TESOL & Bilingual Education Program Pathways


Rhode Island College’s TESOL Program is both nationally and RIDE-accredited and actively works to address the statewide shortage of certified teachers by providing in-service teachers with theoretical and pedagogical development to support Multilingual Learners (MLL)/emergent bilingual students. 

What Our TESOL Program Offers

The program offers ESOL and Bilingual Education certification pathways, an MLL endorsement pathway, an M.Ed in TESOL, and an M.Ed in TESOL with a Bilingual Education concentration. We see this as essential work in ensuring that professionals that serve MLLs/emergent bilinguals understand, design and implement research-based instructional strategies that are grounded in an asset-based perspective of bilingual communities. 

FAQs on TESOL & Bilingual Education Programs

Educators earning the MLL endorsement will better understand the process of second language acquisition and design effective instruction for English language development strategies across grade levels and content areas. Educators earning the ESOL certification will have comprehensive knowledge of sociocultural, theoretical, and pedagogical practices and are able to serve MLL students at all levels of English language proficiency.

The MLL is an appropriate fit for all teachers who hold a valid teaching certificate and who work in general education classrooms across all grade levels and content areas.

The pathway to an MLL endorsement is a two-course sequence of TESL 401 followed by TESL 402 at the undergraduate level or TESL 501 followed by TESL 502 at the graduate level.

TESL 401/501: Introduction to teaching emergent bilinguals (4 credits)
Students learn methods and techniques for supporting Emergent Bilingual students in regular education classrooms. Students experience observation and practice through early clinical preparation. Concurrent enrollment in a practicum is recommended.

TESL 402/502: Applications of Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
Students examine theories and research relating to second-language acquisition, which are examined from a pedagogical perspective. Emphasis is on variables affecting language learning and language teaching.

The MLL endorsement immediately provides in-service general education teachers with a working theoretical knowledge of second language acquisition which they can operationalize into inclusive and contextualized pedagogical practices. Rhode Island College’s MLL Endorsement pathway focuses on developing teachers who can support English language acquisition and sustain multilingualism.

The MLL endorsement is available to both graduate and undergraduate students. As long as you have taken a general methods course you are welcome to register for the class. If you are not currently a student at RIC, you can register as a non-degree student.

Registration information can be found here. Click the link and scroll down to Non-Degree Student Registration and follow the instructions.

Applications are completed online via this link: https://www.applyweb.com/ricg/. We accept applications by November 1 in the fall semester and March 1 in the Spring semester, but teachers can also begin by taking up to two classes before officially matriculating into the program. 

The admissions requirements for the CGS and M.Ed. include 3 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, transcripts, a resume, and an admissions form. Note that the GRE/MAT is no longer required for any of our programs. Nor is a performance evaluation. Note for Bilingual Education candidates: Because the Bilingual Education Concentration is housed under TESOL programs, you should apply to TESOL. Proficiency in a language other than English is required for admission to the Bilingual Education concentration.

The MLL endorsement is 7 credits, while ESOL certification is 21 credits.  Please see RIC’s website for current per-credit tuition rates.

Courses in the two-course endorsement sequence will be offered fall, spring, and summer.


Graduate Study in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages & Bilingual Education


TESOL Pathways to MLL Endorsement

We have recently designed a RIDE-approved MLL Endorsement pathway for pre and in-service teachers, and it is available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This endorsement includes two courses: TESL 401 and TESL 402, which were intentionally designed to blend elements of second language acquisition theory from TESL 539 and pedagogical strategies from TESL 548. Candidates who successfully complete TESL 401 and TESL 402 can then shorten the graduate-level pathway to full certification because they will have met the requirements of TESL 539 and TESL 548.


Diagram of the TESOL Pathway to MLL Endorsement

M.Ed. or CGS in TESOL

The Certificate of Graduate Study (C.G.S.), which is a seven-course sequence, and the M.Ed. in TESOL, which is a ten-course sequence with a Comprehensive Assessment Portfolio, both lead to ESOL Certification in RI. 
In-service teachers (across grade levels and content areas) are encouraged to pursue ESOL certification, which has an in-depth focus on equity-based language development theory and practice. Courses for ESOL Certification will prepare teachers to work with students across all levels of English proficiency and to more comprehensively consider instructional design, delivery, and assessment for multilingual learners. 


Diagram of the ESOL Certification Pathway

M.Ed. or CGS in Bilingual/Dual Language Certification

If you are bilingual in a language spoken in Rhode Island and/ or used in Bilingual Education programs in Rhode Island, you could be a perfect candidate for Bilingual Education Certification! 
RIC’s TESOL program offers pathways to both ESOL and Bilingual/Dual Language Certification. While ESOL certification prepares teacher candidates to work in ESOL settings, including push-in, pull-out, collaborative teaching, and self-contained ESOL models (If acting as the classroom teacher of record, a base certification in that area is needed as well.),  


Diagram of Bilingual/Dual Language Certification Pathway

TESOL Pathways to ESOL Specialist/Consultant Certification

ESOL-certified teachers that hold a Master’s degree and at least three years’ experience working with emergent bilingual learners can apply to enroll in TESL 600 ESL Program Supervision, which is the course required to apply for RIDE’s ESOL Specialist/Consultant Certification. TESL 600 is an intensive course which requires candidates complete a 300-hour field experience. To apply to take this course, please email your resume to the program directors: Dr. Sarah Hesson at shesson@ric.edu or the co-director, Dr. Alia Hadid at ahadid@ric.edu.

M.Ed. in Urban Multicultural Special Education

The M.Ed. in Urban Multicultural Special Education offers an MLL endorsement, ESL certification and M.Ed. in Special Education. Program participants will explore the unique needs of MLLs from diverse background and apply sound theory-, research-, and evidence-based practices in teaching MLLs.

Learn more about MLL Endorsement and ESL Certification program for Special Education Teachers through Urban Multicultural Special Education M.Ed. Program.

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Department of Educational Studies

In the Department of Educational Studies, we teach you how children grow and develop and help you to use that knowledge to create learning environments and experiences that will benefit children for life.

Sarah Hesson

Dr. Sarah Hesson

Associate Professor

Alia Hadid

Alia Hadid

Assistant Professor