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College of Education - Certificate of Graduate Study (COGS) in English as a Second Language (ESL)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need to speak another language to teach ESL?
No, to successfully teach ESL, you only need to speak, read, and write English. In order to be certified as a Bilingual/Bicultural teacher, you must be proficient in a second language. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a bilingual teacher, click here.

Do I receive a teaching certification upon completion?
Yes, upon successful completion, candidates are recommended for a New Jersey K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) or Standard certificate, depending on the license(s) they currently hold. Candidates are required to receive a B- or better in each course in order to complete the program.

How long does it take to complete the program?
Most candidates complete the program in 12 to 24 months, depending on how many courses they take each semester. Our courses are accelerated and run as 8-week modules. We typically offer two 8-week courses per semester. Field experience courses (Practicum & Internship) run over the full 16-week semester.

When can I begin?
Each year we identify specific start dates. Click here to see the most updated start dates for the ESL COGS program. Make sure to attend to all application deadlines; applications are considered when all required materials have been received. See the Admissions Requirements page for all required items.

Can I take courses prior to be accepted? You can take up to 2 courses as a non-matriculated student (prior to admission) with approval from the ESL COGS program coordinator.

I’m an undergraduate. Is there an option for me?
Undergraduate students use the senior privilege to register for 3 credits of graduate coursework per semester (not to exceed a total of 6 credits) when they have accumulated at least 90 credits with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above.  Student must also have permission from their academic advisor and fill out the Undergraduate Request to take a Graduate Course form, available here.

Is a Praxis test required for certification?
No, there is no Praxis exam requirement, but for NJ ESL certification, and for program admission, candidates are required to pass the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) in English. These tests are administered by Language Testing International, but can be proctored at the Camden campus. For more information on the tests, click Here. If you would prefer to seek out your own proctor (this can be done at a K-12 school setting), further information on the testing through LTI is available here.

What if I do not want to work in K-12 settings?
The program focuses on teaching English Learners of all ages and developmental levels. Although much of the coursework focuses on K-12 learners, program faculty make a specific effort to adapt the program content to those who hope to teach adult learners and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) abroad.

I noticed that there are two options for the field experience. What is the difference?
In most cases, candidates who have not previously completed a traditional, full-semester student teaching experience will need to take the 6-credit Clinical Internship course. In Clinical Internship, you will be placed with a certified ESL cooperating teacher and will spend a full semester as an intern in a NJ elementary, middle or high school. For those who have completed a student teaching experience for a license they have previously received, a 1-credit Practicum course is required. The Practicum course requires 70-hours of hands-on teaching experience. We work with all candidates, in conjunction with the Office of Field Experiences, to find appropriate school placements.

I am teaching under a provisional license. Is Rowan an NJDOE approved program for ESL?
Yes, the program is approved through the NJDOE for both ESL and the bilingual/bicultural certifications. Candidates with a provisional license or CE must complete the 21-credit program (which includes a 6-credit Clinical Internship.) The Internship may be completed in the candidate’s school of employment. The Internship includes rigorous mentoring and evaluation from a university-based supervisor over a course of one 16-week semester.

What if I am a full time teacher?
The majority of our program candidates are teaching K-12 full time. We help candidates who are not teaching ESL during the day to secure placements either inside or outside of their district of employment. We also have summer, after school, and evening options for practicum completion.

When are courses held, and where?
All of our courses are held at Rowan University’s Camden campus, at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge in the University District. Courses are always held on Tuesday nights, from 4:30 – 8:45, except for one course required for Bilingual/Bicultural certification (BLED 40.521 Bilingual Education: Process & Practice). Also, during the Practicum course, candidates meet 3 Thursdays during the 16-week semester. The rest of the work for the Practicum is done at the field experience site.

Do you accept transfer credits?
No, because we collect data in each course required for our NCATE/TESOL program accreditation, we are unable to accept transfer credits from other universities.

What are the job prospects for ESL teachers?
Our candidates work in a variety of settings. On the whole, they have been very successful finding positions in the field. Graduates have received positions as K-12 ESL teachers in NJ, as elementary or secondary content area teachers in school with large populations of English Language Learners, in community colleges, and in adult programs. See our “Where our graduates are” page for more information.

Is there financial aid available for the ESL COGS program?
While Certificates of Graduate Study (COGS), Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study, Graduate Endorsements/Certifications, and Post-Baccalaureate programs are classified as academic, they are non-degree programs.  As such, these programs are ineligible for Title IV funding.  Title IV programs include financial aid from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Work Study.   However, prospective students are encouraged to seek other forms of assistance such as employer tuition reimbursement, private loans or scholarships. If you choose to pursue the ESL COGS program in tandem with a full Master’s degree program (see question below), you would be eligible for federal financial aid.

What if I want a full Master’s degree?
The 16-21 credits attained through the ESL COGS program can be applied to one of two graduate programs in the College of Education: the Master in Education (M.Ed) in Teacher Leadership, which is geared toward P-12 educators or the Master of Arts in Higher Education, which is geared toward college settings.

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