ESL and Bilingual Endorsements

The graduate ESL and Bilingual endorsement courses are fully online.

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 apply online.

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.

Admission Requirements for the ESL and Bilingual Endorsements

To apply to be an at-large graduate student and enroll in courses for the ESL and/or bilingual endorsements:

  • Submit an application for admission for graduate study: Start your application online.
  • Submit official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended (Elmhurst University alumni do not need to request a copy of their Elmhurst transcripts).
  • Provide a copy of your Illinois professional educator license.
  • An administrator’s letter stating you are assigned to classes with English learners in lieu of documenting 100 hours (optional).

Apply Online

ESL and Bilingual Endorsement Courses

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


Summer courses will meet synchronously online on T/R evenings; courses are offered in two 3-week sessions from mid-June through July. The fall and spring courses will meet approximately 7 times synchronously online Wednesdays, from 6:00-8:30 p.m. When taking two courses at the same time, graduate students alternate weeks for course meetings online (e.g., Course 1 meets synchronously weeks 1, 3, 5…; Course 2 meets synchronously weeks 2, 4, 6…).

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 University 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 University will accept no more than 15 field experience hours per transfer course.
  • Graduate students who completed undergraduate ESL/bilingual coursework at Elmhurst University may use all courses with grades of “C” (2.0) or higher toward these endorsements.

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.

In lieu of documenting 100 hours, teachers can provide an administrator’s letter saying they are working with English learners in their classroom.

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

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).

The Summer Term begins in mid-June and continues through the end of July. The Fall Term begins the last week in August and ends in December. The Spring Term begins the last week in January/first week in February and ends in May. No graduate courses are scheduled in the first four weeks of January, which is Elmhurst University’s J-Term.

Yes, the courses are part of the Master’s 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.

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