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If you want to be better prepared to teach English learners and if you already hold a master's degree, consider doing an Educational Specialist (EdS) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This EdS-TESOL is for P-12 teachers who have English learners in their classes and for educators who teach ESL in other settings.

ESOL Class AA Certification Checklist

EdS in TESOL Information Packet


Certification Track

In the EdS-TESOL, the certification track is for teachers who hold Alabama Class A certification in any instructional area. (Other educators pursue this EdS-TESOL through its professional track.)

Pre-Requisite for the EdS-TESOL's Certification Track: Class A certification in any instructional area, issued by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE)
Course Delivery: Online
Clinicals: Teaching English learners in one's own class (or another teacher's ESOL class) and in summer ESOL classes
Certification: Class AA teacher certification in ESOL K-12, issued by the ALSDE

Professional Track

The EdS-TESOL's professional track is for teachers and administrators who work with English language learners in a wide array of settings such as intensive English programs on college campuses, language institutes, workplace English, P-12 schools, and community centers.

Pre-Requisite: Master's degree in education, TESOL, or an area related to TESOL
Course Delivery: Online
Clinicals: Teaching English learners in one's own class (or another teacher's ESOL class) and in summer ESOL classes
Certification: The professional track does not lead to Class AA certification

The EdS-TESOL's professional track is for educators who work with English learners in K-12 schools but who don't have Alabama Class A certification in an instructional area. It is also for educators who teach ESL/EFL to adult learners in one or more of this profession's diverse settings, such as intensive English programs on college campuses, English for Specific Purposes, workplace-situated English classes, community programs, rural community outreach, parenting clinics, and refugee centers. When pursuing the EdS-TESOL, most graduate students focus their coursework on their own professional interests and the needs of their respective institutions.

Students walking at Glen Iris Elementary, Birmingham, AlabamaBy pursuing UAB's EdS-TESOL, you will learn state-of-the-art instructional strategies for meeting the evolving needs of linguistically and culturally diverse learners, with collaborative skills for serving as reflective practitioners to guide change, and with mentoring techniques for positively influencing student achievement and institutional improvement. Through this advanced TESOL degree, you will become prepared to assume mentorship and leadership roles for guiding others in meeting the English-learning needs of students in P-12 and adult settings. You will also develop your capacity to serve as an effective change agent in roles such as lead teacher, division head, instructional coach, professional development facilitator, and program specialist.

As an online degree, the EdS-TESOL is accessible across Alabama, the Southeast, and beyond. Educators from states aligned with the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements take UAB's online courses by paying the same graduate tuition and online fees as do their Alabama classmates.

UAB's EdS-TESOL degree is classified by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) with code 13.1401 Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. In the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), this code defines programs that "focus on the principles and practice of teaching English to students who are not proficient in English or who do not speak, read or write English, and that may prepare individuals to function as teachers and administrators in such programs." Within this code, UAB's EdS-TESOL program offers two distinct tracks: the certification track and the professional track.


Gwyneth Dean Witte

Gwyneth Dean Witte

UAB's EdS has provided me with a firm foundation in effective instruction and programming to better serve English learners and educators across South Dakota. As the state's Title III Coordinator, I have to be ready for all situations and any questions when delivering model lessons, doing instructional coaching, leading technical support EL Team Administrative meetings, and teaching ESL endorsement courses. Although I was a bit tentative to start a two-year online program with a two-week summer residency, the professors at UAB were extremely supportive, knowledgeable and responsive to my learning needs in regard to our state's individual context. I have been inspired by my instructors and classmates and have made life-long mentors and friends through UAB's ESL program.
South Dakota State-Wide Title III and Migrant Consortia Coordinator, Wessington Springs, South Dakota

Melissa Hawkins

Melissa Hawkins

I work in adult English language program administration and began UAB's EdS in TESOL after a 16-year hiatus since earning an MA-TESOL. My goal in pursuing the EdS was to have a formal opportunity to delve into current issues facing TESOL educators, as well as to prepare for the possible pursuit of a doctorate. My time in the EDS program was well-spent. The EdS gave me ample opportunity to professionalize my practice further and to identify my own research interests, especially since the professors were committed to personalizing the experience to meet each individual's goals and needs. I am now pursuing my PhD and I am thankful for the solid foundation that the EdS provided.
International Teaching and Learning Specialist in UAB's Center for Teacher and Learning

Melinda Harrison

Melinda Harrison

I applied to UAB's EdS non-certification track because I desired more coursework and knowledge regarding teaching adults and emerging adults in ESL and English, because I have always been intrinsically motivated to learn, and because I saw the EdS curriculum as a foundation for later seeking admission to the Education Studies in Diverse Populations PhD program. Throughout the EdS program, I had the opportunity to work with professors who encouraged me to augment or tailor assignments to my interests. This unique blend of directed and self-directed learning has allowed me to more effectively utilize research methods, to conduct my own teacher-research, and to become a much more effective teacher and teacher-leader - opportunities I did not necessarily have with just an MA.
Adjunct Instructor and Apprenticeship Supervisor at UAB; Lecturer, English Department, University of Auburn at Montgomery

For More Information, Contact:

Josephine Prado, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator of ESL Teacher Education
Associate Professor of English Learner Education

Page updated on December 29, 2023