Connecticut ESL Teacher Job Description and ESOL Certification Requirements

If you want to become an ESL teacher with TESOL certification in Connecticut, you must be prepared to complete these steps:

Complete a State-Approved Educator Preparation Program
Pass the PRAXIS II Examination
Apply for Certification as an ESL Educator in Connecticut
Achieve a Provisional and Professional Teaching Certificate
Achieve Cross-Endorsement in TESOL

The Connecticut State Board of Education (CSDE) is responsible for building high-quality, comprehensive, and coordinated English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education programs for English Language Learners (ELLs) in the state. The Board also ensures that all Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and bilingual teachers, K-12, hold the appropriate certificate for their assignment.

ESL programs in Connecticut, which are taught exclusively in English, strive to help ELLs acquire a level of English proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing that allows them to master the same content and meet the same academic performance standards as other students whose first language is English. The goals of ESL programs enable ELLs to:

  • Progress in content-area achievement and English academic proficiency
  • Meet the English mastery standard on the annual assessment
  • Function successfully in a mainstream program



Step 1. Complete a State-Approved Educator Preparation Program

Traditional Preparation Programs

All candidates for TESOL certification in Connecticut must complete an approved pathway to certification, which is typically achieved through the completion of aState-approved educator preparation program. These traditional preparation programs include an undergraduate or graduate degree and all necessary components to become a certified educator in Connecticut, including pedagogy courses and a student teaching experience.

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Educators seeking to teach ESL may choose to seek an elementary education endorsement or a single-subject secondary education endorsement through the completion of an educator preparation program. There are also two approved graduate preparation programs in TESOL.

You must pass the PRAXIS I, Core Academic Skills for Educators examinations (or obtain a waiver from the Connecticut State Department of Education based on your SAT, ACT, GRE or PAA scores) before being accepted into a state-approved teacher preparation program.

The PRAXIS I includes examinations in reading, writing, and mathematics. You can view more information on taking the PRAXIS I examinations here.

TESOL Requirements

To teach ESL in Connecticut, you must complete a TESOL graduate or post-baccalaureate program through one of Connecticut’s approved teacher preparation programs (there are currently two graduate programs and one post-baccalaureate program in TESOL) OR show the completion of:

  • At least 24 semester hours of credit in the English language, including courses in the history of the English language, British and American literature, English syntax, and English composition
  • At least 30 semester hours of credit in professional education through an approved and planned program of study, to include:
    • Educational psychology and characteristics of learners
    • Curriculum and methods of teaching, including at least 15 semester hours of credit in TESOL
    • Assessment of learning, including preparation in principles and purposes of assessment instruments, as found in the general curriculum and using assessment data to monitor progress and differentiate instruction for students with diverse learning needs
    • A planned sequence of varied field experiences in elementary and secondary school settings and with students who represent a diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds and with a diversity of learning needs (a practicum in elementary or secondary is required)
    • Supervised student teaching in an elementary or secondary school setting

Alternative Preparation Program: ARC

You may also qualify for certification in Connecticut through the Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Certification Program (ARC). This program is designed for mid-career adults who desire to begin teaching.

To qualify for the ARC program, you must: possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major closely related to English as a Second Language; achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate program or at least 24 semester hours of graduate work; and pass all sections of the PRAXIS I examinations and PRAXIS II appropriate subject area examinations (See Step 2).

The ARC program consists of subject-based methods classes and training in areas such as classroom management, assessment of student learning, English language learners, and special education. All ARC students also observe classrooms and take part in a student teaching experience.



Step 2. Pass the PRAXIS II Examination

All applicants for Connecticut educator certification must successfully complete the appropriate PRAXIS II content area examination. For ESL teacher candidates, this includes:

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (5361)

This examination includes the following areas of assessment:

  • Foundations of Linguistics and Language Learning
  • Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction
  • Assessment
  • Cultural and Professional Aspects of the Job

You must achieve a minimum score of 146 to pass this PRAXIS II examination.

You can learn more about PRAXIS II examination, including registering to take the exam, through the Praxis Series website.



Step 3. Apply for Certification as an ESL Educator in Connecticut

All candidates for initial educator certification in Connecticut must first register with the Connecticut Educator Certification System (CECS). Upon successfully registering with the CECS, you may apply for your initial educator certificate.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or using the CECS system, you may contact the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification at 1-860-713-6969 or at



Step 4. Achieve a Provisional and Professional Teaching Certificate

Initial educator certificates in Connecticut are valid for a period of three years. Upon expiration of this certificate, you are eligible to achieve a provisional certificate, which is valid for 8 years. During this time, you must complete a number of requirements to achieve Connecticut’s professional educator certificate:

  • At least 30 school months of educator experience
  • At least 30 semester hours of post-baccalaureate study (As of July 1, 2016, educators in Connecticut will be required to complete a master’s degree to earn a professional educator certificate.)

If you have not yet achieved a graduate degree in ESL, you may choose to complete a master’s program in TESOL as to satisfy the conditions of the provisional certificate in Connecticut.



Step 5. Achieve Cross-Endorsement in TESOL

If you are a current Connecticut educator who wants to achieve a cross-endorsement in TESOL, you may be eligible for the Alternative Route to Certification for Teachers of English Language Learners program.

The Connecticut Department of Education has designed an Alternative Route to Certification for Teachers of English Language Learners (ARCTELL), which is a program that allows current Connecticut teachers to receive a Certificate of Completion and a cross endorsement in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, PK-12, while they continue to teach.

To be considered for admission into the ARCTELL program, you must hold a valid Connecticut teaching license; have worked full-time for at least 2 years under a Connecticut teaching certificate; and be currently employed by a Connecticut school district.

Some of the topics addressed in the ARCTELL program include TESOL standards, such as language, culture, planning, assessment, professionalism, and instruction. You can view detailed information on TESOL standards here.

Connecticut ESL Endorsement Salary Bonus Incentives

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 13 percent of Connecticut’s current populace was born outside of the United States, compared with approximately 11 percent in 2000.

In response to a significant increase in foreign-born residents in recent years, the state’s legislature passed the Connecticut Bilingual Statute, which requires that ESL (English as a Second Language) instruction be made available in all school settings where 20 or more students are native speakers of the same foreign language. This passage of this statute has significantly increased the demand for ESL teachers in the state.

The average salary for teachers in Connecticut is considerably higher than in other states. New teachers in Connecticut can expect to earn up to $61,350 annually.

Teachers with an ESL endorsement aligned with their teaching certification can earn an even higher rate of pay. An experienced teacher that receives an ESL endorsement can expect to earn between $81,290 and $91,350 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As an example of potential ESL teacher earnings in Connecticut, consider the salary schedule in the Turnbull District:

  • Teachers with a bachelor’s degree earn between $52,299 (step 4) and $81,191 (step 18)
  • Teachers with a master’s degree earn between $ 57,247 (step 4) and $93,740 (step 20)
  • Further salary increases result from increased tenure

Individual teacher salaries are affected by the “step” ranking of the teacher. Steps are awarded based on various criteria such as previous military service and performance.

Detailed salary information for Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers in Connecticut is shown in the table below. This data is drawn from a 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Adult ESL instructors are included within this category.

Area name
Annual Median Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk CT
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT
New Haven CT
Norwich-New London CT-RI
Springfield MA-CT
Waterbury CT
Worcester MA-CT

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