Degrees Offered:

  • Certificate*

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* = Certificates are not technically a degree, but can be pursued to supplement a bachelor's degree

The TESOL certificate provides CU Boulder students with foundational knowledge and skills for English teaching while also incorporating the broader perspectives of culture, language use and language learning. Housed in the linguistics department, the 18-credit certificate is open to all interested students, and may be of particular relevance to students from social science, humanities, speech or language, foreign language, international affairs and communication programs or backgrounds. 

The widespread role of English as an international lingua franca opens up many opportunities for trained English teachers globally. Increasingly, EFL (English as a foreign language) providers want to hire individuals with relevant training—not just those who are native or near-native speakers. Certificate earners, in conjunction with their bachelor's degrees, will have the credentials to be able to tap into professional opportunities in the dynamic world of English language teaching—globally and in the U.S.

The program is focused on the teaching of English to young adults and adults while also incorporating the broader perspectives of language use and language learning from education, communication, culture and society. A one-semester practicum experience involves teaching or tutoring with a community ESL provider. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for those working in adult and remedial education, including ESOL teachers, were forecast to increase by 7%, which is about as fast as the average for the decade spanning 2014-2024. Greater demand for ESOL teachers was expected because of a growing number of men and women looking to learn the English language or improve their English skills, especially in areas of the United States with high immigrant populations.

Employment for elementary and middle school teachers in general was projected to rise at a higher-than-average rate during the same time period, according to BLS figures, while high school teachers were expected to see less growth. However, the need for ESOL teachers in particular was expected to be greater than average since the number of U.S. students who don't speak English was predicted to continue to grow.

Career Services offers free services for all CU Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation, to help students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work by discussing major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.