How to Become an ESL Teacher: Education and Job Training Requirements for Becoming an ESL Teacher

Published Aug 28, 2009

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English as a second language (ESL) teachers help those faced with language barriers communicate in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. Those who wish to work as ESL teachers must obtain at least a bachelor's degree in education, though a master's degree is much preferred. ESL teachers must also be certified, licensed or both, as their state of employment mandates. This article further explains what is required to become an ESL teacher.

ESL Teacher Career Summary

ESL teachers help immigrants or non-English speakers meet their educational goals so that these students can take part in a modern, English-oriented society. ESL teachers typically work with adults in continuing education facilities or with children at K-12 schools. These teachers help students learn how to speak, read and write in English, and they simulate real-world scenarios in order for students to have first hand, genuine experiences with the language.

Education Required to Become an ESL Teacher

Taking courses in English, education, communication and a foreign language is required of ESL teachers. A Bachelor of Arts in English or a related subject is the bare minimum ESL teachers must have. The ESL teacher must receive their teaching credentials either through the required coursework and test or through a teaching program. Students can also pursue a Master of Education in Adult Education or a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education to obtain an ESL teaching position. A master's degree is the preferred level of education that employers are seeking in new ESL teachers, due to the strong need for knowledgeable and committed educators to assist the non-English speaking population.

Job Training and Certifications Required to Become an ESL Teacher

Licensing and certification vary from state to state, due to each state's own unique educational structure. In some states, a special license specifically for ESL is required. ESL teachers new to the field will usually start in a part-time or substitute position that can last anywhere from one to three years in order to achieve a positive teaching reputation.

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