English as a Second Language / ESL

Using ESL training to build a successful career

The curriculum for any Ontario college program is challenging enough, but if English is not your first language, the prospect of enrolling in one of these programs may seem overwhelming. English as a Second Language programs at Ontario colleges are designed to help students improve their English skills so they can successfully complete the college program of their choice or get started in the career of their choice.

If you’d like to become more fluent in English for the purposes of higher education or future employment opportunities, here’s what you need to know.

English as a Second Language Courses

English as a second language programs typically focus their courses on four areas – speaking, listening, reading and writing – to give students a well-rounded understanding of the English language. Classes are heavily group-based, and students are encouraged to interact with each other through presentations, dialogue components and language lab work. Students will also have access to tutoring services and academic counselling to help them transition into a college program after achieving their English program credential.

Many Ontario college ESL programs tier their curriculum, meaning students will be assessed before their program begins to determine their starting point in the program, as well as the duration. Assessments are normally based on an in-house test or through international tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.

General English as a Second Language Program Requirements

Aside from assessment, requirements for Ontario College English as a Second Language programs include an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. Some programs are more advanced than others and may require completion of an introductory or beginner’s English program for admittance.

English as a Second Language Jobs & Salaries

Being fluent in more than one language can be seen as a big asset in the job market. Many companies seek bilingual employees to reach a diverse client base and may be willing to pay a bilingual employee more than one who speaks only one language. Also, many Ontario government-based jobs are only open to English / French bilingual individuals, so being fluent in these languages can help you obtain one of these positions.

Ontario Colleges Offering English as a Second Language Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of English as a second language programs at Ontario colleges.

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