ESL Certification and Diploma Programs for Aspiring ESL Teachers

While enrolled in an ESL diploma or certificate program, students can develop the pedagogical skills needed for teaching the English language to non-native speakers. These programs may also prepare students for teaching English in foreign countries.

Essential Information

Some teaching positions require licensure or certification. ESL diploma and certificate programs cover both the theoretical and practical aspects of instructing students to speak, read and write in English. It should be noted that ESL diploma and certificate programs are the practical equivalent to Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) programs, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) programs, as well as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programs. Often, these teacher training programs require an internship experience for hands-on practice in the field.

Most of these programs require students to have a bachelor's degree. Others offer ESL, TESOL, TEFL adn TESL diplomas or certificates to complement bachelor's degrees in education or in related fields. Alternatively, some free standing programs may require a high school diploma or a GED for admission.


ESL Certification and Diploma Programs

Curricula focus on all salient pedagogical topics for instructing students in basic reading, writing and speaking skills. Programs that award ESL, TESOL, TEFL and TESL certificates and diplomas may offer the following courses:

  • Teaching diverse learners
  • Classroom management and lesson planning
  • Grammar
  • Teaching methodology
  • Teaching integrated skills
  • Teaching language through content

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Graduates can find employment teaching children or adults in a variety of public and private settings, in both native and foreign countries. According to reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment for kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school teachers, including ESL teachers, was projected to grow by 6% from 2014-2024, while adult literacy teachers were expected to see increases of 7% during that same period. As of May 2015, the median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $54,890. At the same time the median annual wages for middle school teachers was $55,860 and for secondary school teachers was $57,200. For adult literacy teachers the median annual wage was $50,280, per BLS reports.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Students who do not already hold bachelor's degrees in education may wish to earn bachelor's degrees to enrich pedagogical skills and enhance employment potential. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree will need a special license to teach in public institutions; licensure is usually granted by a licensure advisory committee or by the State Board of Education.

Individuals who are interested in providing adult education may need to earn licenses if they seek employment in public education programs. Some states may require adult educators to have standard public school teaching licenses; whereas, others may require adult educators to hold specific licenses.

Aspiring teachers who are fluent in a second language may take advantage of the growing need for ESL teachers. Programs for aspiring ESL teachers offer ESL diplomas and certificates that are practically equivalent to those offered by TESL programs, TEFL programs, and TESOL programs.

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