Teacher Certification Made Simple!

TESOL Certification

TESOL, which stands for teachers of English to speakers of other languages, is a high-demand teaching field, with opportunities across the United States and throughout the globe. There are TESOL teaching possibilities in all grade levels, from preschool to adult, in public and private schools, and for businesses and online. How does one become a TESOL teacher and what does the job entail? Here is some information to get you started.

What is a TESOL teacher?

A TESOL teacher assists students who are English language learners (ELL) in mastering the English language. TESOL teachers might work in U.S. public schools with immigrant children, in a self-contained or inclusive classroom, or in a foreign country with students who want to achieve proficiency in English as a second language (ESL). TESOL is a broad category, as teachers may be certified in ESL, English as a foreign language (EFL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). A TESOL teacher may not necessarily be certified in any of these categories, but have a bachelor’s degree that enables him or her to teach abroad.

TESOL Teacher Job Description

Most TESOL teachers work in an elementary school, middle school or high school setting. At the elementary school level, TESOL teachers work with students between five and 10 years old. This is a crucial stage, as students are learning the foundations of the English language, so TESOL teachers need to teach students the skills to become more fluent while catering to shorter attention spans. Middle school teachers need to build upon the foundations learned in elementary school or start from scratch if the students are new to English at this stage. Technology proves to be useful with all grade levels. At the high school level, TESOL teachers need to help students become more fluent in preparation for college or work. Students may be starting to learn English at any age, so TESOL teachers need to be well versed in phonetics as well as reading, writing and speaking strategies.

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Training and TESOL Certification

The minimal requirements to enroll in a certification program are a high school diploma and English fluency. Prospective teachers who want to work abroad can get certified through a fast-paced TESOL program like the American TESOL Online. Students can also enroll in bachelor’s degree programs in ESL or TESOL online or in traditional university classes, which will enable them to work abroad or in the United States. Prospective teachers who already have bachelor’s degrees (do not have to be in ESL or TESOL) can get master’s degrees in ESL at a program like the USC Rossier School of Education.

It is important to consider where you want to work. Many schools abroad require only a bachelor’s degree in any subject area, while American public schools require state certifications in ESL, EFL or ESOL. If you wish to work in the United States, you should check with individual states’ departments of education for certification requirements. See our TESOL certification roadmap for additional information.

TESOL Teacher Benefits

TESOL teacher salaries and benefits are just as diverse as the job categories and opportunities. American TESOL teachers earn an average of $48,000 and are entitled to public school benefits like health insurance and paid school holidays. Many countries provide housing accommodations, travel compensation, health benefits and a decent salary. Teach Away offers recruitment services for schools in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, detailing the benefits offered in each area. Once you become a TESOL teacher, it is beneficial to join an organization like TESOL International Organization, which provides job listings and professional development. After all, one of the greatest advantages to becoming a TESOL teacher is the ability to work almost anywhere in the world.

Earning your TESOL certification (Teaching English as a second language) is a career option many instructors do not immediately consider, but it can be a rewarding, unique experience. It offers the freedom to explore other countries while working or the opportunity to teach in a rapidly growing, in-demand field at home. Follow the links below to decipher the jargon associated with teaching English to speakers of other languages, to learn about the day-to-day life of such English teachers, to discover how you can become certified in the field, and to explore the many specialized opportunities certification offers.

Visit USC Rossier for more information about earning your Masters Degree in TESOL.