The Framework for English as a Second Language Program Specialist K-12 Guidelines

Certification Requirements Per the PDE to become an ESL teacher in Pennsylvania

  1. Earn a Pennsylvania Level I or Level II Teaching Certificate

  2. Qualify to Add a Specialist ESL Certificate

  3. Apply to Add an ESL Teaching Certification

  4. Maintain Your ESL Teaching Certification

By the most recent count, Pennsylvania was home to more than 45,500 students whose native language was something other than English. This figure represents a nearly 115 percent increase in the number of English language learners (ELL) in the decade since the year 2000. ESL teachers play an important role in bridging the gap between a lack of English proficiency among these students and their academic performance, which will help ensure they are prepared for a successful future.

Pennsylvania schools are bound by law to provide ESL programs for students whose primary language is something other than English. As such, the Department of Education has tasked its Division of Certification Services with ensuring that all prospective ESL teachers are qualified and competent to teach students in this vital subject.