The certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is intended for any UM-Flint student or community member hoping to teach English abroad. The program complements any major or can be taken as a stand-alone certificate. In just 15-credits, you can be ready to travel the world!

The UM-Flint TESOL Certificate includes the following: 


15 university credits of instruction (equal to approximately 675 contact hours):
  • The structures and building blocks of languages, focusing on the structure of English
  • Sociolinguistics, language variation, and cross-cultural communication 
  • Language acquisition theories and pedagogies
  • TESOL curriculum, assessments, and materials development
  • Participation in professional development and organizations
  • Completion of a teaching portfolio
Between 15-30 contact hours with English learners in teaching practicum:
  • Precise number of contact hours with English learners depends on practicum (contact the director for more information)
  • Practicum options may include K-12, international college students, online teaching, adult education, English as a second or foreign language, and/or English for specific purposes
  • Experience developing materials, lesson plans, and assessments
  • Practice conducting observations and being observed



CORE COURSES                                                                                  
  • ENG/LIN200 Introduction to Linguistics
    3 credits (Offered every Fall/Winter)
  • ENG/LIN244 The Structure of English
    3 credits (Offered every Fall/Winter)
  • TEL 410 TESOL Seminar & Practicum
    6 credits (Offered every other Fall)
Plus One of the following:
  • TEL 313 Second Language Acquisition
    3 credits (Offered every other year)
  • TEL 315 Testing and Assessment
    3 credits (Offering TBD)
  • EDR 341 Teaching in the Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Classroom
    3 credits (Offered every Fall/Winter)

This course sequence provides UM-Flint TESOL students knowledge about human language (LIN 200), English grammar (LIN 244), and a teaching foundation (TEL 410). The required elective allows students to choose a path most relevant to their individual goals (e.g., teaching children or teaching adults). The certificate includes practical teaching experiences through the final seminar and practicum course, which will provide students with the experience necessary to be highly competitive on the job market.


I earned my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification to teach English abroad at UM-Flint, a golden ticket to – literally – a world of opportunities. As an English-Linguistics major who happened to be moving abroad in her senior year, I was very fortunate to be at UM-Flint during the conception of the TESOL program. Studying my beloved English language and then studying how to teach it to others has fed a deep passion within me and left me with an everlasting appreciation for human language and its power. As a TESOL student, I had the chance to teach my own class of ESL students, develop my own course material, tutor ESL students one-on-one, and attend and present at the Michigan TESOL Conference. Never did I dream of becoming a teacher, but the expertly designed curriculum of the TESOL program has helped me develop into a language teacher ready to teach English anywhere in the world

- Faiha Osman
  2017 B.A. English (Linguistics) and B.S. Applied Psychology

I’ve always seen myself living and working abroad, but it was the TESOL Certification program and [Dr. Feuerherm's] mentorship which gave that dream a real shape. Over the course of the summer, in my women’s and gender studies class, there was a section in our last bit of reading which discussed how we are rarely, as students, told to think deeply about what we want the world to look like—we are rarely asked to think deeply about our values and beliefs, to reflect. Professor Feuerherm asked us these questions frequently which is why I think she stands out to me; they are questions I want to ask my students one day

- Morgan Troxell
  Junior, English major with a specialization in literature; minor in Communication Studies

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to go abroad and teach. I found it by chance and it changed all my plans, for the better. You learn so many essential things for teaching language, but also learning the language and culture of the students you will teach. We had the chance to meet so many people with such diverse backgrounds that were eager to help us reach our goals. The amount of love and support I felt at the ELP (English Language Program) was unmatched in my time at UM-Flint and I now have the possibly of going to places I only dreamed of before.

- Rasha Mohammed
   2017 TESOL graduate


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I consider getting a TESOL Certificate?
Although not all of the English teaching positions abroad require a TESOL certificate, the most desirable positions give preference to those with a certificate and experience. Because the UM-Flint TESOL Certificate program includes a practicum where you will get hands-on experience teaching, you will be eligible for higher salaries and better benefits. Furthermore, you will be able to teach English abroad with confidence, preparation, resources, and membership to a community of ESL teachers.  

Q: Why should I consider getting the TESOL Certificate at UM-Flint?
By studying here, you will have the academic and professional support of UM-Flint’s Student Success Center, Library, Career Center, and all other resources to help you be successful. You will also gain experience teaching English through the program’s practicum.

Q: How long will it take to complete the UM-Flint TESOL Certificate? 
The UM-Flint TESOL Certificate courses build upon each other, so the certificate will take 2-3 semesters to complete. However, the program can be completed at the same time as another degree and can also be spaced out over a longer period of time. This flexibility is ideal for students and professionals thinking about pursuing the TESOL Certificate on a part-time basis.

Q: Do I need to speak another language to teach English abroad?
Not necessarily. The only requirement is that you must speak English fluently.  That being said, it’s a good idea to learn the language spoken where you will be teaching. You don’t need to know more than a few phrases before you arrive, but while you are living abroad, you should learn more so that you can engage more fully in your new community. This is good practice not only because of the many benefits of bilingualism, but also because it will help you connect with your students through shared experiences of language learning.

Q: Can I teach abroad if I have a family?
It is possible for spouses and dependents to travel abroad with you to teach. In many countries, you can hire a nanny for young children, while older children can be enrolled in school. Young children will learn the local language very quickly, while older children may need more time and instruction to learn the language. Be sure to speak with your employer about housing, employment, and educational options for your family. Also, some countries and programs have higher salaries with a lower cost of living, such as South Korea and China, making it easier to afford to live abroad with your family.

Q: Does the TESOL Certificate expire?
The certificate does not expire. Your employer may require that you continue your learning through professional development, participating in regional and international conferences, or attending special trainings and workshops.

Q: Can I teach in the US with this TESOL Certificate?
You cannot teach in public schools with this certificate. To teach in public schools, each state requires their teachers to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and pass state-required tests. Most TESOL positions in the US require teaching credentials with an ESL endorsement (for K-12) or a Master’s in TESOL (for colleges/universities). There are some private teaching or tutoring positions which only require a college degree and TESOL experience/certificate, but these tend to be part-time positions.

Q: Is the UM-Flint TESOL Certificate offered online?
Not at this time. However, some of the classes are offered online occasionally (LIN200 Intro to Linguistics and LIN244 Structure of English).

Q: Where can I find additional resources and information about TESOL?
Here are some useful links: 

TESOL international Assoc. Conferences, publications, books, reviews, resources www.tesol.org
Michigan TESOL Publications, local chapter newsletter and conferences, job board www.mitesol.org
Center for Applied Linguistics Professional development and research www.CAL.org
Dave's ESL Café International job board, resources for teachers and students www.eslcafe.com
AC Online Information on taking a gap year click here
AC Online Information on volunteering and internships abroad click here