TESL Canada Federation National Professional Certification Standards

TESL Canada National Certification Standards for Instructors of English as a Second Language or Foreign Language in Adult Programs were developed for instructors trained in Canada. TESL Canada National Professional Certification Standards represent a teacher-driven initiative to create basic, minimum national standards. Some provinces currently have professional certification systems in place. A TESL Canada professional certificate does not replace provincial professional certificates where they exist. Professionals can choose to hold both TESL Canada and provincial organization certificates.

 

Purpose

The purpose of TESL is to promote excellence in the teaching and learning of English as a Second Language across Canada by promoting professional certification standards that are recognized in all provinces.

Developed through participation and feedback across the ESL field, these standards address the professional context of Canadian ESL educators. TESL Canada recognizes that Canadian ESL delivery varies widely in structure and specifics and looks forward to the continuing development of these standards through feedback and the appeal process.

TESL Canada national standards provide a national focus on standards for all ESL educators and encourage high levels of participation in an accreditation system that recognizes and values the diversity of approach to ESL instruction in its many settings. Since their implementation in May 2002, the TESL Canada National Professional Certification Standards are continuing to be the authoritative base for evaluation and comparison of ESL teacher training in Canada.

Benefits
The TESL Canada National Professional Certification Standards benefit educators by helping ensure that:

  • TESL training and ESL teaching experience are recognized as main professional benchmarks of Canadian ESL educators

  • Teaching credentials are recognized not only from province to province but by virtue of their national status, from country to country.

  • Credentials are recognized by international students when they compare faculty at post-secondary schools and language institutes across Canada before their arrival in Canada. As a result, programs which hire qualified professionals will attract more students.
  • Qualifications are valued appropriately by government and non-government funders when educators request financial support for awards, scholarships, and projects.

 
Pre-2006 Certification Exceptions 

TESL Canada certificants who have received TESL Canada Professional Certification prior to 2006 will have been awarded Levels One, Two, Three or Four. They are not required to re-apply for accreditation under the revised standards; they may opt, if they prefer, to retain their certification status under the pre-2006 guidelines.  To review the pre 2006 certification levels please see Appendix A

 

 

TESL CANADA FEDERATION NATIONAL PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION STANDARDS

DEFINITION OF TERMS

1.   TESL Canada Recognized Teacher Training Programs

The minimum criteria include: (for Professional Standard One)

  • a minimum of 100 hours of theory and methodology, and

  • a practicum of a minimum of 20 hours (10 hours of observation and 10 hours of teaching) supervised by an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One, Two or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of experience in adult ESL/EFL classrooms. The practicum must be in an adult ESL classroom (adult classroom with a minimum of five students, 80% of which are over 18 years of age with a minimum of five students). This does not include teaching the provincially mandated K-12 curriculum.

Note:  this training may be part of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

 Name of Standard

Requirements

Professional Standard One [Interim]

University degree + 100 hrs. (methodology and theory) and a minimum of 20 hrs. in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum

Professional Standard One [Permanent]

University degree + 100 hrs. (methodology and theory) and a minimum of 20 hrs. in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum + 1000 hrs of teaching experience + positive performance reviews

Professional Standard Two [Interim]

University degree + 250 hours (methodology and theory) and a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum

(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

Professional Standard Two [Permanent]

University degree + 250 hours (methodology and theory) and a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum + 1,500 hours of teaching experience (500 hours maximum in adult ESL/EFL program administration) + positive performance reviews 

(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

Professional Standard Three [Interim]

Master’s in Applied Linguistics or TESOL and a minimum of 20 hrs in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum

Professional Standard Three [Permanent]

Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics or TESOL and a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum or a minimum Professional Standard One [Interim] plus a Master’s degree in a related field + 2000 hours of adult ESL/EFL teaching experience (1000 hours max. in adult ESL/EFL program administration or adult ESL/EFL teacher training) + positive performance reviews

(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

 

List of TESL Canada Recognized Programs

*CELTA

Graduates of The University of Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from an institution not recognized by TESL Canada are eligible to apply for Certification through the regular application process. An additional administrative fee of $100 will be charged in these cases in order for TESL Canada administration to review information regarding the program that would have otherwise been submitted if the program had been through the TESL Canada Teacher Training Program Recognition process. Provided the CELTA Program is assessed at TESL Canada Standards, the applicant will be granted TESL Canada Certification without being referred to PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition).

*MASTERS/ DOCTORAL DEGREE

All masters/doctoral graduates in TESL or equivalent with a demonstrated background in adult education, with appropriate practicum, from a Canadian institution which is a member in good standing of the AUCC are eligible for TESL Canada Standard Three [Interim] upon application. These programs are listed on our list of recognized programs. Please complete the application form for Professional Certification Standard Three [Interim or Permanent]

List of Standard Three Programs

*TRAINING COMPLETED PRIOR TO PROGRAM'S RECOGNITION

Applicants who completed their training prior to their programs’ TESL Canada recognition will be referred back to the program to determine equivalency. The TESL training program director must confirm that the program you completed is equivalent to the program now recognized. If it is not equivalent, the gaps must be identified and completed before certification can be granted.

 

2.    ESL Teacher Experience Hours

This does not include teaching in the public/private K-12 school system, volunteer work, or practicum hours.

  • Classroom Teaching:                1 full-time year =  a minimum of 800 hours
  • Administration:                        1 full-time year =  a minimum of 1400 hours
  • Classroom Hour:                      A minimum of 50 minutes
  • Classroom Size:                       A minimum of 5 students

Applicants need to provide documentation of adult ESL/EFL classroom teaching experience if applying for Standards One, Two, or Three (Permanent). Documentation can consist of teaching contracts, employment records, letters from supervisors indicating the number of hours taught at the school, or pay stubs.

 

3.   Positive Performance Reviews

A Positive Performance Review must include:

-One TESL Canada Classroom Observation Report or equivalent, and

-One of the following:

a)  A professional letter of reference from a supervisor indicating positive performance

b)  A general letter from the institution indicating that positive performance reviews are on file

c)  A second TESL Canada Classroom Observation Report or equivalent

Reviews must demonstrate competency in an adult ESL/EFL classroom with a minimum of 5 students. The reviews must be from two different sources observing or reporting on at least two separate occasions.

The performance reviews should arrive at TESL Canada office in the following way:

  1. Mailed in a sealed envelope from the institution
  2. Email as an attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. from an official email address of the organization with the applicant's name in the subject line. (Attachments from personal email address will not be accepted)
  3. Faxed directly by the institution

 

4.  Official Documents

Undergraduate or Graduate Degree Transcripts:

Official transcripts must be sealed in an envelope by the degree-granting institution.

Transcripts that are received unsealed will not be accepted. Photocopies are not acceptable unless embossed with the official seal and signed by an official of the institution.

Note:  Applicants with degree(s) from outside of Canada must provide Canadian equivalency from a credential evaluation service. Please see FAQ for more details.

TESL Training:

Official transcripts or certified copies of the certificate are required.

English Language Proficiency Scores:

TESL Canada only accepts valid official scores. Any ELP test result provided must be current (scores completed more than two calendar years previous will not be accepted). Notarized copies of any of the above documents are accepted.

 

English Lang Proficiency Tests     

Score – Program Trainees

TOEFL iBT Overall 101 with a minimum of 23 in Listening, 24 in Reading, 27 in Speaking and 27 in Writing
Or IELTS Academic

Overall 7 with a minimum of 7 in each skill area

Or completion of an undergraduate degree from an English-speaking university  in one of the following countries: Canada, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cameroon, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nigeria, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Saint Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St.Vincent, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom, United States, Uganda, US Virgin Islands, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

 

5. PLAR – Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Applicants whose training was completed at an institution not on our list of recognized teacher training program can apply to TESL Canada for certification. They will not be eligible to apply under the TESL Canada certification scheme because their training is not from a recognized program, but will be recommended to PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition). A TESL Canada PLAR adjudicator will review an applicant's experience and training to determine equivalency. If the adjudicator finds a component(s) lacking from an applicant's portfolio he/she will recommend the course(s) of action needed to meet TESL Canada standards. Once applicants have been assessed through PLAR, they will be granted certification if a) their application is deemed equivalent to TESL Canada standards, or b) the missing requirements are provided in the prescribed length of time. The cost of the PLAR assessment is $290.

 

6.  TESL Ontario Certificants Streamlined Application Process

TESL Ontario certificants are eligible to apply for TESL Canada Certification through a streamlined process. Holders of a TESL Ontario Certificate applying for Professional Standard Two [Interim] may select the streamlined process when directed to do so by the TESL Canada online system. This type of application is subject to a reduced application fee of $45 + HST that will cover the direct costs of the streamlined administrative process.

TESL Ontario certificants who have sufficient experience to meet the requirements of TESL Canada Standard Two [Permanent] or who have relevant Master’s degrees for Standard Three certification will follow the usual path for permanent or Standard Three certification and pay the full $90 fee. If applying for TESL Canada Standard Two or Three [Permanent], or Standard Three [Interim], applicants should complete the additional sections of the application requested by the online system.

 

OVERVIEW OF STANDARDS

 

Name of Standard Details of Eligibility

Professional Standard One [Interim]

The Professional Certificate: Standard One [Interim] is intended to recognize ESL/EFL educators who have completed an undergraduate degree and a Standard One TESL Canada recognized TESL training program.

The Professional Certificate: Standard One [Interim] may be granted upon presentation of certified evidence of:

Completion of an undergraduate degree at an accredited post-secondary institution, and

Completion of a TESL Canada Recognized TESL Training  Program which includes:

A minimum of 100 hours of theory and methodology and

A supervised practicum of a minimum of 20 hours (10 hours of observation and 10 hours of teaching under the supervision of an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One, Two, or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of adult ESL/EFL classroom experience  or equivalent.)

Note:  Item (2) may be part of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Professional Standard One [Permanent]

The Professional Certificate: Standard One [Permanent] is intended to recognize ESL/EFL educators who have completed an undergraduate degree and a Standard One TESL Canada recognized TESL training program. Applicants must also have completed 1,000 hours of adult ESL classroom teaching experience in an adult ESL/EFL classroom.

The Professional Certificate: Standard One [Permanent] may be granted upon presentation of certified evidence of:

Completion of an undergraduate degree at an accredited post-secondary institution, and

Completion of a TESL Canada Recognized TESL Training  Program which includes:

A minimum of 100 hours of theory and methodology and

A supervised practicum of a minimum of 20 hours (10 hours of observation and 10 hours of teaching under the supervision of an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate:  Standard One, Two, or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of adult ESL/EFL classroom experience or equivalent.), and

Completion of 1,000 hours of teaching experience in an adult ESL/EFL classroom.

Positive Performance Reviews.

  

Note:  Item (2) may be part of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Professional Standard Two [Interim]

The Professional Certificate: Standard Two [Interim] is intended to recognize ESL/EFL educators who have completed an undergraduate degree and a Standard Two TESL Canada recognized TESL training program.

The Professional Certificate: Standard Two [Interim] may be granted upon presentation of certified evidence of:

Completion of an undergraduate degree at an accredited post-secondary institution, and

Completion of a Standard Two TESL Canada Recognized TESL Training  Program which includes:

   

A minimum of 250 hours of theory and methodology and

A supervised practicum of a minimum of 20 hours (10 hours of observation and 10 hours of teaching under the supervision of an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One, Two, or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of experience in adult ESL/EFL classrooms or equivalent).

Note:  Item (2) may be part of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

Professional Standard Two [Permanent]

The Professional Certificate: Standard Two [Permanent]  is intended to recognize ESL/EFL educators who have completed an undergraduate degree and a Standard Two TESL Canada recognized teacher training program. Applicants must also have completed 1,500 hours of adult ESL classroom teaching experience.

The Professional Certificate: Standard Two [Permanent] may be granted upon presentation of certified evidence of:

Completion of an undergraduate degree at an accredited post-secondary institution, and

Completion of a TESL Canada Recognized TESL Training  Program which includes:

A minimum of 250 hours of theory and methodology and

A supervised practicum of a minimum of 20 hours (10 hours of observation and 10 hours of teaching under the supervision of an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One, Two, or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of adult ESL/EFL classroom experience or equivalent.), and *

Completion of 1,500 hours of teaching experience in an adult ESL/EFL classroom (1000 hours minimum in the adult ESL/EFL classroom; the balance may be in adult ESL/EFL program administration or adult ESL/EFL teacher training), and

Positive Performance Reviews.

*Note:  Item (2) may be part of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

Professional Standard Three [Interim]

The Professional Certificate: Standard Three [Interim] is intended to recognize ESL/EFL educators who have completed a Master’s/Doctoral degree in TESL or equivalent with a demonstrated background in adult education from a Canadian institution which is a member in good standing of Universities Canada , and a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum.

The Professional Certificate: Standard Three [Interim] may be granted upon presentation of certified evidence of:

Completion of a Master’s/Doctoral degree in TESL or equivalent from a Canadian institution which is a member in good standing of Universities Canada ,

Demonstrated background in adult education, and

Completion of a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum (10 hours of classroom observation and 10 hours of teaching under the supervision of an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One, Two, or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of adult ESL/EFL classroom experience or equivalent.)*

*(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

Professional Standard Three [Permanent]

The Professional Certificate: Standard Three [Permanent] is intended to recognize ESL/EFL educators with a demonstrated background in adult education from a Canadian institution which is a member in good standing of Universities Canada, who have completed a Master’s/Doctoral degree in TESL or equivalent, a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum, and 2,000 hours of teaching experience

The Professional Certificate: Standard Three [Permanent] may be granted upon presentation of certified evidence of:

Completion of a Master’s/Doctoral degree in TESL or equivalent from a Canadian institution which is a member in good standing of Universities Canada ,

Demonstrated background in adult education, and

Completion of a minimum of 20 hours in a supervised adult ESL/EFL classroom practicum (10 hours of teaching under the supervision of an instructor certified at a minimum of TESL Canada Professional Certificate: Standard One, Two, or Three [Permanent] with at least 2,000 hours of adult ESL/EFL classroom experience or equivalent.)*

Completion of 2,000 hours of teaching experience (1,000 hours minimum in an adult ESL/EFL classroom; the balance may be in adult ESL/EFL program administration or adult ESL/EFL teacher training).

Positive Performance Reviews

*(Note: after September 1, 2017, 50 hours of practicum minimum – 30 hours of classroom observation and 20 hours of supervised teaching. Up to half of the observation and teaching hours may be done in online synchronous environments.)

OR

The requirements of Professional Standard One or Two,

Completion of a Master’s degree or PhD in a related field at an accredited post-secondary institution,

Completion of 2,000 hours of teaching experience (1,000 hours minimum in the adult ESL/EFL classroom; the balance may be in adult ESL/EFL program administration or adult ESL/EFL teacher training), and

Positive Performance Reviews. 

 

Required Documents


Documents Required
  Standard One Interim Standard One Permanent Standard Two Interim Standard Two Permanent Standard Three Interim

Standard

Three

Permanent

Proof of TESL Canada Membership    

Transcript of Bachelor Degree

(Canadian University)

   
TESL Program (Official Transcripts or certified copies of certificates required)    

Transcript of Master in TESL/Applied Linguistics

(Canadian University)

           

Proof of Practicum Completion

Section #1

Applicants who have completed Bachelor or Master degree in TESL or   

Applied Linguistics will have to provide a letter of practicum completion

from their institution/s.

Canadian Equivalency Report

Applicants who have completed bachelor degree outside Canada must

provide Canadian equivalency from a credential evaluation service.

Please see FAQ # 4 for more details.

English Language Proficiency Score (ELP)

Applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree from a

university where the language of instruction and administration was not

English will have to submit an ELP Score

Proof of Teaching Hours

Section #2

 

(1,000 hours)

 

(1,500 hours)

 

(2,000 hours)

Classroom Observation Report (Sample)      

Positive Performance Review

Section #3

     

 

 

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

 

 1.           Membership:    

Applicants in Canada must be members of a TESL Canada Provincial or Territorial Organization, i.e. ATESL,  TESL Saskatchewan, TEAL Manitoba, TEAM, TESL New Brunswick, TESL Nova Scotia and TESL Newfoundland/Labrador. 

Applicants applying from British Columbia, Ontario, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island and Quebec can choose to become a member TESL Canada directly. TESL Canada Individual Membership is valid for one year.

International applicants may apply for TESL Canada International membership. TESL Canada membership fee is US$62.00 for residents outside of Canada and United States and US$58.00 for international applicants residing in the United States.

 

To become a member of TESL Canada click here

2.             Review of Applications 

Applications are reviewed by a TESL Canada Professional Standards Adjudicator. 

3.             Review Periods

Applications are reviewed twice a month.  It is anticipated that complete applications will be processed within four to six weeks of receipt.

4.             Application Fee                

The non-refundable application fee for a life-time certificate is $94.50 ($90.00 plus $4.50 GST) if applying from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, or the Yukon   

                or

Payment of $101.70 ($90.00 plus $11.70 HST) if applying from Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland/Labrador                 

                or

                Payment of $103.50 ($90.00 plus 13.50 HST) if applying from Nova Scotia   

 

or

                Payment of $90.00 U.S. if applying from outside Canada

               

Payment must be included with the application: VISA, MasterCard, or American Express are accepted online.

Confidentiality        

        

All documentation will be kept confidential.  Documentation will be returned to the applicant upon completion of the application process.  It is recommended that applicants retain a personal copy of the completed application and all documentation.

Awarding of Certificates

Successful applicants will receive a certificate at the appropriate standard.

Appeals  

            

Applicants who do not meet the requirements will receive a letter of explanation.  An applicant who is denied a certificate, or who is denied a certificate at the standard requested, may appeal to the TESL Canada Professional Standards Appeal Committee by submitting a letter along with documentation to TESL Canada.  Appeals must be submitted within 6 months of notification of being denied.

The fee for Appeals is $50.00 plus applicable taxes for the applicant’s province or US $50.00 if applying from outside Canada. 

The undergraduate degree requirement may not be challenged by appeal.

PLAR – Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Applicants whose education and training was completed at an institution not on TESL Canada’s list of recognized teacher training programs can apply to TESL Canada and may be referred to PLAR. The TESL Canada PLAR adjudicator will review such applicants’ prior education, training and experience to determine equivalency. TESL Canada will follow the PLAR Adjudicator’s recommendation. The PLAR process will be outlined in a letter of explanation (Form A) which applicants may receive after applying to TESL Canada. For any questions, please contact the office by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone at 1-800-393-9199.  

Upgrading to a Higher Standard

Applicants may upgrade to a higher standard by submitting documentation of additional teaching/administration hours, education, and/or performance reviews.  The non-refundable fee for upgrading is $94.50 ($90.00 plus $4.50 GST) if applying from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, or the Yukon         

                or

$101.70 ($90.00 plus $11.70 HST) if applying from Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland/Labrador                 

                or

           $103.50 ($90.00 plus 13.50 HST) if applying from Nova Scotia   

                or

            $90.00 U.S. if applying from outside Canada

 

10.    TESL Ontario

TESL Ontario certificants are eligible to apply for TESL Canada Certification through a streamlined process.

If you have a TESL Ontario Certificate of Accreditation and are applying for Professional Standard Two [Interim] our online system will direct you to the correct portion of the application from. This application is subject to a reduced application fee of $45 + HST that will cover the direct costs of the streamlined administrative process.

TESL Ontario certificants who have enough experience to meet the requirements of TESL Canada Standard Two [Permanent] or who have relevant Master’s degrees for Standard Three certification will follow the usual path for permanent or Standard Three certification and pay the full $90 fee. However, their TESL Ontario certificate will be taken as the necessary proof that all essential academic and practicum requirements have been met, thus making the process less complex than it is for those who have not achieved TESL Ontario certified status.

 

For further information, please contact:

TESL Canada Federation
376 Churchill Avenue North, Suite 208
Ottawa, ON
K1Z 5C3

Phone: 1-800-393-9199

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website:  www.tesl.ca

 

 

How to Apply:

 

1.             Using the Certification Application            

1.1 Interim Application

Applicants must provide:

a)  General Information Form (the front page of our online application form)

b)  Standard One, Standard Two, or Standard Three application form based on TESL training. 

c)  Supporting documentation (example – transcripts, certificate, ELP score, etc.) 

1.2 Permanent Application

Applicants must provide:

a)  General Information Form

b)  Standard One, Standard Two, or Standard Three application form based on TESL training.  The form for permanent status will have an additional section  where applicants can outline their adult ESL/EFL classroom experience and, where applicable for Standards Two and Three, program administrative hours. Information on performance reviews is also requested in this section.

c)  Supporting documentation (example - transcripts, performance reviews, classroom observation report form)            

PHOTOCOPIES OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION (UNIVERSITY TRANSCRIPTS, TESL TRAINING TRANSCRIPTS AND PERFORMANCE REVIEWS) ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE. NOTARIZED COPIES WILL BE ACCEPTED.                                             

Pre-2006 Levels

Prior to January 1, 2006 TESL Canada awarded Certificate Levels One, Two, Three and Four. For an explanation of the pre-2006 Levels in pdf format, please click here.