Bilingual Teaching Certification and Certificate Program Information

Get information about bilingual teaching certificate programs and certification options. Learn about program prerequisites, commonly offered coursework and employment outlook data for teachers.

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Essential Information

Bilingual teaching certificate programs are available for elementary and secondary school teachers who want to teach classes to non-native English speakers in their primary language. These programs are designed to supplement initial teaching certification or training. Coursework consists of approximately 15 credit hours, some requiring field experiences in high school or elementary school classrooms. Teachers learn the psychological and cognitive aspects of language acquisition, as well as how to develop lesson plans and assess a students' reading and writing skills. In most programs, teachers must demonstrate writing and speaking proficiency via standardized testing or exit interviews in order to graduate.

Educational Prerequisites

Bilingual certificates are offered as post-baccalaureate programs by a college or university's graduate education department. In most cases, students must formally apply to a graduate program as a non-degree seeking student. Basic admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree that meets minimum GPA requirements and evidence of teacher certification. Some programs also require that entrants demonstrate proficiency in another language. Letters of recommendation from school administrators and an essay expressing the applicant's interest may also be required.

Program Coursework

In addition to becoming certified in bilingual education, students may be able to apply course credit towards a master's degree. At some schools, students with less than one year of teaching experience must complete a supervised practicum after taking the following coursework:

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Second language acquisition
  • Curriculum development
  • Assessment techniques

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

From 2010-2020, the employment of kindergarten, elementary, and postsecondary school teachers was projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) to grow by 17%, about average among all occupations. High school teachers, however, were expected to see job opportunities in their field grow by only 7% that decade, slower-than-average for all jobs. Teachers with bilingual certification may have better job prospects than single-language teachers due to the shortage of qualified applicants. In May 2012, teachers within elementary schools earned an average of $56,130 a year, according to the BLS. High school teachers' mean salary was reported as $57,770 during the same year. The salaries earned by postsecondary teachers, including college professors, vary widely according to the subject matter taught. Those teaching foreign languages and literature earned an average of $66,730 a year in May 2012, per the BLS.

Certification Information

Teachers receive certification in bilingual education through their state education departments. Although certification requirements vary from state to state, the application process typically requires teachers to submit a formal application, copies of their teaching certificate, documentation of student teaching experience, college transcripts, and passing test scores from proficiency examinations administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. This exam tests oral language skills and writing proficiency through an interview and standardized test.

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