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Teaching English as a Second Language Clinical Residency, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Your path to ESL licensure
  • K - 12

    Earn a License to Teach ESL in Grades K-12

  • 18

    Credit Hours

  • 100%


program completion feature
program completion feature


Dedicated faculty with expertise in teaching English language learners

Flexible online format designed to accommodate working professionals

An opportunity to learn the cultural and linguistic needs of ESL students

Applied learning opportunities

TESL Residency Licensure Program Overview
About Watson’s TESL Program - Learn more about Watson’s undergraduate and graduate programs in Teaching English as a Second Language.


Residency Licensure is an alternative pathway to teaching that allows qualified individuals to begin teaching while completing North Carolina licensure requirements. Residency licensure replaces the lateral entry pathway, which was discontinued by the State Board of Education as of June 30, 2019.

Applicants for the Residency Licensure program at UNCW’s Watson College of Education must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The applicant must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7, 24 hours in the content area they are teaching, and a passing score on the Praxis II ESOL.

Individuals hired to teach without a North Carolina teaching license must affiliate with an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) before the employing school system can apply for the new teacher’s Residency License. The Residency License is good for one year and can be renewed twice. This enables candidates to teach for up to three years while completing an EPP course of study needed to attain a clear teacher license.

An Educator Preparation Program (EPP) is a four-year university, college or organization that prepares, trains and recommends students for teacher licensure. UNCW’s Watson College of Education is a North Carolina approved Educator Preparation Program.

UNCW is currently accepting applications.

This program can be completed in approximately 18 months, depending on how many courses the applicant is comfortable taking in each semester. These are two sample programs of study.

Two Courses Per Semester

  • First Fall Semester TSL 511 and TSL 516
  • First Spring Semester TSL 517 and TSL 537
  • First Summer TSL 518
  • Second Fall Semester EDN 590

One Course Per Semester

  • First Fall Semester TSL 511
  • First Spring Semester TSL 537
  • First Summer TSL 518
  • Second Fall Semester TSL 516
  • Second Spring Semester TSL 537 and EDN 590

In-state distance education fees apply to this program. Tuition and fees can be found at this website.

Yes. UNCW has an application fee of $80. One state requirement is to complete the edTPA portfolio process at the end of the program. The edTPA application fee is $300. If you are outside our UNCW Professional Development network of districts, there is an additional $1000 fee to cover supervision expenses.

No. The program is not eligible for financial aid because Residency Licensure is not a degree program. (A post-baccalaureate program leads to licensure by the state.)

The residency license requires the acknowledgement of employment with a Local Education Agency (LEA) and enrollment in an EPP.

  1. The LEA fills out a residency license form verifying your employment, and sends the form to the EPP (i.e., the Watson College).
  2. The Watson College verifies enrollment in WCE’s Residency Licensure program and returns the document to the LEA.
  3. The LEA sends the form to the licensure department at NCDPI for processing. Once a Residency License is issued, it is good for one year and may be renewed twice.
  4. The teacher completes program coursework and submits an edTPA portfolio.
  5. After successful completion of the program, the EPP will recommend the teacher for a North Carolina Professional License.