If you’re thinking of pursuing a career as an ESL/TESOL teacher, you’ll have a wide variety of career options open to you. The primary responsibility of an ESL teacher is to facilitate students in developing communication skills in English, both written and verbal. This can be done in a traditional classroom setting or in one-on-one tutoring sessions. ESL teachers sometimes help students learn more than just language, as some classes employ cultural, government, history and basic everyday lessons in their programs.

Teachers of ESL will need to have a knowledge of cultural differences that may affect the student’s ability to fit in and adjust to their new surroundings as well as good communication and language skills. Many teachers will benefit from personality traits like patience and empathy which will allow them to better understand and work with their students. Teachers may also need to employ a good amount of creativity with budgeting, as many ESL programs do not receive a great amount of funding.

There are many places where ESL teachers can find employment. Many elementary and secondary schools employ ESL teachers, but the demand will be higher in certain areas than in others. Teachers may also find work with adult education programs that help new immigrants and citizens learn English at local community centers, colleges and universities around the country. Some teachers may even be able to take their ESL skills overseas and teach English language courses to those who are interested in learning from a variety of foreign locations. This is a great way to see the world and experience other cultures while still holding down a job and gaining valuable teaching experience.

Those who would like to work as an ESL teacher will often be able to get by with only a bachelor’s degree, and in many states that may be all that is required. It can be to your advantage, however, to gain additional training and specialization if you’d like to be an ESL teacher. Knowledge of the process of second language acquisition and communication is a valuable asset and special training at the grade level you wish to teach at, whether it’s K-12 or adults, can be a big help. Those who wish to gain qualification beyond a bachelor’s degree may want to consider a master’s degree in the field or get special TESOL certification. These options will ensure that teachers have the proper knowledge of language acquisition theory, phonetics, psycholinguistics, and ESL teaching methods.

Students can get started in an ESL career by volunteering, reading materials on the subject both online and off, talking to other professionals in the field, joining professional organizations and working towards professional certification in the subject. No matter how you choose to go about it, ESL/TESOL teaching can be a valuable and versatile career path to choose.

Interested in becoming a teacher or education professional?

We'll help match you to accredited online college programs according to your interests.

Search Online Degrees