Frequently Asked Questions for the TESL Graduate Programs



I’m already certified to teach. How can I become certified to teach ESL?

If you are already certified to teach any subject in North Carolina and you want to teach ESL, all you have to do is take and pass the Praxis II ESOL. If you want to add any subject area to your current certification, you just have to pass the Praxis II for that area.

However, it can be more difficult to get a job as an ESL teacher if you do not take any coursework.

If I’m already certified and don’t want another degree, what courses do I need to add on ESL?

UNCW has an ESL Add-on Licensure program. It consists of 6 courses that can be completed in one year. The ESL add-on program is a distance education program that can be completed in a completely online format.

I’m already certified but I want to get my master’s degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language)?

You should apply for the Master’s of Education (M.Ed) degree. This degree is 33 credit hours and includes all the courses required in the ESL add-on. The M.Ed program is a distance education program that can be completed in a completely online format.

I’m not certified to teacher anything, but I want to be. What should I do?

You should apply to our Master’s of Arts in Teaching (MAT). The MAT is a 33 credit hour program with a student teaching component. In order to be certified to teach in North Carolina, you have to complete 640 hours of field experience including a significant student teaching component. The MAT program is a distance education program that can be completed in a completely online format.

What do you mean by Distance Education?

All of our courses are offered in an online format, so you never have to physically come to Wilmington. However, there are several courses that have required meeting times. In these classes, you would be required to be in front of your computer at a certain time on a certain day per week. Most courses have their synchronous meetings in the evening.

How much will this costs?

Tuition and fees tend to change frequently. Generally speaking, our distance/extension education programs are cheaper than on-campus courses. For more specific information, please see this website, Remember to check tuition and fees for Extension Programs.

How long will it take me to finish?

This would depend on your own schedule. The ESL Add-On would take one full year (fall-spring-summer) to finish since we offer two classes per semester. The 33 credit hour master’s degrees take longer and are more dependent on student schedule. Generally full time students take 2-3 courses per semester.

If I work full time can I get my teacher’s license?

The state of North Carolina requires preservice teachers to complete 16 weeks of student teaching (640 hours). You can complete this requirement part time, but you must be able to spend at least 4 hours a day in schools for at least 10 weeks.

Are there any financial aid or assistantships available?

If you are a current teacher taking the M.Ed. program, there are two required field experiences. One occurs at the beginning of the semester (EDN 511) and is 10 hours. The other occurs in the methods class (EDN 517) and is 30 hours. If you are teaching in a class with English learners, you may complete these hours in your own classroom. If you do not have English learners in your class, you must go to another classroom.

If you are in the MAT program and want to get your initial teacher license in ESL, you must complete the field experiences listed above and a student teaching semester (640 hours mentioned above).

If you are outside our Professional Development System (, we will work with you to arrange field placements.