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English as a Second Language Teacher / ESL


How to Become an ESL Teacher
ESL Teaching Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of an English as a Second Language Teacher
ESL Teacher Salaries
Influential ESL Teachers
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for ESL Teaching Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an English as a Second Language or ESL Teacher

The necessary qualifications will depend on where you want to teach. But, a bachelor's degree is needed to secure a position in this field-whether teaching in the United States or abroad. Each country has it's own work-visa requirements and job opportunities.

An individual who desires to teach ESL in the States must hold a State Teaching Credential. Some states offer specific specializations, post-baccalaureate alternative teacher certification programs, endorsements or coursework in ESL. Overseas ESL teaching positions require that the applicant be a native English speaker over the age of eighteen that holds a bachelor's degree in any field.

The highest paid ESL teaching opportunities are in universities. Positions in this arena require a MATESOL degree-Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages-and/or PhD in a related field. The better paid and higher-ranked positions in foreign countries (such as Head Teacher, Curriculum Director or College Lecturer in ESL) require a Masters or PhD. Individuals teach in private language schools or become private ESL tutors. A TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Langauges) or a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certificate is needed to become a freelance tutor.

To teach abroad an individual must obtain their TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and to secure a career in this profession a professional must hold a master's degree.

Obtaining ESL certification enables individuals to be competitive in the job market, along with providing the skills and tools needed to excel as an ESL teacher.

Teaching abroad requires an ESL or TESL certification.

What does an English as a Second Language Teacher do?

English as a Second Language (ESL) is designed to help individuals of limited English proficiency achieve competence in the English language.

ESL instruction targets English language and literacy proficiency needs. Instruction may be offered to highly educated, credentialed learners, those who are not educated or literate in their native languages, and to all English language learners who fall between the two.

English as a Second Language-or ESL-teachers equip individuals with the comprehension skills necessary to become proficient in reading and writing English. Individuals typically are students in a classroom environment but can also span to adult age clients that are stationed in English-speaking countries due to business.

An ESL teacher teaches students who cannot speak, write, or read English. There is a strong emphasis on learning the English language, and breaking through native language barriers.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an English as a Second Language Teacher?

Instructors need to be both proficient in their native language and the language of their students in order to be effective and successful in this field.

ESL teachers must exhibit excellent reading and writing skills in English. For the most effective instruction toward English proficiency, ESL teachers need to focus on the core areas of English language acquisition/ instruction, including reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar.

Professionals must be culturally sensitive to non-English and non-American students.

How much does an ESL Teachers make?

Income as an ESL teacher is determined by a variety of factors: e.g., location; the current economic situation in the (teaching) country or state; the number of hours contracted; the pay rate negotiated with the contracting school(s); personal expenses; and, individual tax and social security.

In the United States, ESL teachers can earn $30,000 annually teaching in public schools to $100,000 a year for corporate business clients. Many ESL teachers in European countries are from the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia that work as freelancers. Instead of being salaried income a rate per teaching unit is charged and is determined mutually between teacher and client.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Sandy Briggs is the president of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc (TESOL).

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc (TESOL) is a national organization for ESL teachers. There are about 60,000 professionals who are a part of TESOL, which has been around since 1966. TESOL provides materials for ESL teachers as well as professional networking and professional development.

The National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE) focuses on ESL instruction for post-secondary education.

What are the top cities for ESL Teaching jobs?

The top city for ESL teacher jobs in the United States is Phoenix, Arizona. In second place is Los Angeles, California.

The greatest demand for ESL teachers are in Latin America and Asia. American teachers can find obtaining teaching positions difficult in European nations. The application process is complicated, and competition is severe due to a large number of U.K teachers applying to the same positions. Opportunities in eastern Europe are optimistic, with schools in that region offering better compensation packages than institutions in western Europe.

Increasing demand for ESL teachers has created a multitude of teaching opportunities in the United States. Two principle ESL jobs are currently in demand: positions which require bilingual teachers (Spanish and English) to teach bilingual classes-either school age or adult education-and, positions for English-only classes for speakers who have a limited ability in English (LEP - Limited English Proficiency).

Opportunities for lucrative teaching positions are in Eastern European countries and Asia.

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