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M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License in Second Language Education for Working Professionals


This program is designed for practicing English as a second language (ESL) or world/classical language teachers who wish to earn a Minnesota teaching license in ESL or a world/classical language. This part-time program allows you to continue your employment with your current temporary license while enrolled in your courses. The license to teach in Minnesota is highly transferable to other states and our candidates are sought after by local school districts.

Already licensed to teach another subject? You can pursue an additional license in ESL or an additional license in a world/classical language.

Interested in teaching at an immersion school? See our elementary education license for dual language and immersion programs.

Master of Education

This program includes two components: initial licensure to be an ESL or language teacher in Minnesota and a Master of Education degree.

Combining an M.Ed. with your teaching license offers the following advantages:

  • Teachers with a master's degree are regarded as experts in their field, making you a more competitive job candidate with an M.Ed.
  • Teachers who have a master's degree will see a roughly $7,000 annual salary increase [].
  • Though the salary increase with a master's degree will vary by district and state, Minnesota teachers are on the higher end of the payscale.
  • Once a teacher is employed, there is much more mobility that comes with a master's degree. Teachers with advanced degrees can be promoted to school administration positions and can become mentors to other teachers based upon their graduate training.


Evening, online, and summer courses are available to complete the licensure coursework on a part-time basis while teaching. Enrollment is offered for the fall, spring, and summer. In addition to the required courses, students also need to complete 100 hours of classroom observation at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. After completing most of the required courses and 100 hours of classroom observation, students will need to complete their K-12, school-based requirements: a practicum and a 12-week,full-time, continuous student teaching experience.*

Students earning their M.Ed. along with an initial license complete three additional credits after finishing the licensure part of the program. While it usually takes two years for working professional students to complete the licensure study, it may vary according to how many courses students can take per term.

*If you join the program in a role other than an educator in the area of your licensure program (e.g., as an Associate Educator rather than as a Spanish teacher), you will still need to complete the full-time, 12 week practicum in order to gain a MN teaching license. Many teacher candidates begin their licensure courses the first year of their program and seek out a teaching position in the area of licensure in the second year. If teachers candidates are working in classroom that aligns with their licensure program, they are able to do much of their required field experiences in their own classrooms and continue their employment. If not, you will need to take a leave during the 12-week, continuous teaching requirement.


Students must meet Minnesota Department of Education standards through the following courses:

The educational common content courses are:

Hybrid and online courses are listed in bold.

  • Learning, cognition and assessment
  • Introductory child psychology OR Child and adolescent development
  • Teaching students with special needs in inclusive settings
  • School and society
  • Human relations: applied skills for school and society OR Cultures, schools and communities
  • Technology for teaching and learning OR Technology in the second language classroom
  • Reading in the content areas for initial licensure candidates

Option A- World Language Curriculum:

  • Teaching world languages and cultures in elementary settings
  • Foundations of second languages and cultures education
  • Culture as the core in the second language classroom
  • Teaching literacy in second language classrooms
  • Teaching speaking and listening in second language classrooms
  • Foreign language testing and assessment OR Developing assessments for the second language classroom
  • Second language curriculum design OR Content-based language instruction and curriculum development
  • Practicum: Teaching world languages and cultures in elementary schools
  • Student teaching in second languages and cultures

Option B- ESL Curriculum:

  • Introduction to linguistics
  • Introduction to second language acquisition
  • Language, culture, and education
  • Assessing English learners
  • English grammar for ESL teachers
  • Teaching literacy in second language classrooms
  • Teaching speaking and listening in second language classrooms
  • Second language curriculum design
  • Practicum: Teaching ESL in elementary schools
  • Student teaching in second languages and culture

View the curriculum in the course catalog under subplan “Second Language Education for working professionals.”

In order to be recommend for your Minnesota k-12 ESL or World Languages teaching license, you must successfully complete these licensure requirements required by the state of Minnesota.

For additional and course information, contact Saem Heo.

Career Outlook

95 percent of the 2017-2018 second language education cohort found full-time teaching positions within a year of graduation.

A valid Minnesota teaching license offers job security and the potential to work in public schools in addition to private and charter schools.

Though the salary increase with a master's degree will vary by district and state, Minnesota teachers are on the higher end of the payscale. The annual mean Minnesota teacher salaries were $64,790 for middle school teachers and $64,960 for high school teachers in 2019 [Bureau of Labor Statistics].

Admissions Information

Priority deadline to apply:

  • July 1 for fall enrollment
  • November 1 for spring enrollment
  • February 1 for summer enrollment

A bachelor's degree and 2.80 minimum GPA is required. Ideally, applicants will be employed as a language teacher on a temporary license in a non-immersion K-12 public school. Students employed in a non-teaching field will need to leave employment during the 12-week practicum in order to earn their license.

To ensure you have the required prerequisites to enter the program, please get your transcript pre-checked by the academic advisor, Michelle McElroy before applying.

All international students are required to send in an official transcript for review. We accept any NACES course-by-course evaluation. The evaluation needs to be sent to the following address:

125 Peik Hall
159 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

See detailed admission information on our M.Ed. and Initial License admissions page.

For additional information contact Saem Heo.

Yangyang Liu

"I felt very supported by the faculty in this program. They were great about communicating the projects and finding ways to serve the needs of working professionals."

Yangyang Liu, M.Ed.