Earn Your TESOL Certificate Online

ESL students and their teacher who is taking USD's TESOL Certificate courses working together at a computer labSharpen Your Skills in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

In our increasingly diverse and interconnected world, the ability to teach English to speakers of foreign language is a vitally important, in-demand skill.

Offered online through the University of San Diego’s (USD) Division of Professional and Continuing Education, our Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate Program gives participants the specialized skills and training needed for a successful career teaching or preparing to teach English as a second language to non-native speakers.

The University of San Diego faculty provides a theoretical foundation for second or foreign language teaching, as well as innovative insights, activities and techniques for use in the classroom.


TESOL Certificate Program – Who Should Attend

This program is ideal for all types of educators who are interested in teaching English to international students in the United States or abroad. Our students typically range from recent graduates to career changers and include current and aspiring educators across the spectrum who wish to develop their competencies in the fields of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and TESOL. Some international students use the program to advance their ability to teach English in their home countries.

A primary motivation for all of those enrolling in the TESOL certificate program is a desire to:

  • Update their English-teaching methods and strategies
  • Review the latest methods of effective language instruction
  • Learn new and practical classroom skills from language-teaching specialists


TESOL Certificate Program – Details

USD’s five-course TESOL Certificate Program offers:

  • Graduate level extension credit (10 units) and a certificate from USD
  • Highly qualified professional faculty with advanced degrees and years of teaching experience
  • Scheduling flexibility through a robust online learning format that is ideal for working professionals
  • Multiple sessions offered throughout the year
  • Six units of credit toward a graduate degree (M.Ed. in TESOL, Literacy and Culture) from USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, pending admission
  • An affordable cost (see details under Course Schedule & Fees below)

To complete the program and earn your TESOL certificate, you will need to complete the five core courses (10 units, 125 hours) with a grade of a “C” or better and an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher. If your goal is to transfer some of your TESOL courses into USD’s Master of Education program in TESOL, Literacy and Culture (see details below) you will need a grade average of a “B” or better and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The University of San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). For more general information about USD’s certificate programs, read our “What is a Certificate?” page.


TESOL Certificate Program – Career Benefits

For language teachers interested in professional development, the reasons for taking courses or earning the TESOL certificate are many and varied. They include:

  • Learning new skills and techniques that will help you in the classroom or an online educational environment
  • The opportunity to engage in valuable professional development training through a highly regarded academic institution
  • A chance to interact and learn from fellow language teachers from far and wide
  • Instruction from faculty experts with deep experience in the field
  • Earning credits that in some cases can be used to meet district requirements for salary advancement
  • The opportunity to explore new areas of language instruction (example: longtime K-12 teachers who may be seeking a new challenge)
  • Positioning yourself to advance your career in a field that you love


TESOL Certificate Program – The Curriculum

The program provides comprehensive instruction on the structure of the English language, the process of language learning and acquisition, and methods for teaching English as second, foreign and international language to children and adults in academic, business and other vocational settings. Specifically, you’ll learn about:

  • Historical and current methodologies in TESOL
  • The structure and nature of language and the process of linguistic analysis, considering both English and other world languages
  • The diverse cultural and linguistic concepts affecting teaching methods and language learning in the areas of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics
  • How age factors, psychological factors, sociocultural factors and linguistic factors play a role in second language acquisition
  • The social, economic, cultural and institutional contexts that influence English language teaching in countries where English is not spoken as a native language

In addition to courses on Second Language Acquisition Theory, English as a Second Language (ESL) Teaching Methods, Linguistics, and Teaching English as a Global Language, the program culminates in a practicum course in which students design lesson plans and demonstrate what they’ve learned, either in a real-life classroom or in a simulated environment for those who are not currently teaching.


TESOL Certificate Program - Schedule & Fees

Course # Courses (10 units) Duration SP SU FA Fee
ELTS-X701 Essentials in Second Language Acquisition Theories (2 units) 7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $449
ELTS-X702 Methods of Teaching ESL (2 units) 7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $449
ELTS-X703 Teaching English as a Global Language (2 units) 7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $449
ELTS-X704 Linguistics for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (2 units) 7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $449
ELTS-X705 Practicum: Field Experience in a Foreign/Second Language Classroom (2 units) 7 weeks OFD OFD OFD $449
  One Time Certificate Fee         $45
  Total Certificate Cost (5 courses)         $2,290
C = Classroom; OFD = Online Fixed-Date; OSP = Online Self-Paced; IS = Independent Study Self-Paced  *Schedule and fees subject to change


Earn Credit Toward Your Master of Education Degree

The TESOL Certificate Program also connects students to a pathway to earning a Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) through the University of San Diego. Those who have completed the TESOL Certificate have the opportunity to transfer six units into the university’s M.Ed. in TESOL, Literacy and Culture degree program, pending admission.

Students also have the option of beginning this process by completing USD's TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate Program. Students who complete the TEFL program are eligible to transfer four units from your TEFL studies into the TESOL program, meaning just three additional courses would be needed to earn the TESOL Certificate.

TESOL Accelerated Program

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