Masters Degrees in ESL Teaching: Program Overviews

Master's degree programs in English as a second language (ESL) are designed for both novice and experienced teachers. Master's degree candidates learn about ESL education with regards to methodology, curriculum design, research practices and instructional theory.

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Essential Information

Earning a master's degree in this field can lead to work in primary, secondary or postsecondary schools, as well as international or overseas companies. The curriculum for master's degree programs in ESL teaching prepare teachers of English as a second language for the complexities of language instruction and acquisition in non-native speakers. Many programs incorporate mentored teaching experiences that provide practical classroom training, and thereby will require teacher certification to apply for certain programs.

Master's Degree in ESL Teaching

Master's degree programs provide instruction on how individuals learn English as a second language with regards to writing, reading and speaking. Master's programs for teaching ESL are available for both inexperienced and veteran teachers. Programs designed for experienced teachers require applicants to possess certification, and all programs require applicants to have earned a bachelor's degree. It is common for ESL master's degree programs to require the submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Millers Analogies Test (MAT) scores. Common courses include:

  • Introduction to English education
  • Methods for ESL teaching
  • Curriculum development in ESL education
  • Theories in second language acquisition
  • ESL writing and literature education
  • Issues in ESL education

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Teachers of adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma, including ESL teachers, were expected to see an average job growth of 7% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This growth is partly due to an anticipated increase of immigrants and other non-native English speakers seeking to enroll in ESL classes. The best opportunities for employment were expected in states with large numbers of residents with limited English skills. As of May 2015, the median yearly wage for adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers was $50,280 (

English as a second language programs are offered at the master's level and are designed for both inexperienced and more seasoned teachers. Programs that are tailor-made for veteran teachers usually require that students have a teacher's certification.

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