Written By: Robyn Shulman
I was very fortunate to advise over 2,500 prospective ESL/Bilingual teachers during my time with National Louis. Obtaining the ESL and/or Bilingual endorsement or approval can be quite a confusing venture, therefore, I have put this guide together to assist teachers with this information.
1. Illinois teachers can add the ESL endorsement or approval to the following teaching certificates:
Type 03, 04, 09, 10 (The type 10 is currently in transition, teachers should follow up with their intermediate service center for questions).
The type 29 teaching certificate cannot be used to acquire either the ESL endorsement or the ESL approval.
2. The ESL endorsement courses required: 18 semester hours of graduate credit distributed among five areas. Course titles vary across universities.
The basic classes for the ESL endorsement are the following:
Theory, ESL Methods, Linguistics, Cross Cultural, Assessment, and one elective
The basic classes for the ESL and Bilingual approval/endorsement are the following:
Theory, ESL Methods, Bilingual Methods, Cross Cultural, Assessment (Note, there is no room for an elective here).
Note: For the bilingual approval/endorsement, there is a state test requiring fluency. Teachers must pass this test in an oral, written and reading version.
3. 100 clinical hours: (either offered through a university, or via a letter stating the teacher has had 100 ESL contact hours or 3 months of teaching in an ESL and/or Bilingual setting). Teachers should check with their university for requirements/questions.
4. ESL endorsement versus approval:
There is no difference in the validity of an approval versus an endorsement. An approval is printed on a separate letter from the Illinois State board of Education and is valid for the same grade levels for which the teaching certificate is issued. An endorsement is a physical stamp which will be stamped permanently on the teaching certificate.
If a teacher chooses to teach at the middle school level (grades 6-8), the teacher must be certified to teach middle school, which requires 2 additional courses. There is no fee for the approval, and no additional courses are required if you are teaching in the middle grades.
The endorsement fee is $50.00.
There is no fee for the approval, and no additional courses are required if the teacher is already approved for the middle grades.