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TESOL Frequently Asked Questions

How does the NVCC TESOL Program compare with other TESOL courses?

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. Workforce Development’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).

I don’t have any experience in the field of TESOL. Is this program suitable for me?

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.

When do the classes run?

Most workshops run on Saturday from 9:00am–4:00pm with the exception of Practicum 1 and Practicum 2.

How many hours is this program?

126 hours of instruction + supervised teaching + observation

  • 106 hours of direct instruction
    • 17 in-person workshops
      • Peer to peer team teaching 
      • Written lesson plan assignments 
    • 20 hours TESOL Practicum 
      • 10 hours of ESL supervised teaching at the American College & Language Institute (ACLI) at NOVA (TESOL Practicum 1) 
      • 10 hours of peer-to-peer individual teaching (Practicum 2) 
  • 10 hour of ESL classroom observation in adult ESL programs in the DC region

Do I have to take the workshops in a certain order?

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.

How do I register for workshops?

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 this criteria:

  1. Reached the age of 60
  2. Lived in Virginia for one year.
  3. Visited a NOVA Workforce office in person 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 at the campus where the TESOL workshop is to be held on the Friday before the class between the hours of 2-4pm 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. 

What is the attendance policy?

Students are expected to attend at least 90% of each workshop. That means that students who arrive more than 10% late will need to complete a make-up assignment created and graded by the department.  

How can I find my grades/schedule?

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

What if I have to miss a workshop in TESOL 1? Do I have to wait until the next semester?

The workshops are designed to be taken in order. Two TESOL 1 workshops are mandatory: Introduction to TESOL and Lesson Planning. Passing Lesson Planning enables you to register for TESOL 2 workshops. If you must miss a workshop (with the exception of Introduction toTESOL and Lesson Planning) you can make it up the next semester.

I started the program a (semester, year(s)) ago. Which requirements do I need to complete?

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.  

Do my online classes count toward completion?

teaching Vocabulary, Materials Adaptation, and TESOL review counts toward completion. However, Ed2Go and other online courses do not. 

I started the program at another institution, Do these courses count toward completion in NOVA's TESOL program?

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. 

I am currently volunteer teaching or tutoring. Do I need to complete Practicum 1 and 2?

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