ESL Specialist, Certificate

Penn GSE’s Educational Linguistics Division offers a state-approved certification program for the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s English as a Second Language Program Specialist Certification (PDE Program Specialist Code 4499, CSPG 68). Our program consists of six graduate-level courses that prepare teachers to work under licensure with multilingual, multicultural populations in K-12 settings, supporting English learners in meeting the challenges of academic mastery, cultural validation, and linguistic development in public school settings.



To be eligible for the ESL Program Specialist Program, applicants must:

  • Be an in-progress student or recent graduate of the Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship  or Urban Teachers Residence program, earning  or having earned at least a Level 1 PA teaching certification.
  • Provide a recent academic reference
  • Provide a professional reference from current field practice or employer

In order to be eligible to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the ESL Program Specialist Certificate, candidates must have successfully completed program requirements. These include:

Completion of required field practice hours
Satisfactor assessments on teaching competency and disposition measures
Maintenance of academic good-standing in the following courses:
EDUC 6205Linguistics in Education1
EDUC 6215Approaches to Teaching English and Other Modern Languages1
EDUC 5252Language Diversity and Education1
EDUC 5248Language Assessment1
EDUC 8215TESOL Practice Teaching1
EDUC 8225TESOL Seminar1
Total Course Units6

Upon completion of the program, candidates must register with the state and submit an online application in the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Teacher Information Management System. Candidates will apply for the Program Specialist credential, with the subject being English as a Second Language Code 4499, CSPG 68.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.