English Language Requirement for Health Technologies Programs

All health care workers (native and non-native US English speakers alike) are expected to use clear communication skills in the workplace. Students whose native language is not US English are expected to demonstrate "near-native" US English language abilities. There are three options to choose from to confirm this ability if you have attended school in another country and/or English is not the primary language spoken at home:

  1. Take the Accuplacer ESL listening test and have a personal interview with the EFL coordinator to assess your speaking skills, or
  2. Submit TOEFL iBT scores, meeting a minimum score, or
  3. Complete EFL courses in the areas of listening/speaking with a score of 80 percent or higher and have a personal interview with the EFL coordinator.

All students should submit an English Language Requirement form, signed by the EFL coordinator, to Admissions and Enrollment Services to verify how how the English language requirement has been met.

Students meeting the following criteria must comply with this revised requirement.

  1. Students who apply to a Health Technologies program on or after November 10, 2014 or
  2. Students who applied to a Health Technologies program before November 10, 2014, but have not yet met the previous English language requirement. The details of the testing options to meet the English language requirement are listed below. Students who are required to test must choose one option.

Option 1

Take the Accuplacer ESL Listening test (or the COMPASS ESL Listening test if this was all that was offered at the time of testing) and schedule a personal interview with the EFL coordinator for assessment of speaking skills

Students must score at least 106 on the Accuplacer ESL Listening Test or 91 or above on the COMPASS ESL Listening test.

The Accuplacer ESL Listening Test is given on campus in the Phail Wynn, Jr. Student Services Center on specific published dates. There is no fee for the Accuplacer ESL Listening test. Students can listen to sample questions that are similar to the Accuplacer ESL Listening test by visiting the Exam English website, which contains multiple listening examples with interactive question and answer sections.

TOEFL, COMPASS, ASSET, Accuplacer, SAT, and ACT scores may be used for placement within five years from the date taken. If test scores are older than five years, students must retest unless continuously enrolled. Continuously enrolled is defined as not missing three or more consecutive semesters of enrollment in courses.

Students must have a personal interview with the EFL Coordinator who will have the student answer twenty questions and assess sounds, intonations, and sentence structure on a scale of 1-5 for each question. Each interview will be recorded for reference or review.

Below is an explanation of how students will be assessed and what each rating means:

  1. Response was not understandable due to intonations, improper pronunciation of words, and/or sentence structure as it pertains to US English.
  2. Response was partially able to be understood, but more than 10 words or meanings could not be comprehended due to intonations, improper pronunciation of words, and/or sentence structure as it pertains to US English.
  3. Response was understandable, but there were more than five words or meanings that could not be comprehended due to intonations, improper pronunciation of words, and/or sentence structure and inhibited some meaning as it pertains to US English.
  4. Response was understandable, but fewer than five words were mispronounced or sentence structure had errors but did not inhibit meaning of the sentence as it pertains to US English.
  5. Response was understandable and any errors in pronunciation, sentence structure, and proper intonation did not inhibit the meaning of the sentence as it pertains to US English.

Students must score a 70 or above on the interview to receive a passing score on the personal interview.

The speaking assessment is by appointment with one of the faculty members in the English for Academic Purposes department. Students can email the director of the department, Paula Wilder, to schedule an appointment with one of the faculty. The assessment will take approximately 15–20 minutes. To prepare for the assessments, students may practice online at Phonetics: The Sounds of American English.

Students may also access a sample speaking test with recorded responses.

As with the COMPASS, ASSET, Accuplacer, SAT, and ACT, these speaking scores may be used for placement within five years from the date taken. If test scores are older than five years, students must retest unless continuously enrolled. Continuously enrolled is defined as not missing three or more consecutive semesters of enrollment in courses.

After taking the speaking test and the listening test, students must have the English Language Requirement form signed by the director of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) or one of the EAP faculty. The form then needs to be submitted to Admissions, Registration, and Records as part of the application packet for the program that the student is applying to.

Option 2

Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), iBT version. Students must earn at least the following minimum scores on the TOEFL iBT:

  • Listening – 22
  • Speaking – 26

Please note that the TOEFL iBT is not administered on the Durham Tech campus. Students must make their own arrangements to take the TOEFL iBT. Practice questions, test information, dates, and testing sites are located at www.ets.org/toefl. There is a fee to take the TOEFL iBT.

When registering for the test, students should indicate that test results be sent to Durham Technical Community College, ID# DI 5172. Photocopies of TOEFL Score Reports are not valid.

TOEFL scores may be used for placement within two years from the date taken. If test scores are older than two years, students must retest unless continuously enrolled. Continuously enrolled is defined as not missing three or more consecutive semesters of enrollment in courses. After students test scores have been submitted to Durham Tech, students must have the English Language Requirement form signed by the director of English for Academic Purposes or one of the EAP faculty and submit this form to Admissions and Enrollment with the application packet for the health technology program that the student is applying to.

Option 3

If a student does not achieve the required score on the Accuplacer ESL/Personal Interview or TOEFL iBT tests or if the student opts not to take a listening/speaking test, then the student may enroll in one or more of the curriculum EFL courses designed to improve academic speaking and listening proficiency. If the student is not currently enrolled or does not have reading and writing placement test scores, then the student will have to take the placement test for reading and writing to be placed into the correct EFL courses. If a student places below curriculum level in reading or writing, then the student would take the appropriate level EFL reading and writing courses based on their scores. In addition, EFL 055 English for Special Purposes and/or EFL 064 Listening/Speaking would be required to meet the listening/speaking requirement for the Health Technologies English Language Requirement. In some cases, students may be encouraged or required to take both courses, depending on their level of speaking and listening.

NOTE: The student must achieve a grade of 80 percent or higher in the required courses to meet the language requirement for application to a Health Technologies program. After the official grades are posted, the student will need to have the English Language Requirement form signed by the director of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) or by one of the EAP faculty who will confirm the grade of 80 percent or higher through the student's online transcript. The student must then submit this form with their application packet to Admissions and Enrollment Services. The Health Technologies department is then informed that the student has met the English language proficiency requirement.

Important: Students applying to the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) or Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) programs must provide documentation annually regarding how they meet the English language requirement was met with EACH competitive admissions application. Students must meet the applicable version as defined in this procedure. For information about the competitive admissions process, please visit the ADN program or the LPN program pages.

Learn more about the English Language Requirement Frequently Asked Questions.