Although Alabama does not host a significant number of graduate programs in TESOL or applied linguistics, the universities that do specialize in these areas offer a variety of options. Students can earn a master’s degree concurrent with state licensure to teach in ESL K-12 public classrooms in Alabama, or specialize in adult literacy or global EFL teaching. While most courses of study require on-campus coursework, there is one notable online TESL/TEFL program that has earned the commendation of U.S. News & World Report in 2013.
ESL Teacher Certification
The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) oversees all policies regarding teacher licensure and endorsements. Educators can meet the criteria to teach in Alabama’s K-12 public school ESL classrooms if they have TESOL coursework in their undergraduate, teacher preparation, or graduate programs.
According to ALSDE’s guide to Subject and Personnel Codes, teachers who have the 100191 English for Speakers of Other Languages Code must have the appropriate grade level teaching certificate, a certificate to teach a foreign language, or a special alternative or interim certificate to teach ESL or ESOL. Middle school certificates may be endorsed in English Language Arts, English, Language Arts, or Generalist.
Alternative Certification Options
ALSDE’s Certification Web page lists information about Alabama Certification Approaches. Nontraditional routes to licensure include:
- A candidate qualifies for certificate reciprocity with a comparable teaching certificate earned in another state, or with foreign credentials.
- A person with a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area gets a job offer and must apply for an Emergency Certificate.
- Someone who has finished an alternative program preparing them for one of three certificates (the Alternative Baccalaureate-Level Certificate; Career and Technical Alternative Baccalaureate-Level Certificate; or the Preliminary Certificate approach) applies for the Professional Educator or Professional Leadership Certificate.
Master’s in TESOL Programs
Auburn University’s graduate education program is ranked highly among the nation’s online offerings in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report. The Graduate Certificate in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language)/TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is not a stand-alone master’s degree, but rather a course of study that students can incorporate into a broader graduate program at the university, such as a Master of Arts in Foreign Language Education. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has multiple options for students pursuing TESOL graduate education, licensure, and endorsements. Students can earn a Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) with Class A Certification for Teaching ESL (N-12) by pursuing one of four tracks: Traditional MAEd/ESL, Traditional MAEd/ESL with dual certification, Alternative MAEd/ESL, or Alternative MAEd/ESL with dual certification. Students can also pursue a Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) for teaching ESL/EFL to adults (International Track) or add a Peace Corps & Master’s International Program into the MAED/ESL track.