Why choose CERTESL?

  • CERTESL is Canada's most-recognized non-Master's distance-delivered English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher-training program.
  • It is accepted by all three TESL accrediting bodies in Canada: TESL CanadaTESL Ontario, and TESL Saskatchewan
  • K to 12 teachers in Saskatchewan and Ontario can earn specialist endorsements on their teaching certificates and move up the salary grid with the right CERTESL path. The University of Saskatchewan also provides a full 10-course Post-Degree Certificate in EAL Education for K to 12.
  • CERTESL courses address the largest possible range of second/additional language learning needs: immigrantsrefugeesinternational studentsoverseas students, and K to 12.
  • Each course delivers the same learning as a typical three-credit third- or fourth-year university class.
  • CERTESL has double the academic hours of the most widely-known programs for overseas teaching.
  • With CERTESL (plus a university degree), you qualify to teach almost anywhere in the world.
  • Education Curriculum course options within CERTESL can be applied to some University degrees. Contact us for details.
  • Our instructors are highly qualified. Their knowledge comes from both solid training and years of classroom experience.
  • CERTESL allows for transfer of credit from other programs. If you have taken a reputable ESL/EFL teacher-training program in or out of Canada, your prior learning may be credited toward CERTESL. Contact us for information.
  • For details regarding regional, national and international qualification, download the CERTESL Accreditation Manual.
  • We provide personal one-on-one academic advising to help you best decide your career path. Please email our CERTESL Academic Advisor or call (306) 966-2085 for a consultation.

Program overview

The Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (CERTESL) program is comprised of six courses, including a supervised practicum or professional project. Ideally, it can be completed within 1 to 2 years (part-time study) and could potentially be completed in as little as 8 months (full-time study). If you need more time, you can take up to 5 years to finish. If you've been working in the field, your program will be reviewed and you may be allocated more time.

Depending on your personal career and travel plans, you can choose a path that trains you to teach in ESL, EFL or ESD settings. Course content covers:

  • effective communicative language teaching
  • English Language learner needs assessment and evaluation
  • English Language lesson planning
  • selection and development of English Language teaching materials
  • English grammar and phonology for language teaching purposes.

CERTESL finishes with a supervised practicum or, for those who qualify, a professional project. You can arrange to have your practicum done with a qualified supervisor in your home community. 

Both adult educators and K-12 teachers may enrol in CERTESL. However, if an experienced K-12 teacher is seeking Additional Qualification (AQ) status for salary and promotion purposes in Saskatchewan or Ontario elementary or secondary schools, he or she may prefer to apply to CERTESL’s 10-course sister program, the Post Degree Certificate in EAL Education (PDCEAL).

If you are already an experienced teacher, you may choose the Professional Project option, which lets you conduct TESL research or prepare TESL curriculum materials that will help you in your own professional setting.

There are three intakes of new students per year:

Fall: September to December
Apply by August 1
Winter: January to April
Apply by December 1
Spring & Summer: May to August
Apply by April 1 

The University of Saskatchewan Academic Calendar will give you information on the dates of terms, term breaks, withdrawal dates, holidays, start and end of classes, convocation, etc. 

Program curriculum

Courses in the CERTESL program are offered at a distance three times a year. To view the classes being offered this term, go to https://students.usask.ca/academics/classes/php#Searchforclasses

Note:  When searching for classes, an ECUR class is listed under “Curriculum Studies”; a TESL class is found under “Teaching English as a Second Language.”

Six CERTESL courses must be successfully completed with an overall average of at least 60% to be awarded the CERTESL Certificate. 

  1. ECUR 291.3: An Introduction to the Teaching of English as a Second Language (ECUR)
    formerly TESL 21: Overview of Teaching English as a Second Language
  2. TESL 333.3: The Structure of English for Language Teaching
    formerly TESL 33: English Grammar and Phonology
  3. ECUR 391.3: Theory of Second Language Learning and Methods of Skills Development
    formerly TESL 31: TESL Theory and Skill Development 
    OR ECUR 375.3 formerly TESL 34: TESL/TESD for Aboriginal People
  4. ECUR 393.3—Advanced Methods in TESL 
    formerly TESL 35: Approaches to Language Teaching 
  5. TESL 32: Materials Selection and Development in Language Teaching
    OR TESL 36: Literacy in TESL/TESD OR ECUR 415.3: Current Issues in English as an Additional Language (Note: K-12 teachers who have been admitted to the CERTESL Program may substitute ECUR 415.3, Current Issues in English as an Additional Language, in lieu of TESL 32 or TESL 36.  Permission from the CERTESL Program Office and the ECUR 415.3 instructor is required.)
  6. TESL 442.3 (formerly TESL 42): Supervised Practicum
    OR TESL 43 - Professional Project

To find out information on tuition & fees and payments and the payment due dates, go to https://students.usask.ca/money/tuition.php.


  • Prerequisite(s) for ECUR 291.3: ENG 110 or 6 credit units from ENG 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115.
  • ECUR 291.3/TESL 21 is prerequisite or co-requisite to all other 30-level TESL courses.
  • A minimum of three courses must be completed before registering in TESL 442 or TESL 43 (ECUR 291.3/TESL 21, ECUR 391.3/TESL 31 or 34, and one other 30-level CERTESL course).


  • For TESL Ontario accreditation, you must complete ECUR 291.3/TESL 21, ECUR 391.3/TESL 31, TESL 32, TESL 333.3, ECUR 393.3/TESL 35, TESL 442 and TESL 43, a supplementary Practicum Additional Hours module, and one additional course (either TESL 36 or TESL 43) (7 courses in total). See the Practicum Information page for additional details.
  • For TESL Canada Professional Standard I certification, you must take TESL 442 and not take EIND 375.3/TESL 34.  For TESL Canada Professional Standard II eligibility, you will take one additional course in CERTESL (7 courses in total), selecting from among TESL 32, ECUR 375.3/TESL 34, TESL 36, and TESL 43. Starting in September 2017, Standard II certification candidates will also have to complete a supplementary Practicum Additional Hours module. 

During the next two years, all CERTESL courses not currently offered as degree-credit sections are intended to be reclassified as degree-credit. 

Admission requirements

  • High school diploma (grade 12 with appropriate English course credits and English grades of at least 70%)

    Please note: In addition to the above Admission Requirements a student must have completed English 110.6 or 6 credit units selected from English 111.3, 112.3, 113.3, 114.3, or 115.3, or equivalent coursework from another postsecondary institution, in order to be eligible to register in the program’s introductory course, ECUR 291.3. 

     A degree is strongly recommended but concurrent completion of CERTESL and a degree program also works.
    If English is not your first language, proven English proficiency is required:
    • equivalent to at least 88 in the TOEFL-iBT, with no less than 20 in all four bands;
    • 6.5 in the Academic version of the IELTS, with no less than 6.5 in all four bands;
    • 4.5 in the CanTEST, with no less than 4.5 in all four bands; 
    • equivalent scores in another recognized test of academic English language skill, or
    • completion of either three years of high school in English or at least 18 credits of postsecondary education using English as the language of instruction. 
      Note: English skills will be reviewed on your application essay and a proficieny test may be required if necessary.
  • A degree in English language awarded by a university in a country that does not use English as the first language does not constitute proof of English proficiency. The university must use English as the primary language of communication for a substantial portion of its full range of programming, not merely for teaching the English language, and must be accepted by the University of Saskatchewan as meeting a suitable English usage standard.
  • If you earned your postsecondary degree or polytechnic credential outside of Canada, please provide a postsecondary education assessment report from World Education Services (WES) or another recognized postsecondary assessment body so that we can determine whether your past education meets prerequisite requirements for ECUR 291.3, the first course in the CERTESL program. If you completed a university degree outside of Canada, you will also need a WES or other acceptable report for submission when you apply as an adult ESL educator for TESL Canada certification or TESL Ontario or TESL Saskatchewan accreditation. Elementary and secondary teachers require training that clearly matches Canadian B.Ed. standards, as defined not only by WES or an equivalent service but also within the terms defined by provincial K-12 certification or licensure bodies in and for the Canadian province or territory in which they hope to teach. If your postsecondary education does not match a Canadian definition of university degree completion, you will not be eligible for professional status as an English language adult instructor or elementary/secondary teacher in Canada.
  • Applicants must also write a short essay to demonstrate their English language skills.
  • Applicants who do not have a University degree must sign a waiver acknowledging that accreditation or certification by Canada's TESL professional associations requires completion of a degree in addition to completion of the CERTESL program, and that accreditation or certification may require proof of English language proficiency higher than that required for CERTESL admission. 

Once you are admitted to the program, you will receive a letter of admission that includes your University of Saskatchewan student number. You will then be able to register for classes online.

If you have taken previous TESL courses that meet high standards of academic rigor, you may be eligible for transfer credit.

How to apply

  1. Download and complete the admission form
  2. Application Fee ($75—Cheque, Money order or Credit Card ONLY)—Please note that the application fee is for new U of S students only. 
  3. Transcripts* (high school and post-secondary)—MUST be sent from the issuing institution directly to the CERTESL Program Assistant, to be received no later than the application deadline.
  4. Entrance Essay
  5. Proof of English Proficiency (for applicants whose first language is not English)**
  6. Copy of Permanent Resident Card (front and back) if not a Canadian citizen

*Transcripts received become the property of the University of Saskatchewan and will not subsequently be released or photocopied for the student or forwarded to other    institutions.

**See the Admission requirements above for more information