ESL students interacting with ESL instructor
Language and Literature

English as a Second Language (ESL)


We teach English to students from many countries and who speak many different languages. Classes are small, so you can communicate with your professors and other students. There are courses for students with basic to advanced skills, and some are tuition-free, non-credit courses.

Certificates in English as a Second Language

Put Your Mind to It

The program serves students who speak a large variety of languages and offers five levels of courses from novice to advanced college.

Student preparing to fill out questionnaire in class with book on desk.
The ESL program prepares students to meet their language, educational, and career goals. In addition, students learn about American culture and experience college through events and workshops that help students feel connected to the college community. Erica Mercado, Support Specialist

ESL Program Overview

Which classes should I take?
This depends on your goals and how much time you have to study. Your class level will depend on how much experience you have reading, writing, and speaking in English. Talk to a counselor to decide which classes to take.

How do I earn an ESL certificate?

  • Students can earn ESL certificates at intermediate-high and advanced levels.
  • Students may not need to take all the classes. This will depend on the class level at which you begin.
  • Please meet with a counselor to discuss your certificate options.

What is the difference between noncredit and credit classwork?
Learn the differences between Noncredit and Credit Classes (available in EnglishFarsiChineseSpanish and Russian translations). The following course numbers are non-credit and tuition-free: 800, 810, 812, 820, 822, 830, 832. View Class Level Chart.

How to Apply

For more information or to get help, email or call (916) 660-7340.

Review our How-to instructional articles:

Understanding the ESL Classes and Levels

View ESL Program Overview (available in EnglishFarsiChineseSpanish and Russian translations).

Course Levels

We offer five levels of courses from novice to advanced.

The letter at the end of the course number refers to the type of skills you will be learning. For example, ESL 20C is a composition class.

C = Composition (Reading & Writing)
S = Skills for Success
O = Oral Skills (Listening & Speaking)
G = Grammar 
P = Pronunciation
T = Technology
F = Film

ESL Course LevelCourses
Advanced20C, 24P, 25C, 25G, 25L, 30C
Intermediate-High530C, 530S, 530O, 532G

830C, 830S, 830O, 832G
Intermediate520C, 520S, 520O, 522G, 522F, 522P, 522T

820C, 820S, 820O, 822G, 822F, 822P, 822T
Novice-High510C, 510S, 510O, 512G, 512P, 512T

810C, 810S, 810O, 812G, 812P, 812T

Get In Touch

Liberal Arts Division


Building W, Room 107

Looking for something else?

With more than 50 programs in total, something is bound to align with your goals. Find out which one is the right fit for you.

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