Frequently Asked Questions about TESOL Core Certificate Program

Here is a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the TESOL Core Certificate Program and training in the ELT field:

Is this program right for me?
What other programs does TESOL recommend?
What other professional development opportunities does TESOL provide?
Who developed the TESOL Core Certificate Program? Who oversees and manages it?
Is the TESOL Core Certificate Program accredited?
Will TESOL assist me in finding a job?
What is the difference between a certificate program and a certification program?
Why did TESOL develop this certificate program?
Who do I contact at TESOL if I have additional questions?

Is this program right for me?

The TESOL Core Certificate Program provides an overview of the ELT field. If you are planning to enter the field and teach English to young learners in an EFL setting or adults in an ESL or EFL setting, this program will be a good fit for you. If you are an ELT or content-area classroom teacher with little formal training in the ELT field, this certificate program will be helpful to you. Please note, however, that this program is not designed for highly experienced English language teachers who already have advanced degrees in the field.

You are encouraged to think carefully about your short-term and long-terms goals and learn as much as you can about the ELT field, including the following options:

  • Review all the information about the TESOL Core Certificate Program on this Web page, including under “Benefits.”
  • Visit TESOL’s Web site, under “Careers,” including “A Career in TESOL,” and “TESOL Degree and Certificate Programs.”
  • Attend a TESOL convention or other TESOL or TESOL-affiliate professional development event.
  • Join TESOL and your local TESOL affiliate to learn first hand from professionals in the field.
  • Access books and other resources on ELT. Visit TESOL’s Web site under “Publications.”
  • Learn about TESOL’s positions on a wide variety of issues in the field on TESOL’s Web site under “Position Statements.”
  • Visit a local university that provides advanced training in the TESOL field to learn about their programs of study.

What other programs does TESOL recommend?

TESOL staff do not provide individual career advice or evaluate or recommend programs of study in the ELT field. If you are interested in learning more about pursuing a career in TESOL, you should review the resources mentioned above under “Is this program right for me?”

What other professional development opportunities does TESOL provide?

TESOL provides a wide variety of publications and professional development opportunities in the field, from the TESOL convention and exhibit, academies, symposia, and other conferences to online resources, certificate programs, courses, seminars, and other peer-to-peer networking opportunities. For more information, visitTESOL’s Web site.

Who developed the TESOL Core Certificate Program? Who oversees and manages it?

The TESOL Core Certificate Program was developed by TESOL’s Professional Development Committee (PDC), a TESOL standing committee appointed by the President of TESOL, with the coordination and support of TESOL’s Education Programs Department staff and the course instructors and facilitators. In particular, a TESOL Advisory Group, made up of PDC members and highly experienced TESOL members, with backgrounds in EFL, adult education, K–12, teacher training, research, standards, and conputer-aided language learning, provides ongoing oversight and review of the certificate program. The TESOL Core Certificate Program is administered by TESOL, through TESOL’s Education Programs Department.

Is the TESOL Core Certificate Program accredited?

It is not accredited at this time. TESOL is in the process of exploring options for accreditation for its continuing education programs. However, the TESOL Core Certificate Program was informed and guided by the following:

  • TESOL position statements on education and training in ELT.
  • TESOL’s ongoing development and review of ELT standards.
  • The standards, ethics, and best practices of the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET, www.accet.org), the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA, www.noca.org), and the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET, www.iacet.org).

Will TESOL assist me in finding a job?

The TESOL Core Certificate Program is an online training program. TESOL does not provide program participants with assistance in finding a job. However, the program does include membership in TESOL, and TESOL does have an active online career center, for both job seekers and employers. Participants are also strongly encouraged to learn from and network with a wide variety of professionals in the field through TESOL and its affiliates worldwide, thus beginning a process of ongoing professional development, peer-to-peer learning, and reflective practice in the field.

What is the difference between a certificate program and a certification program?

The National Organization for Competency Assurance (www.noca.org) defines an assessment-based certificate program as a nondegree granting program that

  • provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies associated with intended learning outcomes;
  • evaluates participants’ achievement of the intended learning outcomes; and
  • awards a certificate only to those participants who meet the performance, proficiency. or passing standard for the assessment(s).

NOCA also explains the differences between professional or personnel certification and assessment-based certificate programs:

Professional or personnel certification is a voluntary process by which individuals are evaluated against predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, or competencies. Participants who demonstrate that they meet the standards by successfully completing the assessment process are granted a time-limited credential. To retain the credential, certificants must maintain continued competence. The credential awarded by the certification program provider denotes that the participant possesses particular knowledge, skills, or competencies. Whereas the focus of an assessment-based certificate program is on education/training, the focus of professional/personnel certification is on the assessment of participants.

NOCA goes on to point out that with professional or personnel certification programs

the assessment is independent of a specific class, course or other education/training program and also independent of any provider of classes, courses, or programs. The assessments are NOT designed to evaluate mastery of the intended learning outcomes of a specific class, course or education/training program, and the certification program provider is NOT the sole provider of any education or training that may be required for certification.

The TESOL Core Certificate ​Program is not certification programs. Unfortunately, certificate and certification are often confused. It is also true that these and other terms may be used in different ways across cultures.

Why did TESOL develop this certificate program?

TESOL developed the TESOL Core Certificate Program as part of the TESOL Board of Directors ongoing strategic planning process, which is aligned with TESOL’s mission and values. TESOL’s mission is to develop and maintain professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide. Over many years, TESOL member experts have also provided TESOL with feedback about meeting teacher training demands in diverse contexts and the growing needs of ELLs worldwide, and TESOL has received a growing number of requests from the public in recent years expressing interest in this type of flexible online training program.

Who do I contact at TESOL if I have additional questions?

For more information about the TESOL Core Certificate Program, contact TESOL at corecertificate@tesol.org or call 703-518-2516. For all other questions, please contact the TESOL's Education Programs Department at edprograms@tesol.org.