BBE CERT Extension

Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education (non-degree track)

Offered in-person and online

As the number of immigrant students and English Language Learners enrolled in schools nationwide continues to increase, the demand for teachers with bilingual extension certification is growing dramatically as well. Of the approximately 2.6 million public school students in New York State in 2016-2017, 8.8 percent were English Language or Multilingual Learners, with over 200 languages represented. (New York Basic Educational Data System)

The Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University trains educators to meet the diverse needs of these multilingual learners, with an emphasis on multiculturalism and the ways that students and educators bring their own unique backgrounds, experiences, and assets to the classroom.

This 15-16 credit program is registered by New York State as a pathway toward the Bilingual Extension Certification. Upon completion of the Advanced Certificate, participants who pass the required New York Bilingual Education Assessment exam will be eligible for the Bilingual Extension.

Taught by leaders in the field of bilingual and bicultural education, the program is offered on-campus at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City and in a fully online format. The program is rigorous, but flexible to meet the needs of full-time teachers or students.

The online Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education is registered with the New York State Education Department leading to the Bilingual Extension certificate in New York State for students who hold a valid base certificate in New York. Teachers College has made a reasonable effort to determine if the program meets the educational requirements for certification/licensure in other states, however, we have not made an official determination for other states at this time. Please note that many states do not have an equivalent certification to the New York extension certificate. If you plan to work in any other state and are considering enrolling in the online Bilingual/Bicultural Education program, please review the additional material provided on that state’s department of education website. Contact information for each state licensing agency is listed here

You may contact the Program Director, Sharon Chang, at for more information about certification requirements. She would be pleased to assist you in understanding the requirements for your state.

Teachers College makes every effort to provide current and accurate licensure/certification information. However, licensure/certification regulations change frequently, so it is highly recommended that you contact the licensing agency for the state in which you plan to work for the most up-to-date information.

A graduate student listens to a student in her cohort.

Admissions Information

Advanced Certificate

  • Points/Credits: 15
  • Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall


View Public Disclosure Notification

  • Bilingual Extension

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: Rolling
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): Rolling
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Applicants must hold or be pursuing Initial Teacher Certification in order to obtain Bilingual Extension Certification
  • Language Other than English (LOTE) Statement

Additional Notes

Major Codes - Be sure to put the correct one on your application.

The major code for Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education (non-degree track) is CERT-BILG-EX.

Fluency in English and a Language Other than English (LOTE) are required for the Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education, as well as for the courses of study leading to NY State certification in Bilingual Education.

Students whose first language is English must provide proof of proficiency in a LOTE. During the admissions process, some students may be selected for further language testing by the Program in Bilingual/Bicultural Education. This testing is free to applicants, and is meant to verify written and oral language skills. Students must also submit a supplemental essay in their LOTE.

International students must submit TOEFL scores UNLESS they have received an Undergraduate degree (not Masters or Doctoral) from a school at which English is the primary language of instruction. The minimum TOEFL exam score required by Teachers College is 100 on the internet-based exam (IBT). Applicants may obtain further information on TOEFL at or from their local overseas educational advising center. IELTS scores may be accepted in lieu of the TOEFL. The minimum IELTS overall band score is 7.0. Score reports must be officially submitted by the testing center. Current and former TC students do not need to submit new scores unless requested by the program to do so.

For information on the interpretation of TOEFL scores, please go to the ETS website.
For information on the interpretation of IELTS scores, please go to the IELTS website.

Students seeking New York State Teacher Certification must also satisfy the Liberal Arts & Sciences Certification Requirements - this consists of undergraduate coursework in four basic content areas. Your undergraduate transcript will be evaluated during the admissions process, and you will be notified if you are deficient in one or more areas. For more information, see the Liberal Arts & Sciences Requirement page under Resources on the BBE website.

Course Requirements

Program Overview and Courses

The Advanced Certificate is designed for non-degree students who already have New York State teacher certification and wish to obtain the New York State Bilingual Extension, or currently enrolled students pursuing a master's degree in another Teachers College program (must already hold or be pursuing Initial Certification in that program). The program will:

  • Review the historical and theoretical foundation framework that has shaped bilingual education policies, program models, and teaching and assessment practices.

  • Examine the cultural influences of bilingual education settings, identifying salient theoretical issues related to culture and social organization as they pertain to the education of ethnolinguistic and minoritized children.

  • Explore approaches to developing literacy in a second and native language in elementary and middle schools.

  • Allow participants to take part in the real-world application of bilingual and bicultural classroom practices in all content areas, the teaching of an additional language (ESL or LOTE), and the development of bilingualism.

Program Structure

The Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education is a non-degree program that is offered through a part-time course of study and may be completed in 13 months. The program is offered in in-person and online formats, and students may begin the program at any point in the year. Please review TC’s Academic Calendar for semester dates.

Online Program Structure

The online format enables students to participate in an interactive experience from their home base without having to travel to our campus in New York City. The 15-credit program includes five courses, including 50 hours of practicum in a bilingual setting. (Students who are full-time teachers may apply 50 hours of fieldwork in their classrooms to fulfill the practicum requirement.) Students will enroll in one course per term for five consecutive terms and may begin in any term.  

The program will be delivered entirely online through the College’s learning management system, Canvas. Students are not expected to have expertise in an online learning environment prior to enrollment. A student orientation will help students become familiar with the technology.

In-Person Program Structure

Students enrolled in the in-person program take courses at the Teachers College, Columbia University campus in New York City. The 15/16-credit program includes four required courses and one required elective course as well as 50 hours of practicum in a bilingual setting. (Students who are full-time teachers may apply 50 hours of fieldwork in their classrooms to fulfill the practicum requirement.)

Coursework and Schedule

The online and in-person programs follow primarily the same curriculum, with the following exception: The in-person program requires an elective. The online format does not require an elective. For a complete list of Bilingual/Bicultural Education courses, consult the TC Academic Catalog.

Required Online Courses (15 points)

  • A&HB 4021 - Foundations of Bilingual/Bicultural Education (3 points)
  • A&HB 4075 - Cross-Cultural Communication & Classroom Ecology (3 points)
  • A&HB 4028 - Teaching Literacy in Bilingual Settings (3 points)
  • A&HB 4323 - Practicum in Bil/Bic Settings (3 points)
  • A&HB 4121 - Bil/Bic Curriculum Design Elementary/Middle School (3 points)

Required In-Person Courses (15-16 points)

  • A&HB 4021 - Foundations of Bilingual/Bicultural Education (3 points)
  • A&HB 4028 - Teaching Literacy in Bilingual Settings (3 points)
  • A&HB 4121 - Bilingual/Bicultural Curriculum Design Elem/Middle School (3 points) 
  • A&HB 4323 - Practicum in Bil/Bic Settings (3-4 points)

In-Person Electives (one or more courses)

  • A&HB 4024 - Linguistic Foundations of Bilingual/Bic Education (3 points)
  • A&HB 4075 - Cross-Cultural Communication & Classroom Ecology (3 points)
  • A&HB 4133 - Curriculum & Methods for Bilingual Ed: Science (1 - 3 points)
  • A&HB 4134 - Curriculum & Methods for Bilingual Ed: Math (1- 3 points)

Each of these courses will apply toward the Master of Arts in Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Teachers College. Successful participants in the Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education who wish to obtain a full master’s degree must complete an application for admission to the M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural program.

Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have teaching experience, a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and hold or be pursuing a valid K-12 teaching certificate. Candidates need to have a native-like fluency in a language other than English

Application materials include:

  • Completed Application for Admission (choose “Advanced Certificate”)
  • Official undergraduate transcript(s) indicating degree conferral 
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 500-word Statement of Purpose
  • Copy of teaching certification*
  • Demonstration of fluency in a language other than English

*Students currently enrolled in a TC teacher certification program should indicate in which program they are enrolled.

International students must submit (in addition to the above materials):

  • A course-by-course transcript evaluation completed by WES or ECE
  • Official documentation outlining a teaching credential recognized in their own countries
  • Official TOEFL Score Report. Minimum score requirement: 100 internet-based (IBT) or 600 paper-based exam (PBT)

For instructions on how to complete the Advanced Certificate Application for Admission, visit the about the process page.

Application Fee
The application fee is $65. The application fee must be submitted with the application and is not refundable under any circumstances.

Tuition for the 2018/2019 Academic Year is $1635 per point (credit).

Students are billed a College Fee every term registered. The College Fee is set for $458 for the 2018/2019 Academic Year.

Aspiring French dual language and immersion teachers are encouraged to apply for the FIT fellowship, which will help subsidize the cost of the Advanced Certificate program.

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