About the Program

Program Details

APU offers the Certificate in TESOL Program in three distinct formats: on campus, online, and field-based. The on-campus program maintains an international focus with about half of the students coming from abroad to take classes on the Azusa campus. The field-based program is tailored to meet the needs of Christian professionals teaching abroad. Full-time teachers working outside the United States complete their degree by taking courses in an intensive, one-week format.

APU's TESOL programs blend compassionate Christian service with strong academic preparation and practical training in language teaching. Project-based coursework engages the student in a variety of practical tasks, allowing students to:

  • Formulate a working philosophy of language learning and teaching.
  • Teach English grammar and pronunciation.
  • Organize student interactions, activities, and tasks.
  • Understand the influence of social and cultural differences on language development.
  • Engage in practice-teaching experiences and student-teacher observation
  • Plan, implement, and assessstudent achievement.
  • Develop a teacher portfolio that demonstrates their competence in teaching English as a second language.

Learning in the Field

Field-based program candidates must be admitted to APU and have secured a teaching contract abroad, either on their own or through a sending agency such as English Language Institute/China (ELIC), Educational Services International (ESI) or Educational Resources and Referrals - China (ERRC).

Teachers demonstrate their competence through successful completion of field-related projects developed in their courses in lieu of writing a thesis or taking a comprehensive exam. Courses are offered in an "intensive" one-week format with additional reading and writing assignments completed over the next six months.

Service Opportunity

The growth of the use of the English language worldwide presents English teachers with unprecedented opportunities for intercultural service.

  • In the last 50 years, English has rapidly become a global language, particularly for international politics, business, transportation, science and technology, the media, and higher education.
  • Although English is the principal mother tongue in less than a dozen nations, it has significant or official status as a means of communication in more than 70 countries. Nearly a quarter of the world's population, more than 1.2 billion people, are already at least reasonably competent in English. This surpasses the spread of any other language in history.*
  • English is now taught as a foreign language in more than 100 countries, making it the most widely taught foreign language in the world. In most of these countries, it is becoming the primary foreign language in the educational system.* Consequently, almost every nation in the world is demanding competent English teachers to help develop their professional labor force.
  • Those who hold master's degrees in TESOL are among the most sought-after professionals in the world today. TESOL instruction represents an extraordinary opportunity for a meaningful career in education, both at home and abroad.

*David Crystal. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Career Opportunities

Opportunities for teaching English can be found both within and outside the U.S., in both private and public sectors. In the U.S., ESL teachers work with newcomers at all levels of the education system as well as in community or church-based programs; they also work with international students in higher education settings. However, schools prefer to hire trained professionals. While teachers with minimal training are hired for many classroom-teaching positions, those with graduate degrees hold an advantage and command higher salaries. In addition to teaching posts, they are considered for jobs in teacher training, curriculum and materials development, and program administration.

Why Study TESOL at APU?

  • APU's TESOL programs combine an orientation toward compassionate Christian service with strong academic preparation and practical preparation for language teaching.
  • The programs represent a blend of coursework and practical experiences which equip graduates to respond to the wide range of language needs, sociocultural differences, and program requirements they will encounter.
  • Qualified faculty share their professional and cross-cultural experiences while adapting coursework to the unique needs and interest of students.
  • APU is located in the greater Los Angeles area, where more than 150 languages are spoken. This diverse linguistic and cultural environment offers students an unmatched variety of multicultural practice-teaching and research opportunities.
  • Graduates of APU's TESOL programs are currently serving both internationally and in the U.S.—in public schools, colleges and universities, private institutes, and businesses. Others have gone on to complete doctoral work in such fields as applied linguistics, international education, or intercultural studies.

Housing Options

While taking summer classes in Azusa, California, teachers will be living in the dorms with other colleagues enrolled in the program. The current location in Asia is the International Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Note: This information is current for the 2014-15 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.