English as a Second Language (ESL) Licensure

The English as a Second Language program prepares ESL specialists who are licensed to teach English learners.  The program also prepares ESL teachers to evaluate, and when and if necessary, revise the existing ESL programs or create an ESL program, when needed. In line with the tradition of Cardinal Stritch University preparing teachers for the state of Wisconsin and in response to local and national teacher shortages in ESL, the College of Education and Leadership offers a program leading to Wisconsin state licensure in English as a Second Language (395). The program consists of 14 credits of coursework including a two-credit practicum that will be conducted in a setting where English learners are present. Courses are offered online or blended model for one night a week for eight weeks. Coursework may begin in fall, spring, or summer.

Courses Are Available


Program Details

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1. Candidates will learn and apply modifications to instruction that would facilitate English learners’ education.
2. Candidates will become familiar with different tests developed for English learners such as WIDA, Access for ELLs 2.0, Interpretive Guide for Score Reports.
3. Candidates will develop and deliver lesson plans for English learners.
4. Candidates will learn and apply assessment and instruction to ensure instructional improvements for English Learners.
5. Teacher candidates will develop an understanding of the history of immigration and teaching immigrant children in the United States.
6. Teacher candidates will develop an in-depth understanding of how politics and practices have an impact on the education of all children and specifically English learners.
7. Teacher candidates will learn about how they, as educators or members of the society, have a role to play in improving the education of English learners.
8. Develop an understanding of the perception of English learners in the classroom.
9. Understand how to work better communicate with English learners using their knowledge of linguistics.
10. Be able to use development appropriate language in teaching all students including English learners.
11. Teacher candidates become proficient in evaluating a program for teaching EL students
12. Teacher candidates assist in identifying shortcomings possibly existing in a program
13. Teacher candidates will be able to facilitate the development of a program plan/guide
14. ESL teachers recognize the processes through which languages are acquired in both formal and informal context.
15. ESL teachers are teaching content to the English learners.

Additional Information

According to Fast Facts, 10% of all public school students in the United States are English learners, but less than 1% of teachers are ESL licensed. The number of English Language Learners in the state of Wisconsin participating in ESL programs increased from 26,424 in the 2003-2004 academic year to 42,711 in the 2013-2014 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Data shared at the October 28, 2016 meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (WACTE) meeting listed the Top 10 Subjects for Wisconsin Emergency Licenses and Emergency Permits. English as a Second Language was number 5 on that list, indicating that there is a need at the state level for licensed ESL teachers. A total of 104 emergency ESL licenses and permits were issued in 2015-2016 compared to 72 the previous academic year suggesting a 44% increase in the number of emergency licenses and permits issued.

Licensure is available at the following developmental levels:

  • Early Childhood-Middle Childhood English as a Second Language; licensure code 71-395
  • Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence English as a Second Language; licensure code 72-395
  • Early Adolescence-Adolescence English as a Second Language; licensure code 73-395

Transfer Credits You Already Earned

A maximum of nine graduate credits may be transferred from another accredited degree-granting institution. Download our guide that explains credit acquisition.

Application Process and Requirements

Academic and Professional Requirements 

Prior Education
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale (probationary acceptance may be granted).

Admissions Application and Transcripts

Complete the Admissions Application
  • Submit the admissions application which is free to complete online. Applications for this program are reviewed on a rolling basis so allow sufficient time before the start of your program for consideration.

Request Transcripts
  • Have official transcripts from each college or university you attended delivered directly to the Office of Admissions. Cardinal Stritch University alumni and current students should inquire with the admission counselor about locating transcripts already on file.
  • Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States require a course-by-course evaluation with GPA. Request the official report from ECE or WES to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Allow time for the evaluation to be completed since it could take 4-6 weeks to be created.

Send Application Materials to Admissions

Submit the application online and have additional materials sent to:

Cardinal Stritch University
Graduate Admissions
6801 N. Yates Road, #516
Milwaukee, WI  53217-3985

Funding Your Education

Stritch is competitively priced to help students complete certificate and licensure programs. Counselors in our Financial Aid Office know how to help students identify all options available for funding their education.

Alumni Network

More than 38,000 Stritch alumni are recognized worldwide for their leadership roles in businesses, health care organizations, corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profit organizations. Responsive to the needs of their communities, Stritch graduates are critical thinkers, ethical decision-makers and lifelong learners.