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 has an animated conversation with his peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Advanced Certificate

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


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  • Bilingual Extension

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: November 15
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): Rolling
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

* For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Application Supplement (included in online application)
  • Must hold or be pursuing Initial Certification in order to obtain Bilingual Extension Certification
  • Fluency in English and a 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.

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

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The Advanced Certificate is for students who are pursuing a master’s degree in another program (must already hold or be pursuing Initial Teacher Certification in that program), or non- degree students who already have teacher certification and want the Bilingual Extension Certification but not a Master’s degree in Bilingual Bicultural Education. This is not a degree program. It may be completed in as little as 1 year.

Required Courses Points

  • A&HB 4021 Foundations of Bilingual/Bicultural Education 3, Fall

  • A&HB 4028 Teaching Literacy in Bilingual Settings 3, Spr

  • A&HB 4121 Bilingual/Bicultural Curriculum Desgn Elem/Middle Sch 3, Fall

  • A&HB 4323* Practicum in Bilingual/Bicultural Education 3-4, Fall

Note: If student have a total of 12 credits from required courses, they take a 3-credit elective. If students have a total of 13 credits from required courses, they take a 2-credit elective.

Electives (one or more courses)

  • A&HB 4024 Linguistic Foundations of Bilingual/Bic Education 3, Spr

  • A&HB 4075 Cross-Cultural Communication & Classroom Ecology 3, Spr

  • A&HB 4133 Curriculum & Methods for Bilingual Ed: Science 1-3,Spr

  • A&HB 4134 Curriculum & Methods for Bilingual Ed: Math 1-3,Spr

Other courses offered in the Bilingual/Bicultural Program – see current course schedule *For Advanced Certificate students, the Practicum experience consists of 50 fieldwork hours in a bilingual setting, plus weekly class meetings. If you already have your own classroom, take the Practicum for 3 credits. If you need a classroom placement, you must take the Practicum for 4 credits.

New York State Education Department (NYSED) mandates teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher Education section of the catalog.

Online Advanced Certificate in Bilingual/Bicultural Education 15 Credits 

The online format enables students to participate in an interactive experience from their home without having to travel to our campus in New York City. The online and in-person programs follow primarily the same curriculum, with the following exception: The in-person program includes an elective. The online format does not include an elective. 

Required Online Course Points

  • A&HB 4021 Foundations of Bilingual/Bicultural Education 3, Su A

  • A&HB 4028 Teaching Literacy in Bilingual Settings 3, Fall 

  • A&HB 4075 Cross-Cultural Communication & Classroom Ecology 3, Su B 

  • A&HB 4121 Bilingual/Bicultural Curriculum Desgn Elem/Middle Sch 3, Spring 

  • A&HB 4323 Practicum in Bilingual/Bicultural Education 3, Fall 

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