, and your future goals. If you have not taught previously, what about your past indicates that it might be a good fit for your interests and strengths? What is your motivation for teaching?

Common characteristics of successful language teachers include:

  • enjoy working with people, especially people from different cultural backgrounds
  • have had experience with language learning
  • have an enthusiasm for language and helping others learn language
  • flexibility
  • comfortable with public speaking
  • good time management skills

See the S-TESL Student Code of Conduct for a description of other attributes that are pertinent to education professionals.

How can I find out more?
  • Attend one of our evening public information sessions, held throughout the year. Contact the school for specific dates.
  • Investigate international job opportunities online by visiting or or . Check community colleges or local community organizations (such as Goodwill) for teaching opportunities.
  • Visit ESOL classes in your community to help you understand if this might be a good fit for you. Most communities have classes at community colleges, libraries, community based organizations, or a public K-12 school.
  • Talk to people who work in the field.
  • Schedule an appointment with S-TESL for personal advising.