In today’s increasingly global world, students need to be prepared with foreign language skills that will allow them to participate in international markets and conversations. With an online master’s degree in foreign language education, you can support students as they begin to communicate in a world of many languages.
Why a Master’s Degree in Foreign Language Education is a Smart Move
Whether you teach Chinese or Spanish, Arabic or Russian, a master’s degree in foreign language education lays the groundwork for career advancement at any grade level, providing opportunities for department leadership, higher education, and more. But aspiring and current foreign language teachers aren’t the only ones who may benefit from a master’s degree in foreign language education. Many programs are also ideal coordinators of foreign language programs and professionals in international settings.
Common Coursework for Master’s in Foreign Language Degree Programs
In general, these master’s degree programs focus on teaching and learning foreign languages, with an emphasis on the latest research. Classes in theory and culture are typically combined with a practical component. Coursework usually includes:
- Linguistic Analysis
- Advanced Linguistics
- Applied Linguistics
- Second Language Acquisition
- Principles of Language Teaching
- Language Assessment
Your degree program may also include a practicum capstone or master’s thesis.
Schools with an Online Master’s Degree in Foreign Language Education
Online master’s programs in foreign language education are fairly uncommon compared to many other graduate programs, but students can often find a number of excellent options, particularly for those teaching French or Spanish. Some of the top online master’s degree programs in foreign language include:
- The master of arts in the teaching of languages at the University of Southern Mississippi is available completely online. Through this program, French and Spanish language educators from around the world enrich their research through discussion boards and chats.
- If you’d prefer an approach that blends traditional and online learning, you may wish to investigate the master of arts in teaching a second language at Bennington College. For most of the year, students are expected to split their time between a language and culture course and an action research course. In the summer, students live and study on campus in an immersion atmosphere.
- Teachers of languages other than Spanish and French often benefit from broader online programs such as a master of arts in foreign language teaching at Michigan State University. In addition to coursework on technology integration and curriculum planning, candidates work with a faculty mentor to complete an “experiential module” (for example, a teaching practicum or community service) and a final portfolio.
Career Opportunities for Foreign Language Teachers
In a shifting global economy, the demand for highly-qualified foreign language teachers largely depends on a language’s popularity. According to a 2009 Modern Language Association report, undergraduate enrollment in foreign-language courses—especially in Chinese and Arabic—has reached an all-time high.
However, as a 2008 Center for Applied Linguistics Survey highlighted, over the past decade, K-12 foreign language instruction has either remained stable or decreased. One major plus of a master’s degree in foreign language education is that it opens up career options outside of the K-12 setting, including teaching at a community college level. Foreign language teachers often find opportunities in:
- higher education
- private schools
- professional education settings
As a foreign language teacher, you can expect a median annual salary of $58,620, but keep in mind that different educational settings may offer better earning opportunities. Junior colleges, for example, often pay foreign language teachers a median of $75,290.