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Online Bachelor's Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)

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Earn Your TESL Online Bachelor’s Degree


2-4 Years

68-69 Credit Hours (Major)

$305 per Credit

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Complete this form to receive information about coursework, admissions, tuition, and more.

Become a Licensed Expert in Teaching English as a Second Language

Prepare to work with English language learners in K–12 classrooms with Southwest Minnesota State University’s Bachelor of Science in Teaching English as a Second Language. Finish your program in two to four years and earn an online ESL degree accredited by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). Graduates of this program are qualified to obtain a Minnesota professional teaching license for K–12 TESL.

This BS in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program is also offered on campus.

Program Details

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ESL Degree Online Curriculum

120 Total Credits

20 Courses

The fully online teaching English as a second language curriculum includes a core grounded in the state of Minnesota’s Standards for Effective Practice and focuses on essential topics like early literacy, language acquisition, and assessment. All students also complete a semester-long field experience placement to apply their studies directly in classrooms with ESL learners. A research project is built into the curriculum so you can prepare for teaching and meet state requirements for performance assessment.

Course Highlights

  • SOCI 331: Racial & Ethnic Relations
  • ED 403: English Language Arts Methods
  • ED 404: Literacy Methods & Lab
  • TESL 432: Understanding Second Language Acquisition
Curriculum Details

Apply to Earn Your ESL Degree Online

Start Date August 26, 2024 Fall Term 2024

Start your application process with the support of the SMSU team. During the application process, our enrollment team will answer questions and help you meet application deadlines for the ESL degree online program.

Online Application FormApply Now
Application Fee$20 waivable fee*
Official TranscriptsSend official high school transcripts. Transfer students must send transcripts from each institution attended
Minimum GPA2.5 minimum, 3.0 recommended

International Students

Additional information and requirements may be necessary for international students. Please contact our enrollment team to learn more.

It’s always the right time to invest in your education with SMSU. Contact an enrollment counselor by calling 1-800-201-2944 to get started today.

Admissions Details

This is a Minnesota Teacher Licensure program. Student must reside in or near the state of Minnesota due to the PELSB licensing board requirements regarding field experiences, practicums and student teaching must take place in a Minnesota public school, under the supervision of a Minnesota licensed teacher.

Tuition and Aid for the SMSU Online Degree in TESL

Calculate your cost for attending SMSU Use our tuition calculator to help you estimate your total tuition costs.  

The first step toward creating a successful future for yourself is investing in your education. Whether you’re applying for a college degree for the first time or picking back up where you left off in your education, Southwest Minnesota State University’s tuition and aid packages can assist you. Take advantage of available scholarships, competitive tuition, and transfer credits when paying for your TESL online degree.

Cost per Credit Hour$305
Total Credit Hours120
Total Estimated Cost**$36,600
Other CostsThe estimated tuition cost does not include factors such as textbooks, supplies, or additional fees and expenses

Military Benefits

SMSU proudly welcomes active military and veteran students. We accept the GI Bill™ and VA education benefits. Learn more by contacting an enrollment counselor or by visiting our military benefits page.

Financial Aid Options & Support

Southwest Minnesota State University offers a variety of solutions to help you invest in your education. SMSU offers in-state tuition rates to all students, along with a variety of financial services, including military benefits, financial aid opportunities, and scholarships for qualifying applicants.

Take your next step in financing your education by completing your FAFSA today. Use SMSU’s school code: 002375

Tuition Details
teacher in classroom

Launch Your Teaching English as a Second Language Career

English learners are one of the fastest growing student populations in the United States.1 As a TESL online degree graduate, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to the success of the English-learning community through teaching in the classroom and partnering with other teachers and the ESL community to enrich student experiences. This program prepares you for licensure, so you can bring the best strategies to classrooms in your community.

Jobs for TESL Online Graduates

ESL Teacher $52,384 per year2

Early Childhood Educator $43,472 per year3

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the online ESL degree program are qualified to obtain a Minnesota professional teaching license for K–12 TESL. When you graduate, you will have the specialized knowledge and skills required to make an impact in the classroom and help your students thrive. You will also be prepared to collaborate with content area educators using specific, research-based teaching strategies to enhance the understanding and performance of ESL learners.

What You’ll Learn

Meet Our Faculty

SMSU employs a faculty of experts who are top-skilled in their fields. Our educators are fully committed to providing each student with personalized and thoughtful instruction to help you succeed academically and professionally.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Renee Ullom, Assistant Professor

Dr. Renee Ullom joined the SMSU Education Department in the Fall of 2023 as the Assistant Professor in charge of the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program after teaching in the K-12 sector for 23 years. Her main focus has been instruction of English Learners, thereby bringing expertise in the areas of instruction, family and community engagement, and cultural diversity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from South Dakota State University, a Master of Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix and a Doctor of Education from the University of North Dakota.

Learn Online with Southwest Minnesota State University

Whether you’re enrolling in a degree program for the first time or completing a degree you previously started, learning online with SMSU provides the flexibility you need to be successful. Our online programs offer the same rigorous curriculum delivered on campus, plus the convenience of studying on your schedule from the location of your choice.

Discover SMSU Online

Sources and Disclaimers

  1. Education Week, “The Growth of Hispanic Students and English Learners Nationwide,” at (visited September 29, 2023).
  2., ESL Teacher, at (visited September 29, 2023).
  3., Early Childhood Educator, at (visited September 22, 2023).

*Contact our enrollment team for more details!

**Only Minnesota residents are eligible to receive in-state tuition rates for licensure programs due to field requirements. Tuition costs and fees will vary based on semesters of enrollment and number of transfer credits accepted. Contact our enrollment team to learn more.