Teaching is one of the most important professions that exists, and for many teachers, it is an expression of their commitment to other people. While there are many exciting teaching disciplines that you could enter, one of the most needed today is Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL). Thousands of immigrants enter the country every year, both children and adults, and learning English is one of the keys to their long-term success.
As an ESL teacher, you will be responsible for many educational tasks. In addition to helping your students learn the English language, you may also assist them in acclimating to American culture and adapting to their new life. The first step to becoming an ESL teacher is earning an ESL degree, which requires a few very important steps.
ESL Degree Levels to Pursue
The primary decision that you will have to make when you’re considering an ESL degree is what degree level you will pursue. ESL degrees are available at virtually every degree level that exists, all of which have their specific requirements. For instance, many people interested in teaching ESL which choose a Bachelor’s degree in teaching with a specialization in either ESL or English Language learning.
While a Bachelor’s degree is a good choice, for those who want to improve their career prospects, the better option is to complete either a Master’s degree or Doctorate in ESL. For instance, a Reading Specialist Master’s degree can be focused on ESL or ELL. If you choose to pursue a Master’s or a Doctorate degree, you should be aware that this can add between two and four years to your educational path.
If you live in an area where ESL teachers are in high demand, you may be able to get an ESL certificate instead of an ESL degree. These certificates are meant for currently working teachers who may not have an ESL background. Before you earn your certificate, you’ll usually choose what type of students you want to work with, adults or children.
After earning an ESL degree, you’ll have multiple exciting career options. Many ESL teachers choose to work in schools teaching students who have little to know background in English. If you choose this path, you may teach your own class filled with only ESL students or work with individual ESL students in a regular classroom setting.
However, ESL teachers have many more opportunities than teaching in a typical school. For example, ESL teachers have the ability to work abroad, helping overseas students learn English in their home country. Other work possibilities include working as an ESL advisor or working in online ESL programs, an increasingly popular choice for ESL students.
Salaries for ESL Teachers
Your salary as an ESL teacher will largely depend on where you teach and what students you teach. ESL teachers who work with adults, for example, are usually considered adult literacy teachers, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), adult literacy teachers make a median salary of $50,280 per year.
According to the BLS, high school ESL teachers may make as much as $57,200 per year and elementary school ESL teachers can earn a median yearly salary of $54,550.