COVID-19 Updates
Updated August 13, 2020

Cambridge College will continue remote learning and teaching through Fall 2020-2021 term. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community are important to us. Please see our updates regarding COVID-19 and campus plans.

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English as a Second Language Certificate

  • Credits:
  • Degree:
    Graduate Certificate

Program Description

Learn to teach English as a second language. English learners are one of the fastest growing student populations in the country. This certificate program provides valuable information and strategies through sheltered English instruction—an approach to teaching non-native speakers that integrates language and content instruction. English as a second language (ESL) certificate courses may be included in the professional development documentation that supports a teacher's application for 5-year re-licensure.

Who Is the ESL Certificate Designed For?

The English as a Second Language certificate provides valuable training for licensed K-12 teachers that can be used toward career development and advancement. It’s also an excellent option for students who wish to travel abroad to teach English, or who simply have a passion for languages.

Cambridge College English as a Second Language Program Highlights

Teaching English as a second language is a high-demand subject area that continues to grow in schools across the United States. The ESL certificate at Cambridge College offers a flexible, affordable option to gain this specialized training.

  • Hands-on learning. As part of the ESL certificate coursework, you’ll have the opportunity to observe and interact with English language learners in field-based classroom situations.
  • Flexible class options. The English as a Second Language certificate is offered through day, evening, weekend, and online class options designed to fit your busy schedule.
  • Diverse experiences. Recently ranked as one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in America, Cambridge College offers the opportunity to work with other adult learners from all over the world.
  • Exceptional value. Cambridge College is one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the United States, giving you greater value for your education.
  • Convenient location. Cambridge College Boston is close to public transportation and offers free parking for students throughout the year.

There are about five million English language learners in the United States. That’s approximately 9 percent of all public school students. By the year 2025, it’s projected that nearly one out of every four public school students will be an English Learner.

English as a Second Language Learning Outcomes

The certificate for teaching ESL provides licensed K-12 teachers with key information, classroom practices, and strategies (including Sheltered English Instruction) that are effective in helping non-native speakers to learn English and succeed in a new culture.

Careers for English as a Second Language Teachers

ESL teachers often work in public school systems, where almost 10 percent of students are now English language learners. Other ESL teachers may be employed by private schools or as tutors for non-native speakers. Some teach private lessons out of their home or the homes of students.

ESL Teacher Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for elementary school teachers is $56,900, while high school teachers take home an average of $59,170.

Adult literacy teachers (a category that includes adult ESL teachers) make an average of $52,100.

Salaries for teaching English as a second language will vary based on location, training, and professional experience.

Example English as a Second Language Courses

The English as a Second Language certificate program includes the following courses:

  • Equitable Assessment for ESL Learners
  • Second Language Acquisition and Culture
  • Sheltered Instruction and Assessment
  • Teaching Reading and Writing to ESL Students

English as a Second Language Scholarships and Financial Aid

You may qualify for grants, scholarships, loans, and other types of financial assistance to help pay for your ESL certification. Learn more about applying for financial aid at Cambridge College.

Many companies also offer tuition assistance programs that can help to pay for education. Find information about getting your company to help.

Related Programs at Cambridge College

If you’re still exploring degree options, you might be interested in learning more about these programs at Cambridge College:


ESL Courses
Introduction to Education for English Learners
ESL 500 1 credit(s)

This course provides the new student with an initial introduction to the academic, linguistic, and cultural world of English learners. Building on the student's prior knowledge, this course will enable the student to read, observe and interact with English learners in academic settings, analyze what they see, and discuss issues that provide a foundation for understanding the academic and pedagogy content of future courses.

Teaching Reading and Writing to ESL Students
ESL 620 3 credit(s)
Participants apply understanding of language and linguistics, reinforce knowledge of language acquisition and literacy: theories/practices to develop reading skills/comprehension in English as a first language at different educational levels; linguistic differences between first/second language for English reading instruction; differences in initial instruction for students not literate in their first language; first language literacy effects on second language literacy; formal/informal measures for assessing skill development with ESL learners; developing listening/speaking/reading/writing vocabulary; approaches for developing writing skills and use of writing tools; writing process and formal writing elements; English oral/aural fluency; social/academic English and content language; metalinguistic skills and vocabulary appropriate to cognitive, academic, and language proficiency levels.
Equitable Assessment for ESL Learners
ESL 630 3 credit(s)
Assessment of English Language Learners (ELLs) is affected by federal/state regulations, including state-wide adoption of the WIDA ACCESS Test for ELLs. Course participants will understand laws and issues pertinent to the education of ELLs, and user of tests, performance tasks and self-assessments for identification, placement, and reclassification of ELLs. They will learn to interpret ACCESS results, consider the effects of socio-cultural, psychological, political, and individual learning variables, and apply these to design differentiated assessment measures that enable ELLs to use academic language in demonstrating content knowledge and English proficiency. Participants will have the opportunity to observe and interact with ESL students in field-based classroom situations.
Second Language Acquisition and Culture
ESL 631 3 credit(s)
Participants in this introductory course develop knowledge of language and linguistics: system, functions, registers, variations, changes. They discuss language acquisition theory/research; cultural/linguistic differences affecting reading instruction; ESL socio-cultural, socio-economic, socio-emotional, and developmental factors influencing bilingualism/multilingualism; cultural intersection with teaching and learning; cultural/racial/ethnic/linguistic identity; inter-cultural communication, role of community, families, and schools in ELL education. They apply theoretical, political, historical foundations of education for ELLs, and strategies for school collaboration, family outreach, and community.
Sheltered Instruction and Assessment
ESL 635 3 credit(s)
This course is designed for teachers and administrators experiencing the challenge of meeting the academic needs of multilevel, diverse classrooms PreK-12 that require sheltered instruction techniques and state mandated assessment instruments for English language learners (ELLs). This course will provide participants with multiple opportunities to learn and apply sheltering content instruction strategies to enable ELLs to meet grade level academic standards by utilizing the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) as demonstrated in national research on best practices for effective instruction. Pre-practicum hours of directed field-based training required.

Program Chair

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.


School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,415 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of July 2020, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

Take the Next Step Toward Your English as a Second Language Certification