This Master’s Degree in ESL Helps Teachers Earn a Degree and ELL or ESL Endorsement
Are you passionate about helping diverse students develop speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills in English as an additional language? Are you eager to support the academic achievement of English language learners? If you're already a licensed teacher and are ready to enhance your offering and meaningfully impact the lives of students, a master's degree in English Language Learning could be the perfect fit for you. A master's in ESL can be instrumental in helping you connect with different students, become a better educator, and change your classroom and community for the better. ELL and ESL endorsement gives you knowledge and credentials to enhance classroom learning for different students, making you a teacher who can make a difference.
This ESL master's programs is a direct path to an ELL or ESL certification, preparing you to make a difference for individual students, diverse classrooms, and entire communities. You'll graduate from this ESL master's program with the content knowledge, teaching skills, cultural background, and field experience you'll need to become a valuable educator. WGU’s M.A. in ELL is nationally recognized by the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association.
* This ESL master's degree online can lead to an endorsement in ELL or ESL, but only in those states that have such endorsements. The specific grade levels you will be eligible to teach depend on your state’s licenses and endorsements.
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COURSES & COMPETENCIES
Curriculum that ensures you’ve mastered the things ELL students need you to know.
WGU's online M.A. in English Language Learning degree program is an affordable, flexible path for current teachers who want to add an ELL or ESL certification or endorsement to their license (in states that have such an endorsement).
This program is made up of the following courses, which you will typically complete one at a time as you make your way through your program, working with your Program Mentor each term to build your personalized Degree Plan. You’ll work through each course as quickly as you can study and learn the material. As soon as you’re ready, you’ll pass the assessment, complete the course, and move on. This means that you can finish as many courses as you're able in a term at no additional cost.
WGU’s M.A. in English Language Learning (ELL) online program was designed (and is regularly updated) with input from the experts on our Education Program Council. These respected authorities know exactly what it takes for a graduate to succeed at teaching English language learners who range in age from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Teacher Work Sample: The online M.A. in English Language Learning (PreK–12) degree program requires the successful completion of a teacher work sample. The work sample is a written project containing a comprehensive, original, lesson plan/unit designed to meet an identified educational need.
Focuses on the nature and role of culture and the importance of cultural groups and cultural identity.
Language Production, Theory and Acquisition focuses on describing and understanding language and the development of language. It includes the study of acquisition theory, error correction strategies, and applied phonology.
Theories of Second Language Learning Acquisition and Grammar covers content material in applied linguistics, including morphology, syntax, semantics, and grammar. Students will explore the role of dialect in the classroom, the connections between language and culture, and the theories of first and second language acquisition.
Planning, Implementing, Managing Instruction focuses on a variety of philosophies and grade levels of English Language Learner (ELL) instruction. It includes the study of ELL listening and speaking, ELL reading and writing, specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE), and specific issues for various grade level instruction.
Assessment Theory and Practice focuses on issues central to assessment in the ELL environment, including high-stakes testing, standardized tests, placement and exit assessment, formative and summative assessments, and making adaptations in assessments to meet the needs of ELL students.
The Professional Role of the ELL Teacher focuses on issues of professionalism for the English Language Learning teacher and leader. This includes program development, ethics, engagement in professional organizations, serving as a resource, and ELL advocacy.
Field Experience for ELL is the field experience component of the English Language Learning program. In this experience, students are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours of video observations for both elementary and secondary levels. Additionally, a supervised teaching experience that is face-to-face with English language learners (ELL) according to the minimum time requirements of the student's state is required. The purpose of this course is to assess the ability of students, including their engagement in field experience activities, ability to reflect on and then plan standards-based instruction in ELL, and their ability to locate and effectively use resources for teaching ELL to meet the needs of their individual learners.
Subject Specific Pedagogy: ELL integrates aspects of pedagogy, assessment, and professionalism in English Language Learning (ELL). A student develops and assesses aspects of language curriculum development including second language instruction, methods of second language assessment, and legal policy issues.
The Research Questions and Literature Reviews course focuses on how to conduct a thorough literature review that addresses and identifies important educational research topics, problems, and questions, and helps determine the appropriate kind of research and data needed to answer one's research questions and hypotheses. Research Foundations is a prerequisite for this course.
The Research Foundations course focuses on the essential concepts in educational research, including quantitative, qualitative, mixed, and action research. This course also teaches students concepts about measurement and assessment, as well as strategies for obtaining warranted research results.
The Teacher Work Sample is a culmination of the wide variety of skills learned during your time in the Teachers College at WGU. In order to be a competent and independent classroom teacher, you will showcase a collection of your content, planning, instructional, and reflective skills in this professional assessment.
Program consists of 11 courses
At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff.
Special requirements for this program
In addition to your online courses, you are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours of video observations at both the elementary and secondary levels. Additionally, a supervised face-to-face teaching experience with English language learners is required. (Minimum time requirements vary by state.) This experience allows for assessment of your reflection, planning, and research abilities in relation to meeting the needs of your individual students.
You Aren't On Your Own
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Flexibility You Need
Students choose WGU for their online degree program because of its flexibility. Whether you already have a full-time job, have responsibilities as a parent, or just have a busy schedule, WGU can work for you.
Strong Alumni Network
When you enroll in the ESL master's degree program at WGU, you join an impressive network of education professionals. Over 13,000 students graduated from the Teachers College in 2021 alone, taking their skills and impacting the educational system all around the United States.
One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.
A Master's Degree Is Within Reach
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Dedicate Your Teaching Career to Breaking Down Barriers: Specialize in ELL
A nationwide shortage of ESL/ELL teachers has created a demand for educators with the knowledge and training to help students for whom English is not their first or native language. WGU's M.A. English Language Learning (PreK–12) degree program is specifically designed to prepare you to teach English language learners. (The specific endorsements you earn and grade levels you will be eligible to teach depend on your state.).
Some 5 million American students speak a language other than English in their homes. For these students, the language barriers they face can stand in the way of their ability to learn and succeed in the classroom—but they don’t have to. You can make a difference in the lives of these students, helping them learn and communicate effectively. This ESL masters degree online will prepare you to teach effectively in ELL or ESL settings, helping you connect to diverse learners and enabling you to rise as a leader in your school and community.
Return on Your Investment
WGU Alumni Teach in Schools Across the Country
Graduates of WGU's online Teachers College have found meaningful, rewarding education careers at:
- Inclusionary K–12 classrooms
- Middle/junior high schools
- High schools
- Private and charter schools
Impressive Class of Graduates
Graduates of the WGU Teachers College include recipients of many professional honors, including:
- Gates Millennium Scholars
- Intel Grant for Mathematics and Technology
- Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award
- Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award
- Association of Public Charter Schools Educator of the Year Award
Focused on Equity and Accessibility
The WGU Teachers College is in the top 1% for granting degrees for Black and Hispanic/Latinx educators at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. It is second in the nation for combined graduate and undergraduate degrees and credentials for students of color, according to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Master's Degree in ESL/ELL Admission Requirements
If you enroll in a program that also includes a special endorsement, (such as the M.A. English Language Learning, PreK–12) and you plan to eventually apply for the endorsement, the following is required of you:
- A copy of a valid teaching license.
- Official transcripts that demonstrate you have earned a bachelor’s degree from a recognized accredited university.
An Enrollment Counselor will instruct you as to when and how to submit your teaching license prior to starting your program. You do not need to submit a copy of your license if you are not seeking the endorsement.
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More About the M.A. in English Language Learning
- More About This Degree
- More About Paying for School
For many current teachers, a master's degree in ESL or ELL can be a great way to enhance your abilities as an educator. Many ESL and ELL endorsed teachers are able to make more money, take unique classes, and have increased security in their school and district.
There are many career opportunities for those with a master's degree in ESL or ELL, including:
- ESL instructor
- ESL program director
- Academic advisor
- Textbook or curriculum creator
For teachers who want to enhance their license, move into a unique education position, or take on additional classes which can increase job security and pay, an ESL license is a great way to go. An ESL license can help teachers make more money, be prepared to take on additional classes that increases their job security, or move into a unique education career path focused on helping diverse learners.
If you want to become an ESL or ELL licensed teacher, you'll need a degree program that offers that licensure. Most licensure programs for ELL and ESL are in addition to your current license, so you'll need a bachelor's degree to prepare you to teach elementary or secondary grades, and then an ELL and ESL endorsement as well. WGU offers a master's degree in ESL and ELL endorsement that prepares licensed teachers for this additional credential.
Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:
- How to apply
- Eligibility requirements
- Examples of scholarships
- What happens after you apply
- Other financial aid options
WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at other schools.
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