Frequently Asked Questions
If you would like more in-depth information about any of the topics below, have further questions, or simply prefer to speak with a real person, please contact us directly. Our phone number is 212.678.3459, or we can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choosing the Teachers College TESOL Certificate Program
The TESOL Certificate Program at Teachers College, Columbia University is one of the most in-depth certificate programs offered today. Your instructors will all be experienced ESL/EFL teachers. Your courses will offer you a unique blend of theory and practice, and include hands-on approaches to teaching reading, writing, speaking, and listening, as well as classroom management. You will also study the fundamentals of how English works, the most up-to-date theories on how languages are learned, and how to assess students. And, of course, a certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University is recognized around the world as an assurance that you have received the best possible preparation.
TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is an umbrella term used to describe the art of teaching English to anyone who is not a native speaker of English. TESOL may take place in an English-speaking country, or in a country where English is not an official language and considered a foreign language, in which case it may be called TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).
ESL (English as a Second Language) is used to refer to English instruction to non-native speakers in a country where English is the dominant language. These learners may be acquiring English as a third, fourth, or fifth language. EFL (English as a Foreign Language) is taught in a country where English is not an official language and considered a foreign language. ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is another acronym commonly used to refer to the study of English by non-native speakers.
Our program more than meets the 120-hour requirement. Actual program hours vary from year to year, but are always over 120 hours.
What kind of work is required to receive a certificate from the Teachers College TESOL Certificate Program?
To receive a Certificate, you must have at least a B average in your coursework and receive at least a B in the courses Classroom Practices and the Practicum. Our alumni describe the program as exhilarating and intense. Expect at least two hours of homework reading, writing, and lesson-planning on week nights and over the weekends. Please note that the vast majority of participants complete the program successfully and receive certificates. If you keep yourself organized, you will too.
Yes! During five weeks of the program, you will work with your student teaching mentor and your teaching team planning for and then teaching your own Friday morning class in our Community English Program. Participants repeatedly tell us that they find the student teaching component of our program very rewarding, saying they enjoy the relationships they build with their students. They also say they appreciate the opportunity to put everything they are learning about TESOL into practice in a sheltered, supportive environment where they themselves can learn and grow. Additionally, in the first weeks of the program, you will have hands-on experience assessing your ESL students to place them in the appropriate class levels. This is valuable exposure to your students before you start teaching, as well as a practical skill you take with you to the job market once the program ends. For more information about the student-teaching experience, visit our Student Teaching page.
Applying to the program
No teaching experience is necessary to apply to the TESOL Certificate Program. Students will participate in supervised team student teaching as part of the program.
You must have a B.A., B.S., or an equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university to apply to the program. The only exception is graduating seniors, who receive provisional acceptance. In order to receive final acceptance, graduating seniors must submit a copy of their diploma before the program.
Yes. Upon written request, you may defer enrollment for one year. To reactivate your status as an accepted student, you must send us a $50 re-activation fee plus your $500 deposit before February 15th of the year you plan to attend the program. If you defer your enrollment after having already paid the $500 deposit, you only need to send the re-activation fee.
Tuition is $6,500, plus a $50 application fee. You should plan on spending approximately $250 on books and supplies. Housing costs vary, depending upon whether you live in TC housing or not. If you choose to apply for on-campus housing, remember to apply early, since these options fill up fast.
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer scholarships and it is not possible to pay for the program with federally-funded student loans at this time. However, if you are interested in applying for a personal continuing education loan, please contact our office for more information.
Finding a job
What kind of work will I be able to find with a TESOL Certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University?
Our graduates go on to find work as varied as their backgrounds. Some travel and teach overseas, while others find work in non-profit English programs and for-profit language schools here in the United States. Most of our graduates work with adult learners, but some (particularly those who teach abroad) also teach children. Graduates with a background in another professional field often combine their newly acquired teaching skills with their prior professional experience. For instance, alumni with a business background might go on to teach English to executives. Graduates with Master's degrees in related areas (language, education, etc.) and prior teaching experience often find work in community colleges in the U.S. and in universities abroad.
The TESOL Certificate Program is a non-credit, non-degree program. It does not provide K-12 certification or an ESL endorsement on a public school teaching license. It is primarily for those who wish to teach adults in continuing education programs in the U.S. and abroad. For information on the TC TESOL MA program offering K-12 TESOL certification, please contact the TESOL Graduate Advisor at email@example.com. For information on how to obtain an ESL endorsement on an existing teaching license, please contact your local or state department of education.
All participants who have graduated from our program and looked for work have found work. During the program itself, we offer a workshop on how to find a job. We also place you on a special Teachers College TESOL & Applied Linguistics jobs list serve where you receive regular news of openings in the U.S. and abroad. Your fellow students are often one of the best sources for job referrals. These students become an important component of your professional network throughout your teaching career.