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Bilingual and English
as a Second Language

Teacher Certification


Career potential

The rising number of English language learners in Texas public schools is increasing the need for teachers qualified to teach in bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) programs. These programs currently serve 750,000 English language learners, and the number is growing.

Bilingual education uses both the child's native language and English in all or part of the school curriculum. ESL instruction enables children who are not proficient in English to acquire academic proficiency in spoken and written English.

UNT's bilingual and ESL teacher certification program will prepare you to address the affective, linguistic and cognitive needs of English language learners. This is accomplished through specialized instruction and assessment.

The program is aligned with the state and national standards as well as the general requirements of the UNT's College of Education.


Certification opportunities

The undergraduate program (133 semester hours) is designed for students seeking a bachelor's degree and initial teacher certification:

  • Bilingual certification to teach in early childhood to fourth grade (EC-4)
  • Bilingual certification to teach in fourth to eighth grades (4-8)
  • ESL certification to teach EC-4
  • ESL certification to teach 4-8

More information is available at www.coe.unt.edu/tea/esl.
The post-baccalaureate program (24 semester hours) provides initial teacher certification for non-education majors:

  • Bilingual certification to teach EC-4
  • ESL certification to teach EC-4

More information is available at www.coe.unt.edu/tea/graduate.
Certified teachers may earn an ESL or bilingual education supplement certification (12 semester hours):

  • ESL endorsement to teach in grades K-12.
  • Bilingual education endorsement to teach in grades K-12

Certified teachers may choose to earn a master of education degree with a major in curriculum and instruction or in reading. This requires 36 hours of course work and enhances the knowledge and expertise of practicing teachers. The M.Ed. degree combines theoretical perspectives and research-based practice with multiple opportunities for field-based projects and action research. More information is available at www.coe.unt.edu/tea/eci/admission.php


Admission requirements

Undergraduate student must meet admission requirements to UNT as well as these additional requirements for the teacher education program:

  • minimum overall GPA of 2.75
  • 60 earned hours (junior standing)
  • passing scores on the TASP/THEA examination (240-reading, 230-math and 220-writing) or SAT/ACT/TAKS test exemption
  • degree plan in process or completed

Graduate students must meet the admission requirements of the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies as well as these additional requirements for the certificate program:

  • an undergraduate degree with a minimum overall GPA of 2.8 or a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work
  • passing score report of TASP/THEA, GRE or appropriate substitute exam
  • Texas Oral Proficiency Test (TOPT) passing scores for bilingual certification

Students enrolling in the EC-4 or 4-8 bilingual generalist programs must demonstrate language proficiency in Spanish. Proficiency in a second language is desired, but not required, for students choosing to teach in ESL programs.


Program requirements

For undergraduate bilingual or ESL certification, you must earn a bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies with the following 18 semester hours specialty classes in bilingual or ESL education:

  • EDBE 3470 Foundations of Bilingual & ESL Education
  • EDBE 3480 Bilingualism & Multiculturalism: Issues and Perspectives
  • EDBE 4470 Curriculum and Assessment for Bilingual/ESL education
  • EDBE 4480 Bilingual Approaches to Content Based Learning (bilingual track only)
  • EDBE 4490 Teaching ESL EC-12: Instructional Strategies and Resources
  • LING 4030 Acquisition of English as a Second Language

For detailed course requirements, visit www.coe.unt.edu/sao/Undergraduate/UG_Degree_Reqs.html.

To earn a graduate-level certification, you must complete 18 semester hours of core classes plus 6 hours targeting the specific certification:

Core classes

  • EDBE 5560 Fundamentals of Bilingual and ESL Education in EC-12 Settings
  • EDBE 5570 Assessing Language and Content Learning in EC-12 Bilingual and ESL Education
  • EDBE 5590 Pedagogy of English as a Second Language for EC-12 Classrooms
  • EDEE 5105 Advanced Practicum and Mentorship in Bilingual/ESL Education
  • EDEE 5115 Advanced Practicum and Mentorship in Bilingual/ESL Education
  • EDEE 5840 Engaging Students in Learning
  • EC-4 bilingual generalist classes
  • EDBE 5580 Curriculum for EC-8 Bilingual Education
  • EDBE 5585 Teaching Reading and Other Language Arts in Bilingual Education
  • EC-4 ESL generalist classes
  • EDEE 5860 Instructional Methodologies in Mathematics and Science
  • EDRE 5070 Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners

For both the undergraduate- and graduate-level certifications, you must also pass the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) tests:

  • Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) TExES exam
  • Bilingual generalist or ESL generalist TExES exam
  • TOPT-Spanish for bilingual certification only

The TExES Advising Office provides information, guidance and training on these tests. Visit www.coe.unt.edu/texes or call 940-565-2736.


Financial assistance

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Roberto R. Alonzo Scholars Program provides awards to students who complete the program and then teach in a Texas state-approved bilingual or ESL elementary or secondary education classroom for five years.

For information about the Educational Aide Exemption program and other state and federal financial aid for students in education, visit the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board web site, College for Texas or call 800-242-3062.

General financial aid and scholarship information is available at the UNT website www.unt.edu/finaid or by calling 800-655-3537.