How to Become an ESL Teacher

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Every year, many people immigrate to the United States and wish and need to learn English. English as a second language (ESL) is a very important field that enables students of all ages to successfully learn English. ESL teachers instruct English language learners and help them become fluent in spoken and written English.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does an ESL Teacher do?

ESL teachers specialize in teaching students whose native language is not English. They help their students become fluent in English using a variety of teaching techniques. They begin by teaching the basics of English and move on to more advanced areas when the students show they are ready. They typically begin with the alphabet and then move on to grammar. They use a lot of demonstrations, repetition, pictures, and other techniques to help students understand English and learn to speak it and read it. ESL teachers also provide recommendations for the home environment to provide students with many opportunities to speak English. They encourage parents of elementary age children to take English classes as well.

What kind of training does an ESL teacher need?

ESL teachers must have at least a bachelor degree. Some positions prefer a master degree in ESL instruction. Many employers also prefer applicants who have experience with teaching English language learners. Many colleges and universities offer programs in ESL teaching. Many ESL teachers attend conferences, workshops, and seminars and complete continuing education courses to update their teaching skills and keep up to date on new developments in the teaching field.

Most states require ESL teachers to be licensed. Some states have specific licenses for ESL teachers and others have a general public school teacher license. Licensing requirements typically include having at least a bachelor degree from an approved teacher training program, student teaching experience, and passing a written examination.

What are the prospects for a career as an ESL teacher?

Employment of ESL teachers is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increasing demand for adult literacy and basic education to English language learners will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable due to high turnover rates. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace ESL teachers who retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do ESL teachers make?

As of September 2009, the average salary for ESL teachers is $37,000. Average salaries vary greatly on position, experience, location, and benefits (2).

A career as an ESL teacher is an excellent choice for people interested in teaching students where English is not their first language. ESL teachers must be patient, flexible, understanding, creative, and resourceful. They must have excellent communication and be able to motivate their students by using a variety of teaching techniques. A positive attitude, confidence in students, and good classroom management skills are also essential qualities of ESL teachers.

Joshua T Osborne

Founder/CEO – Mr. & Mrs. Leads

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