ESL Teacher Certification

The ESL Teacher Certification Program is a competency-based program through which educators engage in practical, job-embedded learning experiences over the course of 12 months.


The program engages teachers over 12 months, from July to June.

Teachers engage in readings, lectures, learning activities, workshops, analyses of videos of their own teaching practice, and a range of meetings.


Tuition, inclusive of all costs except books: $4,500 for 2021-22.

Ways to Save

Do you live in Central Falls, Cranston, Foster, Glocester or Pawtucket? Do you work in municipal or state government? Are you in the military? Ask your Admission Counselor about Ways to Save.

Apply By

Applications will be available January 2022.

image of two UC students in class

Application Instructions

Program Eligibility Requirements - To apply, candidates must:

  • Be employed by a partnering school district
  • Have access to working with MLLs during the 2021-2022 school year
  • Have a valid R.I. Teaching Certificate
  • Have attained an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher from an undergraduate or graduate degree

Required Application Documents

  • Submit the online application
  • Copy of a valid RI teaching certificate
  • Copy of Transcript from an Undergraduate or Graduate institution, demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to your commitment to the profession, your professionalism, and your anticipated success in a self-paced program. Letters used previously for employment purposes will not be accepted.
  • An application essay: 200-300 words, 12pt font, double-spaced indicating why you would like to become certified in ESL and acknowledge the initiative required for participating in a competency-based, self-paced program.

To review the full listing of application instructions, click here.


Tuition, inclusive of all costs except books: $4,500 for 2021-2022.

Program Description

The program engages teachers over twelve months from July to June.

Two teachers talk about their teaching strategies.Teachers engage in readings, lectures, learning activities, workshops, analyses of videos of their own teaching practice, and a range of meetings.  All content in the program is aligned with the National Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) standards and assignments are designed to be practical, job-embedded, and highly associated with classroom learning. 

Each teacher is paired with an instructional coach called a “Learning Guide” (LG).  LGs provide feedback and support to tailor the learner experiences to meet the needs of their individual ESL teacher candidates.

Upon demonstrating evidence of meeting the TESOL competencies and completing all program requirements, teachers are eligible to apply for ESL Teacher Certification through the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Virtual Information Sessions

If you have questions about the ESL Teacher Certification program, join us for a virtual information session.

Program Objectives

Are you ready to become the best teacher you can be for your English language learners (ELLs)?

Two teachers talk about their teaching strategy.Our program provides teachers with a range of online and face-to-face experiences that include, but are not limited to: readings, lectures, learning activities, workshops, practicum experiences, analyses of videos of your own teaching practice, and a range of meetings.  These experiences are aligned to the TESOL standards and allow you to develop and demonstrate competencies necessary to earn the ESL Teacher Certification.

You’ll discover ways to integrate theory into practice from the start.  Anchored in the TESOL standards, you will engage in learning experiences related to:

  • Language Acquisition and Development
  • Language as a System and Linguistics
  • Cultural as it Affects Student Learning,
  • ESL Research and History
  • Professionalism, Partnerships, and Advocacy.
  • Planning, Implementing and Managing Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction 
  • Using Resources and Technology Effectively in ESL and Content Instruction
  • Issues of Assessment for ELLs
  • Language Proficiency Assessment
  • Classroom-Based Assessment for ELLs

You will be assigned your own “Learning Guide” (instructional coach) who will guide you in developing your own professional learning plan. Your Learning Guide will support you by facilitating regular Community of Reflective Practice (CORP) meetings where you will learn and collaborate with other program candidates.

Supporting Educators on the path to ESL Teacher Certification

There’s no waiting period, teachers begin to acquire theoretical knowledge and become versed in the laws, regulations, theories of language acquisition and linguistics, and ESL teaching methodologies immediately.  

Practical job-embedded experience allows you to apply these skills as you learn them, receive frequent feedback on your instruction, and develop at a personalized pace that fits your needs and your students’ needs.


This is what our alumni have to say about the experience

"I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue ELL certification through the RWU program. It has been an amazing experience! The hands-on and practical application of learning has provided real and invaluable experience. I would highly recommend this program to anyone seeking certification." - Dianne A.

"I appreciated how succinct and flexible this program is for current teachers seeking certification. Although the course was definitely intensive and demanding, I was grateful to have the ability to do the large majority of the work during my school day through preparing and implementing ESL instructional lessons and working closely with my learning guide. Thank you RWU!" - 2019-2020 Cohort Alum

"I would definitely recommend the RWU ESL certification program to any teacher. The hands on experiences paired with the readings and the relationships that are built among cohort members is what separates this program from others." - 2019-2020 Cohort Alum

“The RWU ESL Teacher Certification Program has allowed me to grow in my teaching practice through a continuous cycle of learning, collaborating, applying strategies and reflecting on my practice.  All activities are rigorous but meaningful and applicable to my practice as an ESL teacher.” - Caroline A.

“It is so refreshing to be a part of a program that genuinely connects theory to practice... I have never once felt like I am stuck in a stuffy classroom discussing disconnected topics.  By learning, discussing, implementing, and reflecting constantly, I can feel my practice truly grow.  My notebook is not filled with mindless doodles, but rather fresh new ideas to bring into my classroom.” - Gwendolyn R. 

“The RWU Cohort has provided an exceptional opportunity to combine learning with practice.  The ability to collaborate and learn from each other in a positive, professional, and challenging environment has been invaluable.  The knowledge, resources, and practice we acquired are tools we can use in our classrooms immediately.” - Kerilynn V. 

For more information, check out our program documents below:

District Administrators and School Leaders: Interested in Partnering with the RWU ESL Teacher Certification Program - please reach out to Kristina Soprano at to learn more!