English as a Second Language Specialist Certification (K-12): Robert Morris University English as a Second Language Specialist Certification (K-12) | Robert Morris University


This fully online program prepares teachers to promote the academic success of English language learners, and prepares candidates for the ESL Program Specialist certificate awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  

English Language Learners (ELLs) take approximately 10% of the student body nationwide. It is estimated that by the year 2025, 25% of public students will be ELLs. ESL Specialist is listed as a nationwide teacher shortage area by the US Department of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Education. The ESL Specialist Certificate makes you competitive in the job market.

Program Goals

RMU’s program in English as a Second Language explores culture, instructional planning, language benchmarks, assessment and professionalism.  It helps teachers be effective when working with families and communities to establish learning goals and assessment measures that are appropriate for the individual ELL student.  It also teaches how to conduct research on the structure and nature of language with a view to assisting their students to adjust to the challenges of learning a new language.  


Showing the interconnections of culture and cognition, the curriculum provides historical exploration of immigration, cultural perspectives, and teaching practices.  Candidates for ESL Certification complete a planned sequence of field experiences, of which at least one is in a public school setting, and which are aligned with competencies in the coursework.

Click here to see the checksheet for the program.

This program contains six 3-credit courses, and each course progresses from introductory to higher level and known to unknown in complexity:

TESL6000 Introduction to Teaching English as a Second Language

TESL6010  Developing Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity

TESL6020  Language Acquisition and Development

TESL6030 Observation, Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction

TESL6040 Assessment and Support

TESL6050 English Language Learners, Families, Community, and Professionalism