Overview of Online TESOL Certification in California
TESOL is a subject area that essentially involves teaching English as a foreign/second language. The route to becoming a TESOL teacher in California is reasonably well defined. The most popular route involves completing an approved teacher preparation program that includes a TESOL coursework component and is generally incorporated into a college degree program. Some candidates are also required to pass the relevant subject examination and apply for the English learner credential. Some of these steps can be undertaken, at least in part, online.
Online TESOL Certification Requirements
Aspiring TESOL teachers in California should enroll in an approved teacher preparation program that incorporates key language courses, such as linguistics, teaching methods and grammar, as well as a significant TESOL component. Some higher education institutions in California have online availability for their programs. The TESOL component can even be completed as a specific master's degree. Teacher preparation programs will typically include a practicum to enable candidates to get some practical classroom teaching experience. Students who complete an approved TESOL program do not need to take a subject matter exam, but merely need their school to verify successful completion of the TESOL program.
Teachers who already hold a teaching credential in another subject can become eligible to add TESOL as a teaching endorsement by passing the appropriate state subject area examination. Certificate programs are available online to learn TESOL prior to taking the exam.
Obtaining TESOL Certification in California
Once TESOL teacher candidates have completed their teacher preparation program, they are eligible to apply for a preliminary credential.
Those who need to pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) subject matter exam will take the World Languages: English Language Development exam, which is the exam for TESOL. It consists of three subtests covering linguistics, culture and instruction/assessment. These subtests have both multiple-choice questions and constructed response items; the minimum passing score for each is 220.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) has made a number of CSET examination preparation materials available online for each subtest, including test structure and content information, testing tutorials and sample questions. For the test itself, applicants will need to report in person to a test center.
In addition to completing a college degree, a teacher preparation program, and passing the relevant exams, TESOL teacher candidates must also satisfy a few other requirements before they can submit an application for certification. These include meeting the basic skills requirement which can be deemed to be satisfied in the following ways:
- Passing the CSET exams in Multiple Subjects and Writing Skills
- Passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test
- Passing the California State University Early Assessment Program or CSU placement tests
- Possessing a SAT exam Critical Reading section score of 500 or more combined with a SAT Mathematics exam score of at least 550.
- Achieving a score of 3 or more on the College Board Advanced Placement English exam and Calculus or Statistics exams
- Passing a basic skills examination in another state
An additional requirement is that candidates must complete a course about the principles and provisions of the U.S. Constitution or pass an examination on this subject matter at an accredited university or college. Candidates must also obtain a formal recommendation for certification from their teacher preparation program sponsor.
ITC applications can be submitted by accessing the California state government's Commission on Teacher Credentialing website. Applicants will need to receive fingerprint clearance from the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is processed through the CCTC.
Career Outlook after TESOL Certification
The prospects for TESOL teachers in the US are in line with most other professions as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that teaching jobs will increase by 3 to 4% between 2018 and 2028 depending on which grade level a teacher wishes to work in. In California, average salaries for teachers, as reported by the BLS in 2019, range from $80,160 for middle school teachers to $85,080 at high school level.
The pathway to TESOL teacher certification is very straightforward, particularly for those who complete an approved teacher preparation program with a TESOL component in the beginning. Numerous aspects of this pathway can be undertaken online, thus providing flexibility for all candidates.