Adult ESL Teacher Accreditation - OCELT & ICTEAL

TESL Ontario Adult ESL Teacher Certificate of Accreditation, International Certificate in Teaching English as an Additional Language(ICTEAL), and OCELT Professional Designation.

I. Introduction


TESL Ontario, established in 1972, is a non-profit organization serving the needs of teachers of English as a Second Language. It represents more than 4,600 language training professionals and is instrumental in influencing the success of many thousands of English language learners throughout the province. TESL Ontario’s expertise is in teaching, advocacy, accreditation, and professional development.

TESL Ontario accredited instructors have distinct knowledge and skills specific to teaching adult ESL. They belong to a community of highly educated, responsible and committed professionals who seek to further the best interests of the learners. They constantly strive for excellence through academic inquiry, self-reflection, openness to new ideas and ongoing professional development. As a result, TESL Ontario Language Instructor Certificate of Accreditation has become the industry norm in Ontario, and TESL Ontario accredited instructors are being hired by ESL instruction providers in both publicly-funded and privately-funded sectors.


The TESL Ontario certificate has been designed for individuals interested in teaching in adult ESL programs in Ontario, other Canadian provinces, and other countries including:

•    Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)
•    Adult ESL- offered by school boards
•    Citizenship and Language (CL)
•    Specialized Language Training (SLT)
•    Enhanced Language Training (ELT)
•    Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT)
•    English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and ESL offered by colleges, universities, and private schools
•    English Language Proficiency (ELP) Test Preparation (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)
•    English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
Employers of TESL Ontario Accredited Instructors

TESL Ontario accredited instructors are being hired by a wide range of employers including:

•    School Boards •    Universities
•    Settlement /Immigrant Service Agencies •    Private Career Colleges
•    Welcome Centres •    Private Language Schools
•    Community Colleges •    International Language Schools

More information about employers can be found at the following links:

•    LINC Classes in Ontario •    Private Career College Search Service
•    ESL Classes in Ontario •    TESLOntario Job Board
•    Ontario Colleges •    TESLOntario Volunteer Job Board

Annual Renewal

TESL Ontario Language Instructor Certificate of Accreditation is an annual renewal. Accredited language instructors are required to engage in a minimum of 10 hours of professional development per accreditation year and retain the proof on file. The annual renewal fee is $154.00


Any applicant who is denied the TESL Ontario accreditation/approval shall have the right to appeal the decision to the TESL Ontario Appeals Committee within three months from the date the decision has been made. Please be aware that the degree and English language proficiency (ELP) requirements of the TESL Ontario accreditation/ approval are "non-appealable" requisites. For details about filing an appeal, please go to Appeals.

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II. Required Qualifications

1. University Degree:

Applicants are required to hold a minimum three-year bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree, from an accredited institution located in Canada or a basic, general, or document-by-document Canadian degree equivalency report for degrees obtained from accredited institutions located outside Canada. The equivalency report must indicate that the evaluated international degree is equivalent to a minimum three-year Bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree from an accredited institution in Canada.

TESL Ontario considers degree equivalency reports prepared by any one of the members of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC) including the following agencies:

For a complete list of ACESC members, please go to

2.  Proof of English Language Proficiency (ELP): 

If you have studied on-site full time to complete a minimum three year university degree program with English as the language of instruction in one of the countries listed below, your degree or official transcript or Canadian equivalency report is your proof of ELP.  Please note that in some cases, transcripts may be requested to determine the length of the program.

Canada Benin Ghana Republic of Ireland Turks and Caicos Islands
Anguilla Bermuda Grenada Saint Kitts-Nevis Seychelles United Kingdom 
Antigua and Barbuda Botswana Guyana Sierra Leone United States
Australia British Virgin Islands Jamaica South Africa Uganda
Bahamas Cayman Islands Montserrat St. Lucia US Virgin Islands
Barbados Cameroon Nigeria St. Vincent Zambia
Belize Dominica New Zealand Trinidad and Tobago Zimbabwe

OR if you have completed a minimum three year online/distance university degree program with English as the language of instruction in one of the countries listed above, a combination of your degree or official transcript or Canadian equivalency report and an ELP test report indicating the scores required for speaking and writing skills, as shown in the table below, is your proof of ELP.

OR if you have not completed a minimum three year university degree program in one of the countries listed above, you should take an ELP test and meet the required scores as specified in the table below. Please note that TESL Ontario accepts a combination of two test reports (for the same ELP test taken twice or for two different ELP tests) indicating that all required scores have been met. Also, TESL Ontario accepts ELP test reports up to 5 years after the test date. Test reports older than 5 years are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Recognized ELP Tests Required Scores
IELTS Academic        Listening: 7    Reading: 7   Writing: 7    Speaking: 7
CanTEST       Listening: 4.5  Reading: 4.5  Writing: 4.5  Speaking: 4.5
CAEL           Listening: 70  Reading: 70  Writing: 70  Speaking: 70
TOEFL iBT         Listening: 24  Reading: 24  Writing: 27  Speaking: 24 


The MELAB test was discontinued in June 2018. However, TESL Ontario still considers score reports distributed by Michigan Language Assessment.

    Listening: 87  GCVR: 87  Writing: 87  Speaking: 4-

OR if, prior to doing  your university education,  you have completed grades 6-12 (each grade completed in one full school year) with English as the language of instruction in one of the countries listed above, your grade 6-12 report cards are your proof of ELP.

3. TESL Training and Practicum: 

Applicants are required to have completed a minimum of 250 hours of TESL theory and methodology training and a minimum of 50 hours of TESL practicum (30 hours of observation and 20 hours of supervised practice teaching) in a TESL training program recognized by TESL Ontario. 

Please contact the accredited training programs directly to learn about their admission requirements, tuition fees, and schedules. To access a list of these programs and their contact information, please click here.

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III. Getting Copies Authorized

The individuals/parties listed below may authorize copies of your original documents:

In Canada: a TESL Ontario staff member (when submitting your application to the TESL Ontario Office in person), notary public, commissioner of oath, lawyer, senior university/college officer or professor, public school principal, signing officer of a bank, medical doctor, minister of religion, or police officer.

Outside Canada: the Canadian Embassy or the Consulate

Authorization by other officials may be accepted.  Please contact TESL Ontario

Please provide the authorizing party with an accurate photocopy when you show the original document. The authorization should include: full name, title, address, telephone number, signature, date, and a statement to this effect: "This is a true copy of the original."

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IV. Required Documents

  1. Completed and signed Application Form A-1: Language Instructor Accreditation
  2. Original or authorized copy of your degree OR official degree transcript (indicating that the degree has been conferred)  from  a university located in Canada or your Canadian degree equivalency report
  3. Original or authorized copy of  your proof of English Language Proficiency
  4. Original or authorized copy of  your TESL certificate OR official transcript from one of the TESL Ontario accredited TESL training programs
  5. Original or authorized copy of documentation to support a legal name change if all documents are not in the same name
  6. Proof of successful completion of practicum, as outlined below:
Accredited TESL Program You Have Completed Proof of Practicum  Required (original or authorized copy)                                    
B.A. (Hons.) Applied Linguistics/Teaching English as a Subsequent Language OR TESL Certificate (post B.A. or B.Sc.) Brock University Transcript showing completion of LING4P80 (not 4P81) or LING0P80/LING4N80.  A confirmation letter may be required in some cases.
CERTESL                                                                       University of Saskatchewan Transcript showing TESL 42 - Supervised Practicum AND letter from the Certifications Admin Office documenting the practicum additional hours module
M.A. Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies Carleton University Transcript showing completion of ALDS5205 and ALDS5806 OR confirmation letter indicating the completion of the practicum
All other TESL training programs TESL certificate OR transcript showing the completion of the practicum/course/s

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V. Fees

For current TESL Ontario standard members applying for accreditation

  • Administration Fee: $120 + HST
  • Pro-rated Language Instructor Accredited Membership Fee - maximum $80 + HST

For all other accreditation applicants:

  • Administration Fee: $120 + HST
  • Annual Accredited Membership Fee: $154 + HST

Please note that the administration fee is non-refundable and is charged as soon as your application is received. 

For current members, the pro-rated accredited membership fee will cover the period starting from the date a standard member is accredited to their standard membership renewal month.

Method of Payment: If paying by cheque, please write a separate cheque (payable to TESL Ontario) for each required fee. If paying by VISA, MasterCard or American Express, please write your credit card number and expiry date on the application form (Please note that other credit cards are not accepted). You can also pay by cash in person at the TESL Ontario Office.

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VI. Application Process Steps

  1. Print and fill out the Language Instructor Accreditation Application Form A-1.
  1. Mail or deliver the completed Application Form A-1, the required documents, and your payment to TESL Ontario (27 Carlton Street, Suite 405, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1L2). We suggest you do not mail original degrees, certificates or other irreplaceable documents, but submit authorized photocopies instead. Alternatively, you may bring originals to our office in person along with photocopies to be authorized.
  1. In a maximum of four to six weeks from the date your application form, all required documents, and payment have been received, your file will be reviewed and you will be informed of the result by email.

Please Note! For operational reasons, TESL Ontario reserves the right to extend the application processing time, as necessary. TESL Ontario may request additional documentation beyond the requirements described above. All submitted documentation and information will be kept confidential. We strongly recommend that you keep photocopies of all submitted forms and documents for your own records. The requirements of the TESL Ontario Language Instructor Accreditation may change without notice. If you do not meet all of the requirements for accreditation, TESL Ontario will send you an email specifying the additional steps you need to take.

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Questions? Please contact TESL Ontario by email at or by phone at 416-593-4243, Ext. 205.