ESL teachers work with students to help them improve their English reading, writing, and speaking skills. As the population in the United States becomes more diverse, the demand for ESL teachers will continue to grow, especially in states with high immigration rates like Texas, California, Florida, and New York. ESL teachers work with people of all ages and in a variety of settings. Read more to determine how you can build a career in teaching by earning an ESL degree.
ESL Degree Programs & Prerequisites
Requirements to Become an ESL Teacher
ESL training is offered at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level. In order to become an ESL teacher in public K-12 schools, you need at least a bachelor’s degree and a state teaching license. If you teach adults or work at a private school, requirements vary, though a bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement. Some employers prefer hiring candidates who have a master’s degree in the field.
Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Prerequisites
The admissions requirements for bachelor’s degree programs in ESL are typically a high school diploma or GED, SAT/ACT scores, and a minimum required GPA. The admissions requirements for master’s degree programs in ESL teaching are typically a bachelor’s degree in a related area, previous teaching experience, a minimum required GPA, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. Bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete, and master’s degree programs take two years.
Doctoral Program Overview
Doctoral programs in ESL teaching are appropriate for higher education ESL teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, researchers, supervisors, and administrators. The admissions requirements for doctoral degree programs in ESL are usually a master’s degree in a related field, a minimum required GPA, previous teaching experience, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Doctoral programs take from three to five years to complete.
ESL Training Curriculum
ESL degree programs provide students with a foundation in linguistics, English grammar, second language acquisition, classroom methodologies, and curriculum design. Other skills that students learn include materials development, cross-cultural communication, assessment and evaluation, and language pedagogy.
ESL Teacher Training Courses May Discuss
- General linguistics
- Multicultural education
- Theories of language teaching
- Methods of teaching ESL
- Applied linguistics
- Phonology & structure of American English
- Language, culture, & communication
- Learning & motivation
ESL Training Certification
In order to become an ESL teacher in many states, you must complete a teacher training program with supervised experience in teaching and pass an ESL teacher certification exam.
Job Opportunities for ESL Teachers
ESL Teacher Duties & Personality
Spanning all age groups, ESL teachers may work in elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, commercial language schools, adult education programs, and private businesses. Typical duties of ESL teachers include planning, preparing, and delivering lessons; preparing and giving tests; providing grades and feedback on oral and written work; and producing new materials.
Like all educators, ESL teachers must be patient and have strong communication skills. They also must possess cultural sensitivity, as many of their students will be immigrants from around the world.
Employment Outlook & Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of adult literacy teachers is expected to grow 9% from 2012 to 2022, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. New positions will be due to the continued immigration to the United States. Many opportunities will only be part-time. In 2012, adult literacy teachers earned a median annual wage of $48,590.
If you enjoy working in a multicultural environment, like to teach, and have strong language skills, then pursuing a career as an ESL teacher may be right for you. Begin earning an ESL degree today by exploring the schools featured throughout our site.