In recent years, Wyoming has seen one of the nation’s sharpest increases in English language learners (ELLs). The number of ELLs in Wyoming schools more than doubled between 1995 and 2005, and the trend is expected to continue. Not surprisingly, the state is experiencing a shortage of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOLs), and the employment outlook for qualified TESOLs in Wyoming is good.
The following steps will help aspiring TESOLs to become certified and/or endorsed in Wyoming:
|Earn a Relevant Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program|
|Complete Required Exams and Teacher Performance Assessments|
|Apply for Certification|
|Complete CPE Requirements for License Renewal and Consider Graduate Programs|
Step 1. Earn a Relevant Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program
Aspiring TESOLs may become qualified for licensure through the Wyoming Professional Teaching and Standards Board (PTSB) after completing a bachelor’s degree program in education. Teachers who are already licensed may also complete post-graduate coursework that can result in an ESL endorsement. There are also alternative routes to qualification.
For a list of teacher prep programs that have already been accepted by the PTSB, click here.
You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in education from an accredited college or university to become certified as an ESL teacher in Wyoming.
Aspiring teachers can take ESL coursework as part of a university’s bachelor’s degree in education, though undergraduates cannot be certified until they complete teacher credentialing requirements, including student teaching in a setting where they can interact with ELLs.
Sample ESL certificate coursework might include subjects such as:
- An examination of how English can best be taught to ELLs
- Theories and concepts of how learners acquire a second language, and how teachers may Facilitate that process in the classroom
- Theories and differing methods of teaching ESL to beginning, intermediate and advanced English language learners
ESL coursework must also include an internship in which a student teacher must interact with ELLs as part of the practicum.
After you graduate, you must obtain an institutional recommendation (IR) from the university before applying for licensure.
The Grand Canyon University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program and a B.A. in Secondary Education.
The Master of Arts in Teaching – TESOL online program from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to teach students of all ages in the U.S. and internationally, gives you the option to pursue a teaching credential, and can be completed in 12 months.
Capella University offers an online Master’s program in English Language Learning and Teaching designed to help educators advance their career in supporting diverse student populations. While it does not satisfy licensure requirements, the program can help you build the skills to use instructional strategies, emerging trends, and best practices to effectively teach English Language Learners and help students adapt to new cultural environments.
Adding the ESL Endorsement – For Current Teachers
If you’re currently a licensed teacher in Wyoming, you may add an ESL endorsement in two ways: through an IR, or through a demonstration of competency. If you obtain the endorsement through an IR, it will be recognized in every state, while an endorsement gained through a demonstration of competency may not be.
Licensed teachers in Wyoming may add a TESOL endorsement by taking additional coursework from an accredited college or university in state; alternatively, there are also many accredited online distance learning institutions that offer ESL coursework. The ESL courses may also be counted toward a master’s in Education, with an emphasis on ESL. If you obtain an IR from an approved program at an accredited college or university, no additional tests are required for an endorsement.
You may also acquire a TESOL endorsement through a demonstration of competency. If you choose this route, you may be able to count some relevant previous coursework toward getting a Wyoming endorsement. You will only be able to add an endorsement at the same grade level that you’re currently licensed to teach. You must have at least 27 semester hours of ESL coursework from a regionally-accredited college or university, and nine of those hours must have been earned in the last five years. Three of the semester hours may be in pedagogy and must be for the same grade level for which you’re currently licensed. You must have earned a “C” or better for your previous coursework to count, and you must earn a passing score on a PTSB-approved Praxis II exam.
Step 2. Complete Required Exams and Teacher Performance Assessments
To be qualified in English as a Second Language (K–6, 5–8, 6–12, K–12), you will also need to take the Praxis test entitled English to Speakers of Other Languages and earn a qualifying score of 147.
Aspiring TESOLs applying for an initial licensure with endorsements for elementary education, or social studies composite, will be required to pass a Praxis II exam. (Note that out of state applicants will be required to pass the tests in the state where they took their teacher prep program, not the Praxis test for Wyoming.)
Initial applicants for the elementary education endorsement are also required to take the Praxis II 5001Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects exam, and earn a passing score on each subtest.
There are four subtests, and you can take all (5002, 5003, 5004, 5005) at the same time by selecting 5001 Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects when registering.
If you want to take or retake an individual subtest, you can register to take just that subtest.
Step 3. Apply for Certification
To be licensed as an ESL teacher in Wyoming, you must complete an approved educator preparation program from an accredited college, and submit the official transcripts. You must submit to fingerprinting and undergo a background check. You must demonstrate knowledge of the Wyoming and U.S. constitutions and submit a complete application packet and fees to the Wyoming PTSB.
If you earned your education degree out of state, the licensure requirements are the same, with the exception that you must be eligible for licensure in the state where your college or university was located. You don’t have to have a license from the state, but you must be eligible to be licensed there. You may have to complete testing in that state to be considered eligible; consult your state’s licensing requirements.
Out-of-state teachers who earned their degrees through non-traditional methods may be licensed in Wyoming under the following circumstances. You must have taught for three out of the last six years in a state-accredited school in the state where you are currently licensed. You must have completed supervised student teaching. You must have passed required tests in the state where you were licensed. Your license must be in the same area in which you taught for the last three out of six years.
You must provide a verification of full time teaching (not including student teaching) or other school experience for up to and including the last 10 years, signed by the relevant school administrators. You must provide a copy of your current, valid teacher’s license or certificate from the other state. You must provide a copy of your Praxis II test scores, either from Wyoming or the other state. You must submit to fingerprinting and a background check. You must demonstrate knowledge of the Wyoming and U.S. constitutions and submit a complete application packet to the Wyoming PTSB.
Alternative Licensing Options
Wyoming also recognizes an alternative program for professionals without a teaching degree. The state allows applicants to the Northern Plains Transition to Teaching (NPTT) program at Montana State University to teach in Wyoming schools while they earn a secondary teaching license. This online program is for professionals who have at least a B.A. in a secondary subject area, and who want to make the transition to teaching, but do not yet have a teaching degree.
NPTT allows applicants to work in Wyoming schools while finishing their coursework and licensure application process. You must have at least a B.A. in a secondary field, and be employed by a Wyoming school district, to apply to the NPTT program.
Step 4. Complete CPE Requirements for License Renewal and Consider Graduate Programs
Wyoming teachers must complete Professional Development/Renewal Credits to renew a license. Renewal requirements vary depending on the type of license. The requirements for renewing your specific license are listed on the reverse side of your license or permit.
For most teaching fields, you will need five Professional Development/Renewal Credits to renew. You are responsible for meeting the renewal requirements for your specific license type, prior to renewal. You can obtain renewal credits from:
- College courses from an accredited school
- Successful completion of PTSB approved workshops. Credits are based on the number of contact hours, the professional development content, and the credentials of the instructor
- Credits earned while pursuing national board certification
The PTSB must receive your renewal application no later than the expiration date posted on your current license or permit. You must:
- Send a complete application packet with all required documentation, including all applicable transcripts.
- Enclose the correct fee amount. Payment can be made by check, cashier’s check, money order or credit card.
If you’re adding an endorsement at the time of renewal, you must fill out Section IV on the renewal application, “Additional Endorsements.” If you got the endorsement as the result of an IR, there is no additional fee to add the endorsement.
If you’re adding an endorsement at renewal time through a demonstration of competency, there will be an additional $100 fee. Look for the “Demonstration of Competency” section in the “Add Endorsement” application.
Wyoming ESL Endorsement Salary Bonus Incentives
As one of the least populated states in the country, Wyoming has not been impacted as much by immigration as many other states. But this state has nevertheless seen an increase—although slight—in its limited English proficient population. The Migration Policy Institute reported that limited English proficient individuals in Wyoming totaled 9,428 in 2010, or 1.8 percent of the total population, a 29.8 percent increase since 1990.
Further, the National Center for Education Statistics reported a total of 2,706 English Language Learners (ELLs) in Wyoming public schools during the 2011-12 school year, or 3 percent of the state’s total student enrollment.
Licensed educators in Wyoming may seek an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement for their Wyoming teaching license through the Wyoming Department of Education. To receive an ESL endorsement, teachers must complete an ESL program, either as a stand-alone program or as part of graduate or post-baccalaureate program. ESL endorsement in Wyoming involves the completion of the following courses:
- Language teaching and social context
- Second language acquisition
- ESL theory and methods I
- ESL theory and methods II
The National Education Association reported the beginning salary for teachers in Wyoming, including ESL teachers, as $28,295 and the average teacher salary as $43,255.
The Wyoming School Boards Association also released statistics for the 2014-15 school year that revealed base salaries for current teachers in the state ranging from $39,000 to $51,000.
Addition salary information can be found on the following Bureau of Labor Statistics table, which details salaries for educators who fall under the category of Adult, Basic, and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers, including ESL teachers: