Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsements

Students in a bilingual classroom with Dr. Kristine Schutz

The Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsements are for students who are pursuing, or who have earned, an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) and want to be able to teach in a Bilingual and/or English as a Second Language setting. Graduate students and licensed teachers have the option to earn the endorsement without being admitted to a degree program. Students also have the option to complete the course sequence fully or partially online.

The Bilingual endorsement requires fluency in a language other than English. An additional test administered by the state must be completed in order to achieve this endorsement.

Earning the Endorsement Only (for licensed teachers)

Licensed teachers can earn the ESL or Bilingual endorsement as non-degree students by taking courses through UIC Extended Campus, with the option to take all five required courses online.

Please note that non-degree students are not eligible for scholarships and financial aid;  degree programs that offer the ESL/Bilingual endorsement are listed below.

Earning a Degree and/or License with the Endorsement

If you already have a teaching license, you can pursue the endorsement through one of our master’s programs:

If you want to obtain a teaching license and the ESL/Bilingual endorsement at the same time, we offer these bachelor’s and master’s programs:

Faculty contact for ESL/ Bilingual endorsements:

Endorsement Requirements

Endorsements in English as a Second Language (ESL)  and Bilingual Education are valid only if you currently hold a Professional Educator License. Both endorsements require 20 semester hours for graduate students – 18 semester hours for undergraduate elementary students or 19 semester hours for secondary education students – including the following courses:

  • CI 481 Foundations and Current Issues in Educating English Language Learners (ELLs) (4 credit hours), OR CI 470 Language, Culture, and Learning in Urban Classrooms (4 credit hours) for undergraduates in the Elementary Education program.
  • CI 482 Assessment and Instruction: A Multilingual/multicultural Perspective (4 credit hours) (CI 481 is a prerequisite for this course)
  • CI 472 Language Proficiency Assessment and ESL Instruction (4 credit hours) (CI 481 is a prerequisite for this course)
  • CI 464 Bilingualism and Literacy in a Second Language (4 credit hours) (CI 481 is a prerequisite for this course)
  • CI 540 Linguistics for Teachers (4 credit hours) OR LING 150 Introduction to the Study of Language (3 credit hours) for undergraduate students in elementary or secondary education.

To qualify to teach in bilingual classrooms, teachers who receive the Bilingual Education endorsement must pass a Target Language Proficiency (TLP) test administered by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  Students will also work with the Council on Teacher Education as part of the licensure/endorsement process.

Endorsement FAQs

The term endorsement is used to describe a credential listed on a professional educator license or an educator license with stipulations. A teaching endorsement may be a grade-level endorsement (i.e. early childhood, elementary, secondary, or special) or a content/subject-area endorsement (i.e. middle school language arts, senior high school health education, or transitional bilingual educator).  An ESL or Bilingual Education Endorsement is only applicable to grade levels and age groups specified by the teacher’s ISBE Professional Educator License.

What is the English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement and what can I do with it?

The ESL Endorsement supplements teacher licensure by allowing a licensed teacher (or a student in the process of achieving licensure) to teach English language learners.

What coursework do I need in order to complete the ESL Endorsement?

Students must complete a series of 5 classes (18 to 20 hours, depending on your level of study at UIC) related to ESL and bilingual education methods and theory along with 30 hours of in-classroom practicum per class.

What is the Bilingual Education Endorsement and what can I do with it?

The Bilingual Education Endorsement supplements teacher licensure by allowing a licensed teacher (or a teacher in the process of achieving licensure) to teach English language learners in bilingual education programs. The Bilingual Endorsement requires fluency in a language other than English and an additional Target Language Proficiency test administered by the state must be passed in order to achieve this endorsement. All individuals who receive a Bilingual Endorsement have already completed the necessary requirements to attain the ESL Endorsement and will receive this as well.

What coursework do I need in order to complete the Bilingual Education Endorsement?

Students must complete a series of 5 classes (18 to 20 hours, depending on your level of study at UIC) related to ESL and bilingual education methods and theory along with 30 hours of in-classroom practicum per class. An additional test administered by the state must be completed in order to achieve this endorsement.

If I am a teacher of English language learners, can I apply my classroom work towards the required practicum hours?

Yes.

I am already a licensed teacher but would like to pursue the ESL and/or bilingual endorsement through a master’s degree. Which should I pursue?

There are several master’s degree options depending on your area of teaching/specialization. The MEd programs in Early Childhood Education, Language, Literacies and Learning (LLL), Educational Studies, Science Education, and Special Education all allow you to take the required coursework for the endorsement to your PEL.

Can I obtain an endorsement if I’m not presently enrolled in a degree program at the College of Education?

  1. You do not need to be enrolled in any University Program.  This program can supplement your existing education and training. These courses can be taken through the UIC Extended Campus Office.
  2. Non-degree applicants can enroll in the five courses required for these Endorsements (applicants must meet the non-degree application deadlines for these courses).