ESL and Bilingual Endorsements

To earn a licensure endorsement, teachers must currently hold a teaching position and be licensed to teach in Illinois. All teachers earning an endorsement who want to add the endorsement to their professional educator license should contact Dr. Beverly Troiano.

The ESL and bilingual endorsements for the State of Illinois may be added to a Professional Educator License (PEL) and would be valid for grades PreK-12.

Both endorsements require teachers to have 100 hours of field experience with English learners in both ESL and bilingual settings. Students seeking both endorsements only need 100 hours total. The 100 hours of clinical work are distributed across the six courses and arranged by the graduate student.

To earn the bilingual endorsement, teachers also must pass an appropriate target language proficiency exam offered by the Illinois Licensure Testing System. Currently, the ESL endorsement does not require an exam.

The ESL and bilingual endorsements require the completion of the same six courses for 18 semester hours. Each course is 3 semester hours:

  • MTL 544 Cross-Cultural Studies in Teaching English Language Learner
  • MTL 558 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching English Language Learners
  • MTL 569 Linguistics for Second Language Learning
  • MTL 579 Methods and Materials for Teaching English Language Learners
  • MTL 587 Assessment of English Language Learners
  • MTL 592 Action Research and Application of Bilingual Methods

Note: Courses are sequenced and begin in the summer term. Students may take two courses per term and complete the endorsement in one year, or one course each summer, fall and spring and finish in two years.


  • An application for admission for graduate study – apply online or download a PDF application
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended (Elmhurst College alumni do not need to request a copy of their Elmhurst transcripts)
  • A copy of your Illinois professional educator license

Note: At-large graduate students are considered non-degree seeking students.

Yes, each of the 6 courses is 3 semester hours for a total of 18 semester hours.

  • The State of Illinois requires that all ESL and Bilingual endorsement programs have a minimum of 18 semester hours of approved coursework.
  • Elmhurst College uses a 4-semester-hour credit system, so a 1.0 course = 4 semester hours and a .75 course = 3 semester hours.
  • Graduate students may transfer a maximum of 2 courses from another institution towards the ESL and/or bilingual endorsement.
  • Graduate students transferring coursework need to provide documentation of field experience hours completed. Elmhurst College will accept no more than 15 field experience hours per transfer course.
  • Graduate students who completed undergraduate ESL/bilingual coursework at Elmhurst College may use all courses with grades of “C” (2.0) or higher toward these endorsements.

Teachers will need to provide a principal’s letter saying they are assigned to classes with English learners for 3 or more months on a full-time contract, or document 100 hours in classrooms serving English learners.

Field experiences are required in all courses and 100 hours of clinical work is distributed across the 6 courses.  Fieldwork is arranged by the graduate student. Teachers may use their own classrooms to document the field experience hours if they are working with English learners. For the ESL Endorsement, the hours must be in a setting where students are receiving ESL services.

For the Bilingual Endorsement, the hours must be completed in a bilingual education program.

Both endorsements require teachers to have 100 hours of field experience with English learners.

Graduate students seeking both endorsements only need 100 hours total.

Yes, to teach in bilingual classrooms, teachers who receive the Bilingual Education endorsement must pass a Target Language Proficiency (TLP) test administered by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Summer courses meet on campus T/R evenings and online MW; courses are offered in two 3-week sessions from late June through July.  Fall and spring courses meet on campus Wednesday evenings, 6-8:30 PM (MTL 569 will meet on Tuesdays in the Fall 2017 only). Each course meets approximately 7 times on campus and 7 times online. When taking two courses at the same time, graduate students alternate weeks for course meetings on campus (e.g., Course 1 meets weeks 1, 3, 5…; Course 2 meets weeks 2, 4, 6…).

Online classes are asynchronous, which means graduate students complete an online class within a particular time frame (i.e., there is no specific meeting time). The learning management system currently being used is Blackboard.

Summer term begins the third week in June and lasts through the last week in July. Fall semesters begin the last week in August and end in December. Spring semesters begin the last week in January/first week in February and end in May. No graduate courses are scheduled in the first four weeks of January, which is the Elmhurst College’s J-term.

Yes, the courses are part of the Masters in Teacher Leadership (MTL) program.  All 6 courses may be applied toward the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership (MTL) degree, a 34-semester-hour graduate degree program.  A separate application process is required.

For questions about the courses and endorsements, contact the ESL/Bilingual Program Coordinator Dr. Beverly Troiano.

For questions about admission and registration, contact the MTL Program Director Dr. Debra Meyer.

Connect with #ElmhurstCollege