The Growing Demand for ESL Teachers: ESL Teacher Shortage Areas

According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, 55.4 million people in the United States reported speaking a different non-English language at home, making ESL teachers a necessity in today’s schools. If you have ever thought about becoming a teacher, pursuing an ESL certification can be a great choice.

General Teaching Demand

According to the U.S. Census, the total number of school-age people in the United States increased from 52.9 million to 61.2 million between 1990 and 2000. That number will most likely increase as the next generation of school-age children are born. Teaching jobs are estimated to grow as much as 13 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where is There a Shortage of Teachers?

The teacher shortage is not only due to the rapid growth in population, but also the changing demographic of those students. As many as 10.5 percent of students in the United States do not speak English as their first language.

California and Texas are the top two states in which non-English children are more likely to require the services of a teacher with ESL certification or TESOL certification. Illinois, Florida and New York also have high concentrations of immigrants.

According to a 2009 Florida Department of Education report, 17 percent (478 out of 2,791) of ESL teachers did not have the appropriate certifications to teach in that area. This illustrates the shortage of ESL teachers in one area of the United States, but the rest of the country is also in need of qualified ESL teachers. Those looking to become an ESL teacher should obtain the appropriate certifications.

How to Become Qualified?

Working with children who speak another language can be a challenge, but it is a rewarding career choice for those who wish to teach. Obtaining an undergraduate degree and teaching certification are the first steps in the process, but other certifications may be necessary.

ESL certification is important for teachers who are fluent in a second language. Teachers who do not have a strong knowledge of a second language can still work in this expanding field by obtaining a Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, which allows teachers to more effectively teach non-English students.

With a growing U.S. population, prospective teachers have the opportunity to reach more students and become more effective communicators by obtaining appropriate certifications as an ESL teacher.

For more information on how to obtain ESL certification, contact the state Department of Education.