Bilingual/ESL Endorsement or Approval

NIU offers graduate coursework that can lead to an endorsement or approval to teach bilingual education or English as a Second Language (ESL).

The Certificate of Graduate Study in Teaching English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education is an interdisciplinary program of study administered by the Department of Literacy Education in the College of Education at Northern Illinois University.

This certificate is designed to prepare educators to serve English language learners in a variety of contexts, including bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at K-12, post-secondary, and adult education levels. Students completing the certificate will gain the necessary skills for designing instruction, evaluating and designing materials, and assessing the language development of English language learners across the lifespan.

This certificate is available to any graduate-level student in good academic standing in the university. Enrollment in a graduate degree program is not necessary for earning this certificate; all courses may be taken as a student-at-large.

Students who want to pursue this certificate must receive approval and advisement from the coordinator of the certificate program. Students must complete 18 semester hours in approved courses at NIU, including the three required core courses, and, with prior approval of the certificate coordinator, an internship for those without substantive work experience in teaching English as a second language or bilingual education.

Individuals who wish to participate in this program and to earn either the ESL or bilingual teacher approval from the Illinois State Board of Education should contact the Literacy Education Department in the College of Education at or (815) 753-7948.