Learn to Teach ESL: Overview of Education Programs for ESL Teachers

Individuals seeking to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) may choose to pursue a master's program in this field. Read on to discover the requirements for this specialized skill set, the typical curriculum and the job opportunities in this field.

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Essential Information

Students in an ESL program learn to develop a flexible curriculum and adapt quickly to the learning needs of a diverse classroom in which some students may learn faster than others. Program prerequisites for a master's degree program include a bachelor's degree (preferably in English,) standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay. Experience with a second language is preferred. A student should expect to complete a practicum and teacher certification prior to graduating.

ESL Education Programs

Because language learning is different in that students often represent a variety of demographics, student teachers learn the essential skill of working with people of all ages, learning backgrounds and educational levels. Master's programs combine theory and practical application, which is usually in the form of student teaching or internships. Many programs also supplement coursework with study abroad opportunities. Here are some classes that might appear in the curriculum:

  • Teaching English
  • Cultural communication
  • Diverse learning
  • Advanced teaching techniques
  • ESL Student evaluation

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicted that employment of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers will grow 7% between 2014 and 2024, which is about the national average. Growth is due to the demand by employers for an increasing literate workforce and to the number of immigrants in the United States seeking employment.

ESL teachers earned a median annual salary of $50,280 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% of ESL teachers earned $28,870, while the top 10% made $83,140 or more.

In summary, earning a master's degree program in ESL offers the opportunity to teach a diverse population of students and may include the experience of studying or teaching abroad. Teacher certification is usually required in the process.

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