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UAB offers two online graduate certificates:

  • Teaching Multilingual Learners (TML) Graduate Certificate: 12 graduate credit hours focused on teaching multilingual learners in PK-12 schools.
  • Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL) Graduate Certificate: 15 graduate credit hours focused on teaching ESL to adults in diverse settings.

By pursuing the TML or TEAL graduate certificate, you will learn the basics about teaching English learners in your current place of employment. You will also be introduced to the teaching of ESL in other settings.

The TML and TEAL graduate certficates provide professional development in the teaching of ESL. These certificates can serve to advance your career such as being instrumental in future job searches. These certificates can also prepare you for admission to a graduate degree program. You can pursue these certificates while working full-time or while enrolled in a degree program.

NOTE: The TML and TEAL certificates are NOT associated with state-issued teacher certification. Hence, you cannot use these certificates to become certified for teaching in Alabama schools. To earn teacher certification from the Alabama State Department of Education, you will need to pursue the MAEd/ESL program's alternative track.

For More Information, Contact

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

African American parent reading to elementary school children in a classroom

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a graduate certificate?
It is a certificate that is issued by a university's graduate school to students who have completed a prescribed group of courses that entail from 12 to 15 credit hours.

What does a graduate certificate look like?
The TML and TEAL graduate certificates are the same size as a UAB diploma. These certificates are beautiful when displayed on a wall in your office or home.

How can I demonstrate to current and future employers that I have a graduate certificate?
We suggest that you include this certificate on your resume or CV within a section called Education (or similar).

Admission Requirements

Applicants who have already earned a bachelor's degree (or higher):
You must have earned your bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher. Your degree can be in any discipline. In other words, you do not need to have earned a degree in education. You must request official transcripts from all colleges attended.

Applicants who are currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at UAB:
You need to be an undergraduate student in good standing with 60+ credit hours completed and an overall GPA of 3.0. If you meet these admission criteria, you can start the graduate certificate while still pursuing your bachelor's degree. Although you will be paying undergraduate tuition for these graduate courses, you cannot use the graduate credit hours from this certificate program towards your bachelor's degree. After graduating with a bachelor's degree and receiving a TML or TEAL certificate, you can use 12 credit hours from your graduate certificate within the next five years towards a graduate degree such as the MAEd/ESL.


 If you are currently pursuing a degree at UAB and wish to add an ESL certificate, complete a Change of Graduate Program form, and select "Add Certificate Program."

If you are not currently pursuing a degree at UAB, submit an admission application to the Graduate School: certificate-seeking admission application, which includes requesting official transcripts from all colleges attended. The application deadlines are April 15 (summer), July 15 (fall), November 15 (spring).


To receive your certificate, you must submit a form to the Graduate School. Before starting your final semester in a certificate program, submit the form called Application for Graduate Degree/ Certificate. Certificates cannot be awarded retroactively.

Graduate Certificate: Teaching Multilingual Learners (TML)

The purpose of the Teaching Multilingual Learners (TML) graduate certificate is to prepare P-12 educators for effectively serving multilingual learners and their families. Current and future teachers will develop the necessary theory and pedagogy to meet the diverse needs of multilingual learners in their classrooms within early childhood, elementary and secondary school settings. Students must take one required course, EESL 610 Second Language Acquisition (3 credit hours), and three advisor-approved electives (9 credit hours). This 12-hour program can be viewed as a micro-credential. All courses are offered totally online.

Graduate Certificate: Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL)

The Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL) graduate certificate will prepare you for teaching English to adults in diverse settings locally and abroad. Such contexts include intensive English programs, language institutes, cultural associations, community centers, faith-based entities, refugee support groups, and workplace settings. By pursuing this certificate, you will develop theory and pedagogy for meeting the linguistic and sociocultural needs of adults who wish to improve their English for personal reasons, work needs, and/or academic purposes.

This TEAL certificate consists of five courses for a total of 15 credit hours:

  • EESL 625 Phonology for Second Language Teachers
  • EESL 627 Teaching Adult Language Learners
  • EESL 637 Methods for Teaching English as an International Language
  • EESL 677 Field Studies
  • EESL 687 Teaching English for Specific Purposes

Also required is enrolling each semester in EESL 007, which is a course with zero credit hours. EESL 007 corresponds to weekly teaching experiences (approximately one hour per week) that culminate in a practicum during the final semester.

The TEAL certificate is designed to deepen and broaden knowledge and skills for teaching English to adults. This expertise is needed in multiple settings where growing numbers of adults seek to improve their English with the goal of qualifying for new employment opportunities and, in turn, raising their quality of life. To help adults reach these goals, consider pursuing the TEAL. Here, you will

  • learn theories about how adults learn new languages and then apply these theories in the teaching of English to adult learners.
  • plan, use, and evaluate diverse instructional methods, strategies, and techniques for diverse types of adult learners such as long-term English users, migrant workers, and internationally contracted workforce groups, as well as immigrants, refugees, and asylees.
  • diagnose learners' English proficiency and design and deliver instruction to improve communication skills focused on speaking English at a highly comprehensible level.
  • develop and implement an individualized curriculum based on adult ESL standards that focus on a specific purpose or context (e.g., workplace setting).
  • expand and finetune instructional techniques by teaching English classes weekly for three (or more) semesters and receiving regular, sequenced feedback from School of Education and Human Sciences mentors, initially in the UAB Community English Program and later in workplace settings.

Using the TEAL Graduate Certificate as part of a Master's Degree

You can use all five TEAL courses toward a master's degree. If you wish to earn an ESL master's, you will need to submit a degree-seeking application to the MAEd/ESL program's TESOL track and then take six additional ESL courses. If you wish to earn an interdisciplinary master's, submit a degree-seeking application to UAB's Graduate School and stack your TEAL certificate with another UAB certificate such as in special education, higher education administration, health coaching, or public management.

The TEAL Certificate's Designation as an AL-ASSET

The TEAL certificate has been designated by the Alabama Council of Graduate Deans as belonging to the Alabama Advanced Specialized Skills, Education and Training (AL-ASSET) program. The AL-ASSET is a statewide initiative for competency-based graduate certificates that meet workforce development needs. Based on this AL-ASSET designation, the TEAL graduate certificate includes targeted career competencies in alignment with the Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation. By earning this TEAL graduate certificate as an AL-ASSET, you can combine it with an ASSET from another participating institution in Alabama and receive an interdisciplinary master's degree from UAB or the other institution.