Become an ESL Teacher
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Become an ESL Teacher

Teaching ESL

Teaching English As A Second Language (ESL) can be a very rewarding job, that offers you the opportunity to travel around the world and teach in different countries. Teaching ESL is not like regular teaching.  You will be working will all ages and teaching from the basics.  It's like taking a toddler and teaching them to talk.  Many of the people that want to learn English are educated individuals, but learning a new language with all the different letters and grammar is difficult. You have to have patience.

Getting Qualified

If you know that teaching ESL is the right job for you then its time to set out down the road to qualification.  You will have to do some research into different programs and decide at what level you want to teach.  The type of qualification that you will need is dependent upon what level you would like to teach at.  If you are planning on teaching abroad for a few years you will only need a TEFL certificate, however if you plan on making a career out of teaching ESL you will need Master's Degree.

Different Qualification Methods

You need to check your states requirements on certification for teaching.  Each state is different and requires a different degree program in order to be certified teacher which is the stepping stone to becoming an ESL Teacher.

  1. A 4 year degree in English with at least two courses in education. You can then either volunteer in order to get experience teaching ESL or continue on and get a masters degree in ESL
  2. Bachelors degree as an ESL teacher from a college or university that offers a specifically designed course
  3. If you already hold a Bachelors degree you can take teacher certification course

With all three of the above degree methods you will also need a CELTA,TEFL or TESOL certification.  These are general terms in the Teaching English as a Second Language industry.  You can easily find courses for each of the following.  You will want to make sure that you sign up for a rigorous course that will generally be about 120 hours, plus offer teaching practice.  The more indepth the course, the better prepared you'll be when you begin teaching.

  • CELTA- Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults
  • TEFL-Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESOL-Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

Finding a Job

Once you have gotten all the proper certifications and degrees you can begin looking for a job.  Being an ESL teacher is a pretty universal job.  In almost every country of the world there is some where they need to learn English. Governments and countries hire ESL teachers to  train police officers, consular officials, and other administrators the language. Also many technical professions like nursing or engineering require their students to learn English. Pick a country and I would bet money you could find a job teaching English there. Just like any other teacher the pay is not the best but you do get really good benefits and being an ESL teacher opens doors to the world and opportunities to travel.

So remember that becoming an ESL Teacher is just like becoming a regular teacher.  You will need to get a bachelors degree or higher and be required to get special certification in teaching English.  It is not an easy job and requires a lot of hard work and patience.  Make sure that you are sure this is a job you want to do before you start the process.  If you really want to check it out first hand before you start the certification process then volunteer at a school that teaches ESL.

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Comments (1)

Hi. This is an interesting aticle, however, it is more than somewhat confused. The terms being used seem to be in confusion. Teaching ESL/TESOL/TEFL is nothing like teaching a toddler to speak. Nor can it be assumed that a teacher will be taking people from the beginning. Many students are near native level speakers and require top class teachers to fine tune their language skills. The article makes reference to the USA and how different states require different qualifications. It then jumps to teaching around the world, teaching adults, ESP etc... Yes, true, there are jobs worldwide but the information regarding qualifications is far too general and does not apply to most situations teaching English. To be honest, I think it is a well intentioned attempt to inform people about a great job but perhaps not researched sufficiently.