dcsimg
Table of Contents

The United States is a diverse nation, and that diversity increases with each generation. The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association reports that an influx of immigrants from non-English speaking nations continues to generate demand for English as a second language (ESL) teachers, especially in areas like California, Florida, New York and Texas. These professionals help children and adults alike master the language, aiding their transition to new surroundings. ESL teachers are required to speak at least two languages, and must know how to effectively teach students from all ages, backgrounds and learning styles. This is where ESL degree programs come in.

ESL Degree Programs: What to Expect

An ESL degree isn't a requirement for all ESL teachers, but the skills and tactics learned through these degree programs can be very beneficial for those looking to enter the field. ESL majors learn how to teach non-native speakers how to speak, read and write English, as well as how to mentor their students through cultural adjustments. The College Board notes that while students can pursue ESL degrees at all levels, most students earn graduate degrees. Courses vary by education program, but may include the following:

  • Methods of teaching ESL
  • Applied linguistics
  • Intercultural communication
  • Structure of English
  • Bilingual special education
  • Phonology of American English

Students who want to work in the traditional classroom environment may be asked to complete at least a semester of supervised student teaching before graduating, according to The College Board. ESL majors looking to teach students whose native language is different from their own may benefit from study abroad and language-immersion programs to boost fluency.

Esl Second Language Education Teaching

Careers for ESL Majors

People of all ages and nationalities, both in the United States and abroad, desire to learn English. That demand for instruction opens up numerous career options for ESL majors. A sampling of potential careers is listed below, along with notable training and employment trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  • ESL teacher - ESL teachers in public K-12 institutions work with non-native English speakers of various age groups. As with other teachers, ESL instructors are typically licensed to practice. The licensing process requires prospective instructors to successfully complete an ESL degree program, pass a licensing exam, and meet certain student teaching requirements. A bachelor's degree is usually sufficient, but students who hope to teach at a postsecondary level may be expected to earn master's or doctoral degrees. Demand for ESL teachers varies by location and grade level. For instance, while the BLS projects demand for all high school teachers to grow by approximately 12 percent between 2012 and 2022, it notes that prospects should be especially strong for ESL teachers, since these posts are traditionally difficult to fill.
  • Adult literacy teacher - Adult literacy teachers instruct adults in basic skills, including English for non-native speakers, often via community colleges and community-based programs. Employers usually require candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree, and practical teaching experience is always a plus. The BLS projects demand for adult literacy teachers to rise 11 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022.
  • Interpreter or translator - Interpreters and translators both convert information from one language to another, but interpreters deal more with spoken language, while translators focus on written texts. Most interpreters and translators are required to possess at least a bachelor's degree. These professionals are in particularly high demand: The BLS expects employment of interpreters and translators to increase 46 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022, which is significantly faster than the national average for U.S. occupations. Those who pursue additional professional certifications or graduate degrees should have the best employment prospects, as well as those working in diverse cities like New York or San Francisco.

And these are only a few of the many career paths ESL majors might pursue. Others include career or technical education teacher, technical writer, or even ESL professor. Students can learn more about ESL programs and related careers by contacting prospective schools directly, or by visiting TESOL or the BLS online.

Sources:
"Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm
"High School Teachers," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
"Interpreters and Translators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm
"Major: Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)," The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/education-teaching-englishasa-second-language
"Teaching Opportunities in the United States," Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association, http://www.tesol.org/enhance-your-career/career-development/beginning-your-career/teaching-opportunities-in-the-united-states

Pursue your ESL Second Language Education major today…

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
 
Matching School Ads
2 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked 21st among the Best Education Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
  • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
  • Offers certificate through doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, and more.
  • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • A private, Christian, liberal arts university founded in 1905 and open to students of any faith.
  • Has an average class size of 20 students.
  • 97% of students receive financial aid, with the average freshman receiving $10,000.
  • Offers over 25 undergraduate degree programs.
  • Has approximately 5,000 students; 60% female and 40% male.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
  • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
  • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
  • Has an student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
  • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
  • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
4 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104