Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) (M.A., Licensure)

K-12 ESL License

Teacher candidates in Minnesota are required to be licensed before they can begin their K-12 teaching career. In addition to coursework, obtaining a license requires both passing state tests and completing a required number of hours of field experience and student teaching.


Students applying for an initial K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) license will also need to have taken and passed the Pedagogy and Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) ESL tests. Students with a  previous license will only need to take the MTLE ESL.

Pedagogy and Content tests are generally taken at the end of a teacher candidate’s academic program — such as in the last semester of course work or in the semester of student teaching. 

Relevant websites for those interested in more information about these tests include:

For more information email the TESL Director John Madden at jpmadden@stcloudstate.edu 

Field Experience

For the K-12 ESL license, teacher candidates need to complete 100 hours of field experience and complete hours in three levels of scope: K-6, 5-8 and 9-12 with no double counting across the three levels. 

For example, a student may complete 20 hours of field experience at the K-6, 30 hours at 5-8 and 50 hours in 9-12.

Undergraduate initial licensure students would complete these hours through ED 523 and English 600. 

Graduate students for second licensure would complete these through English 600 only, and they can do so on-the-job if they have been hired as a teacher of record for an ESL teaching position. 

Student Teaching

For the K-12 ESL license at St. Cloud State, all students receiving this license are required to complete student teaching requirements. Normally, students are required to enroll in 12 undergraduate or six graduate credits for student teaching. Student teaching can be completed at one or two levels of scope. For graduate second licensure, it is possible to complete student teaching on the job in an ESL teaching position. 

These student teaching assignments are assigned by the Office of Clinical Experiences. Generally speaking, student teaching is completed in the last semester of course work.

Student teaching two licenses simultaneously

Student seeking the K-12 ESL license as well as another teaching license simultaneously may be required to student teach for an additional six credits of student teaching and an additional eight weeks of student teaching.  

International Student Teaching

Teacher candidates for the K-12 ESL license can also do half of their student teaching through an international teaching assignment. This student teaching experience has to be at the K-6 or 7-12 level and so cannot be with adults. If you are interested in student teaching internationally, you should contact the Office of Clinical Experiences directly to ask about the possibilities.

Applying for your license

Once you have completed the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and education course work, passed the Minnesota Teaching Licensure Examinations (MTLE), and completed your student teaching requirements, you are ready to apply for your K-12 ESL teaching license in Minnesota.

Information for applying for your license through St. Cloud State 

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