Teach English with NOVA's TESOL Certificate Program

NOVA's Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate Program prepares you to teach English as a Second Language to adults by combining language acquisition theory with guided teaching practice from experienced instructors with advanced degrees. NOVA's TESOL Certificate Program meets TESOL International Association's most recent Standards for Short-Term TEFL/TESL Certificate Programs (published in 2015).

Why study TESOL at NOVA?

Setting up your teaching practicum is easy! NOVA Workforce's TESOL Certificate Program gives student teachers 10 hours of supervised practice ESL teaching in our American Culture & Language Institute (ACLI). TESOL graduates have gone on to teach locally and around the world!

To earn a TESOL Certificate from NOVA Workforce, participants must complete TESOL 1, TESOL 2, and TESOL 3.

After completing this certificate, you are qualified to teach English as a second language to adults in an adult education setting, such as a community-based program, community college language institute (non-credit), or proprietary school in the U.S. or abroad.

NOTE: The TESOL certificate does not provide credentialing for K-12 or to teach ESL for credit. Early Childhood (VA-ECAP) classes are not part of the TESOL Certificate Program.

The TESOL program is now hybrid! Learn online and practice teaching ESL in a NOVA classroom!

  • The TESOL program runs year-round.
  • New students join the program to complete TESOL 1 in Summer through Fall semesters.
  • Continuing students complete TESOL 2 and 3 in the Spring and Summer semesters.
  • Workshops run on Saturday mornings.
Register for TESOL

TESOL Certificate Program

The TESOL program requires potential students to possess a strong working knowledge of English grammar to succeed.

  • All students must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Proof of English proficiency level via one of the following:
    • A US college diploma, including successful completion of freshman composition.

    • A Placement test:
      • Native English Speakers: Take the English Placement Advising Survey.
      • Non-Native English Speakers:
        • Take NOVA's English Placement for Multilingual Learners by emailing NOVATesting@nvcc.edu. The score must be College ESL Level 5 or higher. College Level 4 and lower are not eligible to register.
        • Take the Duolingo English Test. The score must be 85 Points or higher.
        • Take the TOEFL iBT. The score must be 59 or higher. Scores 58 and below are not eligible to register.
        • Take the IELTS. The score must be 5.5 or higher. Scores 5.0 and below are not eligible to register.


These workshops are to be taken before TESOL 2 & 3.

  • 1-1 Introduction to TESOL
  • 1-2 ELT Methodology
  • 1-3 English Grammar in ESL
  • 1-4 English Pronunciation in ESL
  • 1-5 Teaching Speaking & Listening
  • 1-6 Teaching Reading & Writing
  • 1-7 Teaching Grammar
  • 1-8 Teaching Pronunciation
  • 1-9 Lesson Planning


These workshops are to be taken after successfully completing TESOL 1.

  • 2-1 Assessing English Proficiency
  • 2-2 Culture as Course Content
  • 2-3 Using Technology in ESL
  • 2-4 Teaching Entry-Level Students
  • 2-5 Classroom Management
  • 2-6 Material Adaptation
  • 2-7 TESOL Practicum 1 (supervised teaching in an ESL classroom)


These workshops are taken after successfully completing TESOL 1 & 2.

  • 3-1 TESOL Practicum 2
  • 3-2 TESOL Portfolio

Frequently Asked Questions

No. In a remote synchronous class (Learn @Home), students attend via Zoom at the class time/day for discussions and interactive tasks. You also complete homework and required reading before classes on Canvas. There is not an asynchronous (independent study) option for the TESOL Certificate Program.

TESOL International Association recommends that certificate courses be at least 100 hours, include a practicum placement with ESL students, and be taught by qualified instructors. NOVA Workforce's TESOL Certificate Program meets the standards set out in TESOL International Association’s 2015 Standards for Short Term TESL/TEFL Certificate Programs.

Northern Virginia Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC).

Yes. The TESOL Certificate caters to individuals interested in a career change or seeking to refresh their skills. If you are interested in teaching and have strong English skills, this program will prepare you to work with adult English Language Learners. To apply for this program you must have completed high school, although a BA/BA is often required to teach in the U.S.

Most workshops run on Saturday mornings, with exception of Practicum 1.

126 hours of instruction + supervised teaching + observation

  • 18 workshops
    • Peer to peer team teaching during most workshops
    • Written lesson plans and other written assignments
  • 30 hours TESOL Practicum
    • 10 hours of ESL supervised teaching at the American Culture & Language Institute (ACLI) at NOVA (Practicum 1)
    • 10 hours of peer-to-peer individual teaching (Practicum 2)
    • 10 hours of ESL classroom observation in adult ESL programs in the DC region (Portfolio)

The program is designed to be taken in order. Students complete Introduction to TESOL before registering for other workshops. Visit MyWorkforce to learn about individual workshop prerequisites. 

  • Registration for the additional workshops in TESOL 1 opens after successfully completing Introduction to TESOL.
  • Registration for the workshops in TESOL 2 opens after successfully completing Lesson Planning.
  • Registration for the workshops in TESOL 3 opens after successfully completing Practicum 1.

You can pay and register for workshops within each part of the program: TESOL1, TESOL 2, and TESOL 3 via MyWorkforce.

  • Registration for the additional workshops in TESOL 1 opens after successfully completing Introduction to TESOL.
  • Registration for the workshops in TESOL 2 opens after successfully completing Lesson Planning.
  • Registration for the workshops in TESOL 3 opens after successfully completing Practicum 1.
  1. Create a profile in our online registration system “MyWorkforce”.
  2. TESOL classes are in the “Professional Education & Training” category, “Teaching & Education” subcategory.

You pay for each class at the time you register, and you must pay for a class in full before attending. Students cannot audit NOVA Workforce classes. Students can pay with Visa, Master Card, and American Express via MyWorkforce. TESOL Certificate workshops are not covered by financial aid or the Workforce Financial Assistance grant.

Workforce Development's general refund policy applies to all TESOL workshops. For refunds, please email wddrefunds@nvcc.edu.  E-mail your request at least 4 calendar days prior to the class session and we will gladly refund your tuition after we receive your written request.  Refunds will be issued depending on the form of payment. If you pay with a credit card, the refund will be credited to your card within 10 business days. All other refunds are issued in the form of a check made payable to the student and will be sent from Richmond to your mailing address within 2-4 weeks.

Senior citizens can apply to take three (3) tuition-free classes per semester once they meet these criteria:

  1. Reached the age of 60
  2. Lived in Virginia for one year.
  3. Visited a NOVA Workforce office and completed the Senior Citizen Certification of Eligibility for Free Tuition form. 

NOTE: Completing the Senior Citizen Certification of Eligibility for Free Tuition form does not guarantee a place in a TESOL workshop. Students must call the NOVA Workforce office on the Friday before the class between the hours of 2-4 pm to determine if space is available and secure their senior registration for the class. Seniors will receive an email confirmation of their tuition-free registration. Tuition-paying students are accommodated before senior citizens are enrolled. 

Students are expected to attend at least 70% of the course to be eligible for CEUs. Attendance is confirmed when students arrive in class (both remote and in-person). While students are not required to turn on their cameras in remote classes, students will be asked to confirm their attendance at the beginning of each class session and participate during the class.

For students who will be absent, please contact the instructor as soon as possible to notify them of your absence and to access course materials and/or assignments you may have missed.  

Grades and schedules can be found through MyWorkforce and view “My Transcript” or “My Schedule.”

The workshops are designated to be taken in order: TESOL 1, 2 & 3. To stay on track, students are expected to read the course materials (and watch the recorded class session for virtual classes) and complete all required homework for that session.

To earn a TESOL Certificate, you need to successfully complete TESOL 1, 2, and 3. Previous workshops (Teaching Vocabulary, Realia, Content ESL) can be substituted for TESOL 2 workshops with the exception of TESOL Practicum 1. TESOL Review is now called TESOL Portfolio - it is a name change only and counts toward completion.

As the TESOL program focuses primarily on Task-Based Language Teaching and Problem-Based Language Teaching, we are not able to transfer prior learning toward certificate completion.

Yes. To meet TESOL International's standards for short-term TESL/TESL programs, students need to complete a practicum.