English as a Second Language (ESL)

All ESL levels 1- 6 may be offered both online and face-to-face. Availability of each delivery method is subject to enrolment numbers. 

Learn English online or in-person with NAIT

Our ESL program offers flexibility and helps you learn English in different learning styles. Study from wherever you are!

Our program helps you succeed by:

  • keeping class sizes small
  • offering you individual support
  • having materials easily accessible on your course site
  • employing teachers who are friendly and approachable
  • recording your lessons so you can watch them again
  • allowing time to practice with your classmates
Learn more and apply to the ESL program

Why study English at NAIT?

NAIT ESL classes offer a flexible and a life-changing learning environment to make your future academic and professional success a reality. 

Focus on Personal Goals

Longer courses mean that we can help you with your career goals while learning English.

ESL Support and Services

A team dedicated to support you and explore your future academic plans at NAIT.

Interactive and Connected

Our classes use the newest technology so you can be confident in your digital skills.

Where do I start?

NAIT is able to customize your starting level in the program by having you take an ESL level placement test. Depending on your familiarity with English, you will be placed in a level to start at. Each level takes 4-months to complete. If you have to start at level 1, the ESL program would take 6 terms to complete for a total of 2 years if taken continuously.

English program journey at NAIT

Learn more about the ESL program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many levels are there in the ESL program at NAIT?

NAIT offers six levels of ESL instruction:

  • High beginner to intermediate (levels 1, 2, and 3)
  • English for Academic Purposes (levels 4, 5 and 6)
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When can I start the ESL program?

ESL offers three terms per year:

Spring 2023: May 8 - August 17, 2023
Fall 2023: September 1- December 15, 2023
Winter 2024: January 8-April 25, 2024
Spring 2024: May 6-August 15, 2024

  • For best results, we recommend continuous enrolment until students have successfully completed the program.
  • Students who successfully complete all three Level 6 courses meet NAIT’s English Language Proficiency admission requirements for most NAIT programs.
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What is the ESL class schedule?

Terms are 15 weeks in length

  • Morning schedule: 8:00 am - 11:50 am MST (full-time)
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How long is the ESL program?

Program length is individual and will depend on your learning goals and starting level.

If you want to apply to a NAIT Program: Once you take the Placement Test, you will know how many terms you need to reach Level 6, NAIT's English Language Proficiency Requirement.

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Can I study ESL part-time?

Upon approval of the ESL Department, part-time study may be considered on a case by case basis if this allows a student to achieve their learning goals.

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Can I study ESL in spring or summer?

Yes, our program runs year-round. 15-week terms start in Fall, Winter, and Spring. For best results, we recommend continuous enrolment until you have successfully completed the program.

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Can I get acceptance into other NAIT programs while I am taking ESL?

You meet the English language proficiency requirement to enter into NAIT programs upon completing all level 6 courses.

You may also be granted conditional or provisional acceptance into some NAIT programs while taking level 6 courses. This allows you to reserve a spot in your program well in advance.

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How do I know which ESL level I will start in?

New students will have to write a NAIT ESL placement test. This test will tell you which ESL level you will begin at. Placements tests are now done online and in-person.
You can also enroll in the NAIT ESL program without taking a NAIT ESL placement test if you have one of the following tests outlined here.
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Can I work while studying ESL?

Our classes are morning half-day studies Monday through Friday. It is important you devote as much time as possible to studying.

If you are in Canada on a study permit, there may be rules about where and how much you can work. Learn more about working with a study permit

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ESL and Academic Upgrading Funding

The Foundational Learning Assistance program provides funding for Albertans in designated Full-Time and Part-Time programs.

Additional English Courses

Looking for a short course that will help you improve a specific part of English learning? These workshop-style courses are meant for those who need extra help in just one area or would like practice before an English exam.

NESL704 - Academic Grammar and Writing

Delivery Options: Online, Evening Hours: 20 Fees: $225

Learn skills needed to write with confidence in academic settings. Learn structures and features of writing to communicate with coherence and unity.

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NESL705 - Pronunciation Listening & Speaking

Delivery Options: Online, Evening Hours: 20 Fees: $225

Improve your overall English fluency by participating in this ESL listening and speaking class. Learn different communication strategies.

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NESL716 - ELP Intensive Preparation Course

Delivery Options: Evening, Online Hours: 20 Fees: $225

Prepare for the NAIT English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessment exam.

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NESL717 - IELTS Preparation Course - Writing Focus

Delivery Options: Online, Evening Hours: 18 Fees: $295

Take the IELTS Academic English Language Test with confidence! Master tips and techniques that can help you improve your score, especially in the writing component, which tends to be the most...

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NESL818 - Workplace Communication and Safety Strategies (ESL) 1

Delivery Options: Online, Evening Hours: 40 Fees: $650

Knowing how to communicate effectively in the workplace is essential to becoming an active and contributing member of an organizational team and promoting increased levels of safety in the workplace.

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NESL900 - English Language Proficiency (ELP) Exam

Delivery Options: Online, Day Hours: 0 Fees: $175

The NAIT English Language Proficiency (ELP) Exam is for students applying to a NAIT credit program and need to submit proof of ELP as part of their application.

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English Requirements and Testing

English Language Proficiency Exam

The English Language Proficiency exam will evaluate your ability to read, write and speak in the English. This exam is required if you apply to a credit program and English is not your first language.


The International English Language Testing System is trusted by post-secondary institutions, governments, private corporations and accreditation bodies around the world.

International Students


Learn about the benefits of studying at NAIT as an international student! We take pride in creating opportunities for students across the world.

NAIT International Brand Video

Discover what its like to attend NAIT in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Tips for prospective international students

Our NAIT international students talk about studying in Canada and share some tips for prospective students.

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