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Educator Licensure

Requirements for the English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement

(Updated 1/17/14)

Persons seeking this endorsement must have a total of 18 semester hours of coursework required below and meet the other requirements:

  • A valid professional Illinois teaching certificate.
  • ESL clinical experience equal to 100 clock hours or three months teaching experience with ESL students.
  • Credits totaling 18 semester hours distributed among the following course areas.
  • Linguistics
  • Theoretical Foundations of Teaching ESL
  • Assessment of the Bilingual Student
  • Methods and Materials for Teaching ESL
  • Cross-Cultural Studies for Teaching Limited-English-Proficient Students
  • Elective (an additional bilingual or ESL course)

Additionally, applicants seeking to add this endorsement at the middle school level must also complete the following middle school pedagogical coursework:

  • 3 semester hours of coursework in middle school philosophy, curriculum and instructional methods for designing and teaching developmentally appropriate programs in the middle grades, including content area reading instruction,


  • 3 semester hours of coursework in educational psychology focusing on the developmental characteristics of early adolescents and the role of the middle grade teacher in assessment, coordination and referral of students to health and social services.

— The middle grade coursework must be completed at a 4 year teacher education institution unless a community college has an articulation agreement with the senior institution to accept their courses.

— Because coursework varies at different universities, please contact a teacher education institution to determine the specific courses offered to fulfill these requirements.

— Universities offer middle grades courses in varying approaches. Some universities offer specific, individual courses to meet the middle grades requirements. Others infuse the content throughout several courses; in this situation, all the courses will have to be taken to meet the requirement. The applicant should be certain to understand the approach taken by the university where the applicant has enrolled.

For more and information and a listing of approved middle school coursework, please see the Middle School Coursework Information page.