ESL Certification in Texas with School and Program Overviews

There are more than ten schools in Texas offering programs leading to ESL teacher certification. Read an overview of ten of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

In the state of Texas, prospective English as Second Language (ESL) teachers can pursue certification through specialized undergraduate programs, alternative licensure programs, standalone certificates and graduate programs with specialized instruction in ESL. Some programs combine ESL with bilingual education. ESL certification programs can be generalist or content area-specific and cover various grade groupings from early childhood through the 12th grade.

In order to become certified, individuals must take a Texas ESL teaching licensure examination.

Read on for more detailed profiles of each of the ten largest schools to offer programs leading to ESL certification in Texas.


Texas A & M University - College Station

The rural town of College Station is home to the main campus of Texas A&M University. Through the College of Education and Human Development and the Department of Educational Psychology, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in bilingual education. Program courses include topics such as family empowerment, dual language methodologies, biliteracy and instruction of Hispanic students. Much of the work is field-based, and students must complete a student teaching segment. Successful completion of this program qualifies graduates for certification in ESL, bilingual education and elementary education for grades early childhood through 4th grade (EC-4).

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies w/certification in bilingual education, elementary education, and EC-4 ESL
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,506 (in-state); $25,035 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Small city

Texas State University - San Marcos

This university, located south of Austin in the town of San Marcos, opened in 1903 as a teacher's college. Students can pursue a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with EC-6 (EC-6th grade) ESL generalist certification. Course topics include literacy assessment, human development, foundations of ESL and bilingual teaching. Students complete the student teaching segment after all coursework has been completed.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies - EC-6 bilingual generalist
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,732 (in-state); $16,858 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Distant town

Texas Tech University

The largest university in Western Texas, Texas Tech University is located in the city of Lubbock. The College of Education offers a BS in Multidisciplinary Studies with a specialization in ESL designed for EC-6 certification. Undergraduate coursework covers language and literacy acquisition as well as dual language cognitive development, and students undergo a student teaching segment. There is also a 5-class ESL supplemental certificate program that graduate or undergraduate students can take to prepare them for the Texas ESL certification exam.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies - bilingual education/ESL specialization,
    Supplemental ESL certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,517 (in-state); $15,941 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Midsize city

University of Houston - Downtown

The College of Public Service at this Houston school houses the Department of Urban Education, offering a Master of Arts in Teaching with an area of expertise in advanced ESL with certification in EC-12 (EC-12th grade). This 36-credit hour degree program is offered online.

  • Programs Offered: Master of Arts in Teaching w/EC-12 ESL certification
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,022 (in-state); $13,446 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Large city

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas in Denton offers a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with EC-6 ESL generalist certification. Students can also combine ESL certification with English language arts, math, science or social studies for grades 4-8 for the degree.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies w/various ESL certifications
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,357 (in-state); $16,781 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Midsize city

University of Texas at Arlington

Through the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Texas at Arlington, undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Second Language Acquisition leading to EC-6 generalist/ESL certification. Graduate students can pursue ESL certification through a 12-credit program that includes courses in literacy instruction in bilingual settings.

Students can also pursue an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction Literacy Studies with an ESL focus, an online program with courses covering multicultural literature, literacy assessment and language learning. Individuals with three years of classroom teaching experience can enroll in the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with ESL and master reading teacher endorsements. There is also a standalone, 4-class certificate in ESL for teachers that is offered online.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - EC-6 generalist/ESL,
    Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Literacy Studies: ESL focus,
    ESL certificate,
    M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction w/ESL and master reading teacher endorsements
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,878 (in-state); $17,302 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Large city

University of Texas at Brownsville

Located at the southernmost edge of the state, the University of Texas at Brownsville's College of Education offers a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with EC-6 ESL certification. In addition to a 48-unit general education curriculum, students take major coursework that addresses pedagogy and methods of teaching English, reading, math, social studies and other subjects to English language learners.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies w/EC-6 ESL certification
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,488 (in-state); $14,614 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Midsize city

University of Texas at El Paso

The College of Education at this El Paso UT campus offers a supplemental certificate in ESL for individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree. This program is offered through the school's alternative teacher certification program and is open to students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher who have passed the Texas Higher Education Assessment exam.

Graduate students can pursue an M.Ed. - Instructional Specialist degree with a concentration in bilingual education. This online program can be completed in two years and includes supplemental ESL coursework and prepares graduates to sit for the Texas ESL supplemental certification exam.

  • Programs Offered: Postbaccalaureate ESL certification,
    Master of Education - Instructional Specialist
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,214 (in-state); $17,814 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Large city

University of Texas - Pan American

Students who already have or are working on a standard teaching certificate can add an ESL supplement through a 12-credit hour program at UT Pan American in Edinburg. The curriculum comprises a series of four courses in language and culture, ESL and descriptive linguistics. There is also a directed internship in teaching ESL. For graduate students, there is a 36-credit hour Master's degree program in ESL that can be taken with a thesis or non-thesis option. Both options require a practicum.

  • Programs Offered: Supplemental ESL certificate,
    Master of Arts in ESL
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,165 (in-state); $13,589 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Small city

University of Texas at San Antonio

Undergraduate students at this San Antonio university can pursue a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with 4-8 ESL certification. This program focuses on the teaching of reading, social studies and language arts.

Graduate students can pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching ESL with courses in ethnographic research methods, cultural adaptation, advanced second language literacy and language in content area instruction. An internship or proof of previous relevant teaching experience is required.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies w/4-8 ESL certification,
    Master of Arts in Teaching ESL
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,389 (in-state); $15,813 (out-of-state)*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year public; Large city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting ESL Certification Programs Offered 2012-2013 Undergraduate Tuition & Fees
Texas A & M University - College Station 4-year public;
Small city
Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies w/certification in bilingual education, elementary education and EC-4 ESL $8,506 (in-state)*,
$25,035 (out-of-state)*
Texas State University - San Marcos 4-year public;
Distant town
Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies - EC-6 bilingual generalist $7,732 (in-state)*,
$16,858 (out-of-state)*
Texas Tech University 4-year public;
Midsize city
Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies - bilingual education/ESL specialization,
Supplemental ESL certificate
$7,517 (in-state)*,
$15,941 (out-of-state)*
University of Houston - Downtown 4-year public;
Large city
Master of Arts in Teaching w/EC-12 ESL certification $5,022 (in-state)*,
$13,446 (out-of-state)*
University of North Texas 4-year public;
Midsize city
Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies w/various ESL certifications $8,357 (in-state)*,
$16,781 (out-of-state)*
University of Texas at Arlington 4-year public;
Large city
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - EC-6 generalist/ESL,
Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Literacy Studies: ESL focus,
ESL certificate,
M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction w/ESL and master reading teacher endorsements
$8,878 (in-state)*,
$17,302 (out-of-state)*
University of Texas at Brownsville 4-year public;
Midsize city
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies w/EC-6 ESL certification $5,488 (in-state)*,
$14,614 (out-of-state)*
University of Texas at El Paso 4-year public;
Large city
Postbaccalaureate ESL certification,
Master of Education - Instructional Specialist
$7,214 (in-state)*,
$17,814 (out-of-state)*
University of Texas - Pan American 4-year public;
Small city
Supplemental ESL certificate,
Master of Arts in ESL
$5,165 (in-state)*,
$13,589 (out-of-state)*
University of Texas at San Antonio 4-year public;
Large city
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies w/4-8 ESL certification,
Master of Arts in Teaching ESL
$7,389 (in-state)*,
$15,813 (out-of-state)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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