ESL Program Specialist Certification

About the ESL Program Specialist Certification Program

The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Specialist Certification program provides quality ESL training and professional development for educational professionals. It is imperative that educators at all levels receive professional development opportunities that assist in assessing the EL’s level of language acquisition, understanding individual’s needs, developing individualized instruction, and providing support through acculturation into a new environment. By providing these professional development opportunities to educators, IU1 can assist educators in helping EL students reach their true potential.

For additional information regarding the use of the Program Specialist certification, please click here.

For additional information regarding the ESL Program please see our FAQ page, please click here.

Dates for the IU1 ESL Program Specialist Certification Cohorts

The following are dates when future cohorts will be starting the ESL Program Specialist Certification:

  • Cohort 32 will begin December 4, 2023
  • Cohort 33 will begin March 11, 2024

Additional cohort start dates will be added as needed, so please continue to check back for updates.


The ESL Certification Program at Intermediate Unit 1 consists of a series of six, three-credit courses which lead to the Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist Certification. These courses are written with graduate-level rigor, which will prove to be challenging, yet rewarding, for participants. The cost per course is $340.

Note: All courses are offered online and require 10 hours of face-to-face field experience in an ESL classroom per course.


View the Course Description page by clicking here.

Field-based Component

Each ESL course in the program includes a field-based component of 10 hours (ESL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) totaling 60 hours. The field experience is aligned with the course competencies. There will be culminating final teaching assignments.

Criteria for Admission

Applicant should have a valid Pennsylvania teacher certificate and undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university. Foreign applicants must demonstrate appropriate English proficiency by a mid-high score on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test. See the application for details.

Please refer to the Admissions section of the Frequently Asked Questions for additional details.

Click here to open the ESL Certification Application (PDF Document)

Exit Criteria

The following exit criteria pertains to the IU1 ESL Program Specialist add-on certification program at the post-bachelor’s degree level:

  • an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  • successful completion of all six ESL Program Specialist courses;
  • successful completion of 10 hours of field experience per ESL Specialist course under a certified ESL teacher;
  • successful completion of evaluations for all six ESL Program Specialist courses;

Combining Courses Prior to 2013 with New ESL Certification Courses

The previously offered ESL certificate, which was available through December 2012, was 12 credits. The new ESL certificate was approved in 2013 and is an 18 credit program that includes a practicum of 60 hours. If you have completed some ESL courses through 2012 and want to complete the ESL certification, we will need to evaluate your completed course work. An individualized counseling session will be required by making an appointment with ESL Curriculum Specialist. Feel free to call at 724-938-3241 ext. 212 or 268.

For More Information

For more information on the ESL Program Specialist Certification program, please contact:

Ronald Gallagher
Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction
724-938-3241 ext. 230