Frequently Asked Questions about the English Language Requirement

Who must meet the English language requirement?

All students enrolling in a Health Technologies program (Associate Degree Nursing, Clinical Trials Research Associate, Dental Laboratory Technology, Health Information Technology, Medical Assisting, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Opticianry, Pharmacy Technology, Practical Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, and Surgical Technology) must meet this requirement. "Enrolling" means being accepted to the program and beginning the sequence of program-specific courses as outlined in the plan of study.

All students enrolling in a Health Technologies program must complete an English Language Requirement form to verify how the English language requirement has been met. Please see the form for complete information.

If you are uncertain as to whether you must meet the English language requirement, consult with your health technology advisor.

When should I take the tests (e.g., the speaking test, Accuplacer ESL or the TOEFL iBT)?

Most Health Technologies programs require completion of additional Accuplacer tests (for reading, writing, and mathematics). You should take these tests around the same time as you take the other placement tests. In other words, you should take these tests as soon as possible following submission of your Durham Tech application (see more information about limited enrollment into Health Technologies programs). You must achieve the required scores before you can be admitted to the program's core courses.

Why must my English skills meet these requirements?

All health care workers (native and non-native US English speakers alike) are expected to use clear communication skills. Students whose native language is not US English are expected to demonstrate "near-native" US English language abilities.

Is there a way to appeal my testing requirement?

No. We have found that students who meet the required test scores are more successful in the Health Technology programs. Demonstrating US English language proficiency on these standardized tests or completion of the EFL courses is the only approved way for non-U.S English speakers to meet the English language requirement.

What if I do not earn the required scores on the tests?

Students who do not meet the required scores on the tests must meet with the Center for the Global Learner to make a plan. Contact Paula Wilder. Students may be advised to complete EFL 055 and/or EFL 064 or other EFL courses. Once students complete these courses and other required or recommended courses and score 80 percent or higher in the courses, they should complete the final interview with the EFL coordinator. Once the coordinator has completed the English Language Proficiency form, the student will be able to apply for admission into a Health Technologies program.

Where can I find information about the testing dates?

Accuplacer ESL Listening test is administered at Durham Tech. Test dates can be found on the Testing Schedule page.

Information about the TOEFL, including testing dates, may be found at Please note that the TOEFL iBT is not administered on the Durham Tech campus.

What additional resources are available to help me improve my English language proficiency?

Enroll in a Durham Tech English for Academic Purposes course. All of these courses focus on all four language learning areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Each course has its own main emphasis, which is indicated by the name of the course. Placement is determined by testing. You can find out more about registering for these courses via email to Paula Wilder or schedule an appointment at

The following course is designed to help students develop their English medical terminology knowledge, examine cultural expectations in health technologies careers, develop communication skills in English pertaining to health technologies, and improve reading and writing skills focused on medical professional requirements.

The following two courses are designed to meet the English Language Requirements for listening/speaking if a student is unable to pass the listening/speaking test requirement or if the student desires to meet the English language requirement through taking a course rather than attempting the tests.

Courses are also offered in the areas of reading, writing, and grammar. The complete course list can be found on the English for Academic Purposes web page.