Knight-Thompson Speechwork offers the Teacher Certification Program each June, July or August, in residence at UC Irvine and on special occasions, abroad. To apply, visit the specific Certification page. Upcoming Cert 9 will be held in London in July/August 2023. The Certification is a competitive program with many experienced applicants, and our committee-based decisions are based on a rigorous assessment of each candidate’s ability to teach this work with mastery. Our certification program does not teach mastery, but rather checks the practiced mastery of its participants. Clarity, compassion, and competence in the teaching task are emphasized. Before applying, be sure you have completed the three prerequisite courses. You may also submit an application if you are registered for all the prerequisites, though decisions about inclusion in the cohort will be made after courses are completed.  If this program is an important step in your enrichment as a speech trainer, we look forward to your application. Also, we encourage you to teach KTS in any and every context that you can, to be a part of the ongoing conversation by joining us for our monthly webinars for the broader speechworker community, and to let us know of your intentions to certify with us by emailing

Program Goals

The purpose of the Certification is to make sure that its participants possess:

  • A thorough understanding of the Knight-Thompson approach to speech training.
  • A thorough knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet and an ability to use it effectively in teaching.
  • A thorough understanding of the Knight-Thompson approach to the methodology of accent training.
  • An ability to productively use research resources for accent acquisition, as well as efficiently learn and effectively model new accents.
  • A demonstrated ability to teach this material effectively and with full understanding.
  • A demonstrated ability to use this approach creatively in teaching.

The emphasis in the Certification program is be on individual development and all participants receive substantial individual attention and mentoring. Participation in the Certification program does not guarantee certification: in some cases we may require additional work to demonstrate understanding and teaching skill. Admission to the Teacher Certification Program is open only to participants who have already taken Experiencing Speech, Experiencing Accents and a Phonetics Intensive, though completion of prerequisites does not guarantee admission into the Certification program. Prospective participants in the Teacher Certification Program also must have some experience incorporating this approach in their own teaching or coaching before going on to Certification.


Prospective participants are required to read and work through the following three texts before the beginning of the program:

In addition to the three required texts, the following book is strongly recommended.

This is a lively read, aimed at a general audience, but manages to be a solid introduction to the principles of language change and variety and the view of linguistic relativity that these follows ineluctably from these facts. If you feel you have a strong, detailed understanding of this subject already, then this text is not absolutely necessary. (Nor is it the only text by which you can acquire this understanding—there are several other books by John McWhorter that may fit the bill. There are precious few by other writers that are as accessible, though you may wish to browse through the books listed here.)

The following books are also recommended.

Prospective participants are encouraged to participate in discussions on the regular KTS Facebook group and on the KTS blog.

Program Costs

The enrollment fee for Certification varies slightly based on location.

See specific Certification pages for enrollment fees and payment deadlines.

Upcoming Certification Courses