ESL Teacher

About ESL Teacher

You know English. You're smart. You should be able to teach English to people who were born and raised speaking another language, right? Well, maybe, but getting a job teaching an English as a Second Language (ESL) course isn't as easy as you may think. While once all you might have needed was a college degree to land a job teaching ESL, the requirements have become more stringent in recent years, which, of course, is a good thing for the students. Train to teach children or adults basic conversational English, and you may be a better teacher, which could lead to your students having a better, more productive experience in the classroom.

And this is not an easy job. After all, you may know English, but you may not know the language of the person you're teaching. It's a career that requires patience and understanding. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012) notes that qualities such as patience, strong communication skills and cultural sensitivity can be helpful to the job. As well, because your students may be adult learners, you may need to have availability to teach in the morning and evenings − around the hours when these students might be at work.

How to Become an English as a Second Language Teacher

You'll still need your bachelor's degree, and it's even better if you have your master's degree, the BLS indicates. Even then, to land an ESL job, a graduate-level ESL certificate may be desirable. You can work on one through numerous online colleges, and many universities across the country offer ESL programs (sometimes referred to as TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or a TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language) to their students.

The programs vary, taking anywhere from, say, 20 to 130 hours of coursework before graduating and getting your ESL certificate. Some ESL certificates don't require you to have taught before; other programs, especially the ones with fewer hours, are designed for people who have already completely a teacher's program and have obtained a license that enables them to teach in the state.

Career Earnings :

Immigrants who live and work together in the U.S. may be less likely to build English-language skills. As researchers at Purdue University purport, this is because such 'enclaves' allow these new-comers to continue speaking their own language, making them less likely to reach out to gain skills for learning a new language. However, this is where the role of the adult ESL teacher can be important. These teachers can be an encouragement to immigrants who are doubtful about their ability to gain English literacy as well as have the capacity to make them feel welcomed and comfortable in a classroom.

Employment for ESL and GED teachers is predicted to climb 15 percent nationwide from 2010 to 2020, according to July 2012 BLS data. This could result in 12,700 additional positions during that time. The BSL reports that as of May 2010 the median annual pay nationwide for adult literacy and GED teachers was $46,530. Those in the lowest 10 percent made less the $27,090 annually nationwide while those in the top 10 percent made more than $83,580. If you are interested in helping adults gain knowledge of the English language, be sure to check out the list of schools below to explore your potential options.


Adult Literacy and GED Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm#tab-4

Study: Immigrants who live, work together less apt to learn English, Purdue University, April 2013, http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q2/study-immigrants-who-live,-work-together-less-apt-to-learn-english.html

Teaching Schools

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Master's (M.Ed.) - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Ranked one of the Best for Vets schools in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
  • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
  • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
  • Provides IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
  • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
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  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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Instructional Design & Technology
  • Push Your Creativity To The Next Level.
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
  • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
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English Second Language - PhD in Education
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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Master of Education - English Language Learning (ELL)
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Offers more than 70 majors and programs, as well as several off-campus internships.
  • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year qualified for financial aid.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
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