Professional TESOL Certificate


Global and domestic demand has never been higher for qualified English language teachers and with demand comes competition for the best opportunities.

The Professional TESOL Certificate (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) from the University of Utah provides the knowledge, practical experience and authoritative credential to help you successfully pursue a variety of rewarding teaching positions.

Whether you are seeking a long-term career or a life-changing cultural experience, we encourage you to consider the Professional TESOL Certificate as your gateway to a universe of teaching opportunities.

The Professional TESOL Certificate is offered in collaboration with the Department of Linguistics in the College of Humanities. These collaborative noncredit certificates utilize existing for-credit classes and as such, have unique application requirements which are described in the information below.

This noncredit Professional TESOL Certificate prepares students to teach English to learners in the United States or abroad. This is a basic level program.

Upcoming Classes

Class Title Next Start Date
Study Of Language: Introduction To 05/16/2022
Study Of Language: Introduction To Online, Starting: 08/22/2022
English Grammar: Introduction To 05/16/2022
English Grammar: Introduction To Online, Starting: 08/22/2022
Cross-Cultural Communication Online, Starting: 08/22/2022
Cross-Cultural Communication 05/16/2022
L2 Methodology Online, Starting: 08/22/2022
L2 Methodology 05/16/2022
Practicum: Capstone Online, Starting: 08/22/2022
Practicum: Capstone 05/16/2022
World Englishes Online, Starting: 08/22/2022
World Englishes 05/16/2022

Who Should Attend

The Professional TESOL Certificate is designed for individuals with a variety of professional and personal goals including:

  • Those who are new to teaching English as well as experienced English language teaching professionals who want to strengthen their skills
  • Native and non-native speaking teachers of English
  • Those wanting to teach English as part of international cultural experiences
  • Those with a desire to teach abroad in any context (K-12, college, private, tutoring)
  • Those wanting to work with immigrant and refugee populations in the United States through nonprofit agencies and private language schools

Certificate Program Outcomes

  • Keep up to date on the latest trends in language pedagogy.
  • Practice teaching English to learners in the US or abroad.
  • Adapt their instruction to the needs of their students, depending on their cultural backgrounds and needs as learners.
  • Apply strategies and teaching techniques from methodology, along with other language principles, to teaching in a second language environment.
  • Explore the rules of North American English grammar and some of the pitfalls students learning English might encounter.
  • Examine the theory and methods that make up second-language teaching, considering past approaches.
  • Reflect on peer teaching critiques and observations by experienced instructors.

Learn more about opportunities available to those with a TESOL credential at TESOL International Association.

What are career opportunities for TESOL professionals?

There are numerous websites with information about finding teaching opportunities. We've listed a few great resources below to get you started. The TESOL program staff is also available to answer questions and provide suggestions.


What are the differences between TESL, TEFL, and TESOL?

TESL refers to teaching English as a second language: programs in English-speaking countries for students whose first language is one other than English.
TEFL refers to teaching English as a foreign language: programs in countries where English is not the primary language and is not a lingua franca.
TESOL, which stands for teaching English to speakers of other languages, is a general name for the field of teaching that includes both TESL and TEFL.

Required Courses – there are 6 required courses. Courses meet with for-credit sections over a traditional 15 week, 3 credit format.

Format – online courses. The program is designed for working professionals in a convenient online format, allowing students to study when and where they want. Each course is held over one semester.

Program Start Options – fall, spring or summer semesters. Course availability varies each semester. Please check with the program advisor or the University of Utah course catalog to explore your individual program of study options.

Course Sequencing – there are recommended guidelines for course sequencing.

It is recommended that PEPEC 120 be taken early in the program of study.
It is recommended that PEPEC 581 L2 Methodology, be taken with or immediately following PEPEC 120.
It is recommended that PEPEC 583 Practicum, be taken as the final class in the certificate.
Students varying from the sequence should consult recommended programs-of-study and work with their academic advisor to determine options for taking courses.

Class Schedule – online courses are conveniently available to students at any time.

Average Time to Complete – the certificate can be completed in as little as 2 semesters. Students must complete the program within five years. There is no minimum or maximum number of credits a student must or can take per semester.

Prerequisites – proof of writing proficiency coursework is required for all noncredit certificate students. At the University of Utah, this is commonly satisfied by WRTG 2010 or EAS 1060 or an approved equivalent. This requirement is normally part of general education requirements for undergraduate students.
While it is recommended that students take this course in advance of the program, it can be completed as a co-requisite.

Will this certificate meet the state licensing requirements?

This certificate will not help toward meeting licensure requirements for a Utah state teaching license.

Will taking the online certificate courses impact my Visa status?

Participants who are in the US studying on a Visa, are advised to check the requirement of their Visa to determine if these online courses will impact their Visa status.

The online Professional TESOL Certificate is a noncredit 18-credit program with six required courses that are offered in a time frame comparable to a traditional semester schedule with fixed start and end dates. Courses meet with for-credit sections.

Required Courses

PEPEC 120 Introduction to the Study of Language

The Foundation Course is an introduction to the nature of human language from the perspective of modern linguistics. Focuses on sounds, words, and sentences through analysis of data from various languages. Additional topics may include: social and geographic variation, language change through time, first- and second-language acquisition, language and culture.

PEPEC 322 World Englishes

The purpose of this course is to investigate the spread of English as an international language: its historical development, socio-cultural diversity and linguistics variation. In addition to numerous readings on native and non-narrative varieties of English, which can be found throughout the world (e.g., Indian English, Singaporean English, Chicano English, etc.), topics related to educational linguistics within a World Englishes paradigm will also be addressed in order to better understand common pedagogical problems and concerns related to the English language teaching in international contexts.

PEPEC 351 Introduction to English Grammar

A descriptive overview of the forms and function of English grammar structures with guidance in standard usage.

PEPEC 360 Cross Cultural Communication

Brings together native and non-native speakers of English to explore the theory and practice of communication across languages and cultures.

PEPEC 581 L2 Methodology (practical experience)

An examination of approaches and methods in second-language teaching, as well as the theories of language and language acquisition on which they are based. Discussion and practice of current assessment procedures. Also a focus on educators' implicit theories of L2 learning and teaching. Includes critiqued peer teaching.

PEPEC 582 Practicum

Observation and teaching of L2 classes.

Two of the classes require obtaining practical experience in an outside teaching environment. Is there assistance available to find qualifying opportunities?


One of the biggest advantages of getting your TESOL certificate at the University of Utah is the one-on-one assistance available from our program staff. They have a strong local network with organizations that can provide meaningful practical experiences to match your goals and experiences.

NOTE: Effective Fall 2022, there will be a $15 price increase for all TESOL courses

Program Cost – Noncredit tuition for the full certificate is $3290 (the tuition rates listed includes the fall semester increase).

Tuition for individual classes is as follows:
PEPEC 120: TESOL Introduction to the Study of Language $515
PEPEC 322: World Englishes $515
PEPEC 350: Introduction to English Grammar $515
PEPEC 360: Cross Cultural Communication $515
PEPEC 581: L2 Methodology $615
PEPEC 582: Practicum $615

Tuition is due at the beginning of each course offering a convenient pay-as-you-go option. Textbooks are additional costs. Tuition listed above subject to change without advance notice.

Federal student financial aid is not available for noncredit certificates.

For information about tuition payment options visit Tuition Payment Options.

Why choose the University of Utah?

We understand that you have a choice when it comes to taking professional development courses and we work hard to earn your trust with each and every class!

By selecting the University of Utah, you’ll enjoy the following benefits whether you’re coming to us as someone new to the job market, a career changer, a seasoned professional or a lifelong learner.

Resume Power - benefit from the University of Utah reputation for credibility and quality. Choosing the University of Utah for your certificate program makes a clear statement about your commitment to excellence.

Instructor Excellence - learn from the same high-quality faculty that teach in our degree programs.

The Power of the U Network – students have access to a valuable University of Utah peer and faculty network.

Programs that Fit Your Schedule – most of our certificates offer convenient online or evening classes that offer a schedule that works around you. Go to class whenever and wherever you want.

How to register for an Academic Noncredit Certificate

  • These unique certificates are offered in collaboration with University of Utah colleges and academic departments and as such, have unique registration requirements.
  • Register for the certificate through the Professional Education website. There is no cost to register.
  • By registering, you are declaring your intention to complete the full certificate curriculum.
  • Once you’ve registered for your certificate, our staff will send you the link to a short supplementary registration information form for that is required by the departments. Please complete this form within 5 days of receipt.
  • Each certificate has unique application requirements for admission. Please see the "program details" information on each individual certificate webpage to find out the requirements for your certificate.
  • Academic noncredit certificates are not open to students admitted to the University of Utah as a matriculated (degree-seeking) or non-matriculated student.

The following information is required on the supplementary registration information form:

  • 1. Personal information such as your name, address, phone and email address
  • 2. Academic history: degree, degree institution, year
  • 3. University of Utah student history (if any)
  • 4. Short response: why are you interested in taking this certificate?
  • 5. Short response: Please use this space to tell us anything else about yourself that you would like to include in your application.

Please have all information available when you are ready to start the application. Once the application is started, there is no option to save and return. Uploading of documents for short-answer response is not available. Please be prepared to enter directly or paste from another document.

Once it’s verified that you meet all certificate requirements, you will be sent a new student information packet and instructions on how to register for your courses.

Deadlines and other important application information

  • Registrations are accepted on an ongoing basis. For planning purposes, please register at least one month prior to the start of the semester. Registrations received within 5 working days of the start of the semester may not be able to start the program on time.
  • All classes for Academic Noncredit Certificates start at the beginning of each semester unless otherwise noted.
  • Find information about the University of Utah academic calendar here.
  • Applicants can expect to receive information about their registration within 3 days of submission.
  • Applicants are asked not to register for courses prior to being admitted into the certificate program. Details about how to register for classes will be included in all new student information.
  • Students wishing to take courses individually and not as part of a certificate, do not need to submit a certificate registration and may register for classes through Academic Noncredit programs. Note that these classes cannot be applied towards a certificate at a later date. Some courses may not be offered for non-certificate seeking students.

Certificate Completion Requirements

  • Students will be required to fulfill the same expectations and requirements as matriculated students including exams, projects and participation.
  • Certificate students will receive an “S-Satisfactory” or “U-Unsatisfactory” assessment for each class. “S-Satisfactory” will indicate that the student has met the standards for at least a B-.
  • Students must receive an “S-Satisfactory" grade in all classes for successful completion.
  • A certificate is awarded upon satisfactory completion of all required courses.

How is my accomplishment recognized?

For students earning an “S-Satisfactory" grade, the completed certificate will appear on University of Utah official transcripts.

Students will also be awarded a University of Utah digital credential (badge) that can be shared on social media sites and used with other professional resources. Digital badges are embedded with metadata that validate the skills demonstrated and other requirements for earning the badge.

Digital Credentials / Badges

examples of badge graphicsexamples of badge graphicsFollow the link on the badge to the left to find out what metadata is behind the Yoga Teacher Training Certificate or Caring for the Aging Population Micro-certificate badge. This is an example of the type of information you’ll find behind all our academic noncredit certificates.

Find out more about Digital Badges at the University of Utah »

Are there exams? Am I graded?

Certificate classes are graded with a "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" option. For successful certificate completion, students must achieve a "satisfactory" grade in all classes.

Can I apply these classes to a degree at the University of Utah?

This certificate is noncredit and cannot be applied to any for-credit degree.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of credits a student may take in a semester?

There are no minimums or maximum number of credits restrictions for students. The certificate must be completed within five years.

Will I have flexibility in what classes I take and when?

Once admitted, students are responsible for enrolling in individual classes on their own through Continuing Education Academic Noncredit. Students may consult with the certificate program manager if they have questions about specific courses. (See contact us section)

Are these classes eligible for federal financial aid?

Students pursuing a certificate are considered "non-degree seeking," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid loan programs.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of credits a student may take in a semester?

There are no minimums or maximum number of credits restrictions for students. Students skipping one or more semesters are encouraged to communicate with their program advisor regarding completion plans.

What is the average weekly time commitment for each of the classes?

This noncredit class is "yoked" or partnered with a for-credit section. The for-credit section is three credits. For a typical three credit hour class, each student is expect to spend approximately six hours per week outside the classroom.

What are the online courses like?

The online courses in this certificate are flexible in that you don't have to attend online classes at a specific time. Our students use a combination of self-study and peer-to-peer interaction over an online learning network to facilitate instruction. You'll complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as exams and other activities designed to enhance learning outcomes, all at times that are most convenient to you.

Using chat, video conferencing, phone calls, email, social media, bulletin boards, and more, you'll stay connected with fellow students and faculty, building personal networks along the way.

Your courses are developed by faculty and instructional designers who understand the specific needs of learners in an online environment. Special consideration is given to advance planning and setting expectations in the online classroom, so each curriculum is outlined in a syllabus distributed at the start of the course. This document provides an overview of the course assignments, grading strategy, student and faculty expectations, and course materials, as well as an understanding of the course goals and learning outcomes.

Does it matter which course I take first or in what order I take the classes?

It might matter. See the individual program details for your specific certificate.

Professional Education / University of Utah

Online contact form

TESOL Certificate Program

Justin Nistler
Academic Advisor, Linguistics
University of Utah