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Flexibility is key in Minnesota’s graduate education programs, with students able to earn teaching certification concurrent with graduate degrees (requiring supervised teaching practicums), as well as ESL master’s degree and add-on endorsement programs providing coursework with evening, Saturday, online, and hybrid options.
ESL Teacher Certification
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and its Educator Licensing Division award ESL and Bilingual Licenses to the state’s K-12 public school teachers.
Alternative Certification Options
The Minnesota Board of Teaching is a recently established body of educational leaders charged with approving teacher preparation programs in the state, including those that provide alternative pathways. According to MDE, this organization exists in response to recent changes in state laws, so the system for approving alternative pathways is in a transitional state, subject to change. In general, new laws will require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, demonstrate basic skills in core content areas, pass state-mandated exams, engage in at least 200 instructional hours, complete student teaching, participate in a mentoring program, and obtain district, school site, and educational institutional approval for a standard license.
MDE currently allows for an Application for Licensure via Portfolio; new eligibility determinations are currently (2013) suspended, however. In addition, MDE’s webpage Train to Become a Teacher in Minnesota contains links to Minnesota teacher and educator preparation institutions and their contact information, as well as the Troops to Teacher Program designed for former members of the military who want to work in high-need classrooms.
Master’s in ESL Programs
Hamline University offers a plethora of programs, some of which are in a hybrid or online format, allows students to earn graduate degrees with or without teacher certification, as well as an add-on ESL or bilingual endorsement. They include: Master of Arts in English as a Second Language; Master of Arts in Teaching: ESL Initial License; Bilingual/Bicultural Education Additional License; and English as a Second Language Additional License. Certificate-only options include Teachers of Adult ESL, ESL for Mainstream Teachers, TEFL, and Advanced TEFL. At University of Minnesota, students choose from one of two tracks within this program, Second Languages and Cultures or Specialization: ESL for Higher Education.