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​CSPG 68 - English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Specialist PK-12

Modified: September 1, 2018

English as a Second Language (ESL) is a term for the use or study of the English language by non-native speakers in an English-speaking environment. ESL also refers to specialized approaches to language teaching designed for those whose primary language is not English.

Grade-Level Scope of Certificate

A person holding a certificate for Program Specialist ESL is qualified to provide ESL services to students in grade levels PK-12. If teaching content, the instructor must hold the appropriate grade-level content certificate.

Certification Assignment

An ESL Program Specialist may:

  • Provide English Language Development (ELD) instruction;
    • ELD instruction is the systematic teaching of the linguistic features of English to non-native speakers.
  • Select and design teaching resources for English Learners;
  • Provide instructional adaptations/modifications to assist English Learners;
  • Conduct effective assessments to identify levels of language proficiency, acquisition, and content learning;
  • Monitor academic achievement of reclassified former English Learners;
  • Participate in individualized education plan (IEP) preparation for English Learners receiving special education assistance/services;
  • Provide ELD support to subject matter teachers;
  • Provide school staff with resources/professional activities to promote understanding and sensitivity toward all cultures; and
  • Provide appropriate information and services to the English Learner’s family.

Certificate Clarifications

A Program Specialist ESL certification is required to teach ELD or embed ELD instruction at the PK-12 grade level.

Special Considerations

An ESL Program Specialist may:

  • Provide professional development; and
  • Serve in the role of mentor/advisor.


22 PA Code: Chapter 49: §49.11

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous printing dates on this subject: 3/75, 1/87, 7/04, 5/17, 9/17, 6/18.

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG #68
​8/1/2018​Adjusted section titled, Certificate Clarifications.
  • Defined ESL and ELD.
  • Updated and clarified staffing information.
​9/1/2017​Updated the ESL staffing information.
  • Removed statements from updated CSPG: Effective with the school year 2004-2005, all individuals providing ESL educational assistance/services were required to hold the Program Specialist ESL certificate.
  • HQT staffing requirements are remove for the 2016-17 school year and adjusted. ESSA requirements added to the updated CSPG.
​7/2004​The Program Specialist certificate was only issued for ESL and
required for teaching this program.
​12/1990​CSPG #108 Staffing ESL and Bilingual Education Classes and
Programs – Described program types.
  • CSPG #80 – ESL (English credit) and Bilingual Education were staffed by any Level I or II (Instructional).
  • CSPG #80 A – Discontinued the Program Specialist certificate.