How to Become an ESL Teacher

ESL Instructors

A job as an English as a Second Language teacher is a great option for anyone who loves languages, people, and is looking for a flexible career option. Some ESL teachers work as adult literacy teachers and GED teachers in the states; they also work as private tutors with students or adults. Others work abroad in other countries helping people learn a second language.

To begin this kind of career you need get the right kind of training. This begins with a degree from a four year college. Getting a bachelor’s degree is the crucial foundations for starting a career as a teacher and necessary for any teaching job.

Toward the end of the education program is an internship, which is a semester or two of classroom practice, supervised by an experienced teacher. This is not only a great way to watch how real world classrooms operate, but also helps to build confidence for teachers in training.

The final step in being able to get a job as an ESL teacher is to earn any needed certifications and licenses required to teach. There are at least two, though these may vary by state:

  • State teaching license – This is the license that makes it legal to teach in any classroom and establishes with the government that you’ve learned everything necessary to be a successful teacher. These are obtained at the end of any BA program.
  • TESOL certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language) – this is required to teach ESL in most places, including schools and tutoring institutions. It is the certificate that says you are not only a qualified and trained teacher, but also specifically qualified to teach English. The TESOL certificate offers you some additional ESL basics and training useful for being a teacher.

It does take a lot of steps to become a certified ESL teacher – years of education, internships, and tests – but it’s a career that can help transform people’s lives, creating new opportunities for them by breaking down the language barrier.

It’s also a job that is useful both domestically and abroad – English is a language that many outside of the US are looking to learn to speak as well. This can create job opportunities in a number of places – perfect for someone who likes to travel or could never work a desk job. Working as an ESL teacher is the kind of job that creates possibilities for both the teacher and the student.

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