Teaching English as a Second Language (Certificate)

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Teaching English as a Second Language
Length of Program
One semester
Credential Type
New Westminster
Learning Format


Get a career teaching English as a second language in Canada. In the four-month Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate program, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills needed to teach English as a second or foreign language in a classroom setting. Courses are offered in a hybrid format, meaning some are online and some are in person, giving you more flexibility with your education.   

A practical, flexible education 

You’ll gain theoretical and practical knowledge including designing tutorials, delivering courses and managing a classroom. You’ll also learn how to tutor English to adult speakers of other languages, a course that is unique in B.C. to Douglas College’s TESL program. With the program’s 30-hour teaching and tutoring practicum, you’ll graduate with experience in the field.  

Get certified 

By the end of your studies, you’ll be ready to apply for the TESL Canada Standard Level One certification (if you have a bachelor’s degree). This certification is an important step in being able to teach English as an additional language in Canada and can make you a competitive candidate if you choose to teach abroad.   

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

  • General College Admission Requirements (excluding English Proficiency Requirement).
  • English Studies 12 minimum final grade "B" or approved substitution*.
  • One reference from a former/current instructor, employer, or volunteer coordinator who can attest to good character, temperament, willingness to learn, oral communication skills, ability to cooperate with others, and appropriateness for undertaking TESL studies.

*Please see FAQ’s for a list of approved substitutions and reference form.


You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  • Successful completion of 15 credits
  • Minimum Grade Requirement: “C” or higher in all courses
  • Must be in good academic standing.
  • 50% (7.5 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College.
  • Time limit to complete the program graduation requirements: 4 years. Any courses completed outside of that time limit will not be usable. Students may seek the permission of the Department/Program to complete a credential outside the approved time limits.

Course Requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits

TESL 1101

Foundations of Teaching English to Adult Speakers of Other Languages


TESL 1102

Teaching English Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation to Adult Speakers of Other Languages


TESL 1103

Teaching English Reading, Vocabulary, and Writing to Adult Speakers of Other Languages


TESL 1104

Tutoring of English to Adult Speakers of Other Languages


TESL 1105

Practicum in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Total Credits



Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.


The reference form is available here. Please note that the reference form is to be submitted AFTER you have applied for admission to the program.

  • TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This refers to teaching English in a country where English is NOT the native or official language.
  • TESL = Teaching English as a Second Language. This refers to teaching English in a country where English IS the native or official language.
  • TEAL = Teaching English as an Additional Language. This recognizes that for many of our students, English is not their second language - it is often their third, fourth, or more. This is also why the acronym EAL is now more common than ESL. TEAL is also the acronym used by the BC-based professional organization for teachers of ESL.
  • TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This now seems to be the industry standard for EAL teacher education programs in BC. It is also the name of the U.S.-based professional organization for teachers of EAL.

  • The program is one semester (13.5) weeks long.
  • There are 230 hours of coursework and 25 hours of practicum.
  • The program is offered:
    • Winter Semester (beginning of January - mid-April)
    • Summer Semester (beginning of May - mid-August) 
    • For exact start dates, please click here
  • In some cases, depending on the availability of practicum sponsor teachers and when students are willing, practicums may go past the end date of the program.

The list of approved substitutions for English Studies 12 with a grade of B can be found on the Limited Program information page.

Below is a typical class schedule.  








Practicum site 

~ 9:00 – ~12:00 



Observation (10 hrs./term) and teaching (10 hrs./term), as arranged with the sponsor teacher*


Douglas College, Room S1614 

14:30 – 16:20 

TESL 1102 


TESL 1101 


TESL 1103 

TESL 1104 


Free day 

16:30 – 18:20 


TESL 1105 





Additional 8 hours/week (2 hours/week in TESL 1101, TESL 1102, TESL 1103, and TESL 1104) are delivered online asynchronously → tasks can be completed at any time outside of this schedule. 

* The practicum site hours may vary, depending on the sponsor teacher schedule and availability.

Coursework and tutoring practicum at New Westminster Campus

Both semesters, the teaching practicum placements are at various locations around the Metro Vancouver area including LINC (government-sponsored) programs, private language schools and Douglas College.

Working full time during the program is not recommended. The program involves 10 hours/week of in-person class time, 8 hours/week of asynchronous online work, and 25 hours over the semester of practicum time. Students will also need to spend time during most weeks reflecting on and planning lessons for their teaching practicum and completing assignments and projects for the courses in the program.

The coursework will be practical and emphasize bridging of theory and practice.

Yes, it is. You can obtain further information at Douglas College Financial Aid

Also, students in this program may be eligible for a bursary.  Please check the information about these on the Bursary page. TESL students should check the General bursaries.

Yes. If you will require services from Accessibility Services, start planning early! You should complete the steps to request services as soon as possible before the semester start date, in some cases several months ahead of the start date. For more information, please see the Accessibility Services website.

No. The program can only be taken full time.

Our instructors are members of our ELLA faculty. All instructors have at least Master's degrees and extensive experience teaching English as an additional language in Canada and abroad as well as facilitating teacher training. They are also currently teaching EAL academic preparation classes.

You can read more about them on the TESL Faculty page.

  • For your tutoring practicum, you will be supervised and mentored as you tutor an EAL student at Douglas College for 5 hours.
  • For your teaching practicum, you will observe several EAL teachers teaching at a range of levels for a total of 10 hours, both online and in person. You will also be placed in a classroom either at Douglas College or in other EAL programs. You will be observed and mentored by your classroom sponsor teacher and the practicum instructor as you teach for 10 hours.

No, but you are welcome to do so if you have the opportunity. If that is the case, you need to inform us about it so that we make sure that the practicum sponsor teacher meets the TESL Canada criteria for sponsoring a student.

A criminal record check is not required for this program. However, if you are hoping to do your practicum in a LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) program, you will be required to get one at the beginning of your practicum. This will be arranged via your practicum placement site.

  • Come to an information session.
  • By email, ask the Coordinator specific questions about the program or make an appointment to meet with the Coordinator.
  • For students new to Douglas College, sign up for a campus tour.

Yes. However, Canadian residents get priority access to this program. For more information, contact Douglas College International.

Grades will follow the standard Douglas College Credit Grading System. See the Douglas College grading and other educational policies such as appeals.

Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a Douglas College TESL Certificate. It is recognized as a TESL Canada Teacher Training Standard One program. If you already have a Bachelor's degree, and you successfully complete the program, you will be qualified to apply for TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One [Interim]. If you complete a Bachelor's degree after successfully completing the TESL program, you can apply for your TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One [Interim] then.

For more information on TESL Canada Professional Certification Standards, go to:

Note: If you do not have a four-year (Bachelor’s) degree, you will not be eligible for any level of TESL Canada Federation National Professional Certification.  However, you will still receive a Douglas College TESL certificate if you complete our program.

Follow the instructions on the TESL Canada Website

We will provide you with the knowledge you need to prepare an EAL teaching resume and apply for the kind of jobs you are looking for, whether here or abroad. EAL industry job finding strategies are part of one of the courses in the program, TESL 1105.

Private schools: All recognized private EAL schools in the Lower Mainland require their teachers to have or be qualified for a TESL Canada Professional Certificate [Interim or Permanent].  With a Bachelor's degree and our certificate, you will meet this requirement.
Public programs: Federally funded programs (LINC) for immigrants also require TESL Canada certification.
Other programs: Other opportunities include professional tutoring and volunteer EAL teaching in, for example, community centres, faith-based settings and libraries. For these types of programs, a Bachelor's degree is generally not required.

70% of graduates from our TESL program who responded to a survey in 2021 were employed in a teaching or tutoring position related to their training. Almost three quarters of those positions were held in Canada.

Yes. Success in this thorough program will give you confidence in facing a teaching/tutoring situation abroad. Most reputable schools require a Bachelor's degree and at least a TESL certificate. Nonetheless, each country (and even each city) has a wide variety of teaching positions and requirements. It's best to do your own research into the requirements of the country where you are interested in teaching, although your instructors will also help you with this during the TESL program.

No. This program focuses on teaching English to adult learners. For information on getting certified to  teach in an elementary or secondary school, please see the BC Government’s page regarding training and professional development for K-12 teachers.

Students who successfully complete all 5 courses, including the practicum, can apply to graduate.

  • For the Winter Semester program, the graduation ceremony will be in June.
  • For the Summer Semester program, the graduation ceremony will be in February.

Gordana Sokic, TESL Coordinator, can be reached by email or by phone at 604 527 5673.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Career Pathways

Career opportunities include: 

  • Public school teaching 
  • Private school teaching  
  • Private English tutor