How to Transition from Teaching ESL Abroad to Teaching ESL in the United States

English as a second language (ESL) teachers are in high demand all around the world, as more people are looking to learn English. With immigration rates climbing in the United States, ESL teachers are being heavily sought after.

Differences between Teaching Abroad and in the United States

Teaching English in the United States and teaching English as a second language abroad require different qualifications and provide different experiences.

One of the primary differences is teaching English in the United States requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in combination with both teacher certification and ESL certification. Those who wish to teach English abroad do not typically need a teaching degree but will require TESOL certification. This makes obtaining a job teaching English abroad much easier than finding one within the United States.

Some individuals mistakenly assume English is the same, regardless of where you go, but the English language has several variances, with British and American English being the most popular. When teaching ESL in the United States, American English is the only one teachers must know.

Other countries, though, frequently express a preference for British English, requiring teachers to be familiar with this variation. In many cases, it is useful to know both British and American variations.

Making the Transition

One of the challenging aspects of teaching in a new country is making the transition from living abroad and coming to the United States. Many teachers serving abroad must leave behind the cultural differences they have grown accustomed to.

Many teachers who teach abroad come to the United States to resume typical teaching jobs or use their TESOL certification to teach English to non-native speakers in the United States. Others come to the United States to attend school to obtain a master’s degree or work with nonprofit organizations. It is important to determine if you will need to complete additional coursework to begin working in the United States.

Those who are coming from abroad and plan to become an ESL teacher in the United States must obtain the proper bachelor’s degree in the education field, teaching certification and ESL certification to qualify as a U.S. ESL teacher.

Here is a quick look at each of the 50 states’ teacher certification requirements.