English for Professional Purposes (ESL) { College of Extended Learning }

Image: English language students learning together at school

English for Professional Purposes
(English as a Second Language - ESL)
Professional Development Certificate

English Language School

SF State's English language classes for professionals (ESL) help people who speak English as their second language heighten confidence, accuracy, fluency, and cross-cultural awareness when communicating at work and in their personal lives.

Study English as a Second Language (ESL) at Our School in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

SF State Extended Learning invites working professionals, international students, and foreign tourists who do not need the F-1 visa to practice English in the beautiful, international Bay Area city of San Francisco. This program cannot provide the F-1 visa to international students.

English Classes & Certificate

English for Professional Purposes (ESL) Classes

We offer a variety of ESL classes for professionals to meet your specific communication needs.

English for Professional Purposes (ESL) Certificate Training

We also offer a Multi-Skill Certificate of Completion for students seeking a comprehensive approach to developing their language skills.

Is Our English Language School Right for You?

Our English language classes are appropriate for:

  • Working professionals, or those wishing to enter the job market or change careers
  • Graduate and undergraduate students
  • Foreign visitors and tourists who do not require the F-1 visa

To benefit from English for Professional Purposes classes, participants must have some background in English; no beginning-level courses are offered. Class size is limited to ensure maximum participation and attention for all students. Fee includes course reader.

Program Approach

We believe you learn best when you are fully engaged by your subject, so our practical, highly interactive approach teaches you English skills that can be applied immediately in your workplace or in your personal life. Unlike intensive English programs that are very academic, or newcomer ESL programs that teach survival skills, English for Professional Purposes understands that our students need sophisticated, often subtle skills to advance in their careers, change jobs, or generally feel more at ease when communicating in English in a variety of situations. Thus, English for Professional Purposes takes a pragmatic, real-world approach that builds on the life and work experiences our students, generally working professionals, bring to our classes. All English for Professional Purposes classes are designed for maximum participation and provide individualized feedback on a regular basis.

Determining Your English Proficiency Level

English for Professional Purposes is designed for individuals with an intermediate to advanced proficiency level in English.
If you are unsure about your level or about which class is appropriate for you, you can:

  • Get student advising from English for Professional Purposes teachers at our free information session
  • Contact the program coordinator at 415.817.4247, for advising over the phone

The first meeting of each class usually includes some form of diagnostic work. If the instructor determines that the class is not appropriate to your level of English, s/he will recommend a more appropriate class for you to take if one is available. Students who attend the free information session or who receive advising over the phone rarely have to transfer from their courses. Students must pre-register for all English for Professional Purposes classes.

What Goes on in our English Classes?

  • Highly interactive large and small group discussions
  • Stimulating activities that provide lots of practice in focused skill areas
  • Individual feedback for all participants in each class
  • Frequent opportunities to speak and receive feedback on your language skill
  • Relevant activities that increase understanding of American culture
  • Intense exploration into all aspects of course content
  • Use of analog and digital recording devices and digital audio and/or video files for receiving individualized instructor feedback, listening to exercises and submitting homework (speaking classes only)


This program is part of CalJOBS, which provides employment training for adults and dislocated workers. Learn more about CalJOBS.

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