ESL Certification in North Carolina: Program Overviews

Jul 28, 2019

North Carolina has eight schools that offer English as a Second Language (ESL) certification programs. Learn about the programs, tuition information and program options at each school to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

North Carolina has a variety of school options for individuals seeking ESL certification. In addition to ESL programs, similar degrees are offered, commonly called Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Programs available in North Carolina lead to the award of a bachelor's or master's degree; one program is designed for teacher licensure eligibility only for individuals who already hold degrees. Students will have the opportunity to enter classrooms through field experiences in most cases.


Gardner - Webb University

Gardner - Webb University is a four-year Christian school in Boiling Springs. The Department of World Languages, Literature and Culture provides an ESL program for teaching students from kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12). The curriculum helps students hone their English skills and master an additional foreign language through advanced courses. Field experience is included in this program and allows students to practice classroom exercises with students. The 36-hour ESL coursework prepares students for K-12 licensure.

Greensboro College

Greensboro College is a liberal arts school set on an 80-acre campus. A graduate level TESOL program is available at Greensboro. The core requirements of this program are made up of 30 credit hours of language, culture, pedagogy and research time. The school offers a fast track option for those seeking to finish the degree requirements in a faster time by enrolling in four back to back semesters. Graduates of this program are qualified to pursue full-time teaching positions.

Mars Hill College

Mars Hill College is a Christian institution serving about 1,200 students each year. The Education Department offers a variety of teacher programs. The ESL program leads to state licensure at the K-12 levels. Both the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and have approved Mars Hill's educational programs. This results in possible licensure in 44 states.

Meredith College

Raleigh's Meredith College, a women's college, is the ninth best value higher-learning institution according to U.S. News and World Report. The school offers a licensure program in ESL. It focuses on teaching the tenets of communication and literacy to K-12 aged students. Licensure is awarded when the ESL coursework is completed as well as classes in psychology, literature and ethics.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Over 26,000 students attend the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. The College of Education offers two master's degree in TESL. The Master of Education in TESL is available for licensed teachers seeking expertise in teaching ESL. The Master of Arts in Teaching in TESL program is a K-12 licensure program. It is made up of 39-credit hours of ESL and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instruction.

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University serves more than 9,000 students each year in Cullowhee. The learning institution has a TESOL program available in a variety of graduate level degree options. They offer a broader knowledge base allowing instructors to teach English to any foreign student coming from any language. The available degree programs include Master's of Arts in TESOL, Master of Arts in Education and Master of Arts in Teaching each with concentrations in TESOL.

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has a 13 to one student to faculty ratio. WSSU has a TESL add-on program for certified teachers. At the completion of the 18 hours of the required curriculum, previously certified teachers may seek ESL K-12 licensure.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting ESL Certification Programs Offered Tuition & Fees
Gardner-Webb University 4-year, private not-for-profit, distant town Bachelor of Arts in ESL with Teacher Licensure $32,000 (undergraduate, 2018-2019)*
Greensboro College 4-year, private not-for-profit, large city Master of Arts in TESOL $435 per credit hour (graduate, 2019-2020)**
Mars Hill College 4-year, private not-for-profit,large suburb Bachelor of Arts in ESL $32,968 (undergraduate, 2018-2019)*
Meredith College 4-year, private not-for-profit, large city ESL in K-12 Licensure Program $37,176 (undergraduate, 2018-2019)*
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 4-year, public, large city Master of Education in TESL,
Master of Arts in Teaching in TESL
$7,378 in-state, $20,812 out-of-state (graduate, 2018-2019)*
Western Carolina University 4-year, public, rural fringe Master of Arts in TESOL,
Master of Arts in Education (Concentration in TESOL),
Master of Arts in Teaching (Concentration in TESOL)
$5,020.50 in-state, $10,224 out-of-state (graduate 2019-2020)**
Winston-Salem State University 4-year, public, mid-size city Add-on Licensure Program in TESL $3,872 in-state, $13,987 out-of-state (graduate tuition per academic year, 2018-2019)**

Source: *NCES College Navigator, **Schools' Websites.

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