Considering the size of its student population, Florida has relatively few options for earning an MA in TESOL or a related field. However, among the universities offering this course of study are several options, including campus-based studies, hybrid onsite and online programs, online-only courses of study, and paid teaching internships that award ESL certification at a post-baccalaureate level.
Areas of specialization might include advanced coursework in research, language acquisition, English structures, teaching English to different ages or levels, or speech development and disabilities.
ESL Teacher Certification
The Florida DOE maintains a list of Approved Teacher Education Programs that provide the necessary courses, fieldwork, and exams for initial K-12 licensure. The Department issues certificates in the following areas:
- Professional – valid for five years
- Temporary – valid for three years
For both of these certificates, candidates must complete coursework in order to receive an endorsement to teach ESL in K-12 classrooms.In addition, TESOL educators must qualify to teach ELL populations by meeting the criteria listed on FL DOE’s Specialization Requirements for the Endorsement in English for Speakers of Other Languages – Academic Class.
Alternative Certification Options
The Florida Department of Education provides a guide to Florida’s Alternative Certification Programs which make available intensive training to teachers hired with a Temporary Certificate. These teachers must fulfill any coursework, exams, and supervised teaching requirements to qualify for a Professional Certificate.
Master’s in ESL Programs
Florida International University’s Master’s in Foreign Language Education: TESOL is one option. The University of Florida has placed in the top five rankings nationwide in Washington Monthly’s 2013 Bang for the Buck ratings of schools, which compare program quality as well as price. Its Advanced Studies in ESOL Education/Bilingual Education has two options at the graduate level: the Master of Education (M.Ed.), which includes a thesis or special project in an area of focus; and the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.E.) is the degree option for students seeking 36 hours of coursework without a thesis. Although neither of these courses of study concurrently awards certification, students who complete the required coursework delineated by Florida DOE can then take the Florida Teacher Certification Exam in ESOL and pursue K-12 licensure.