Learning the English language is an important life skill for students who may be new to the United States and struggle with communication. As an ESL educator, you’ll play a key role in developing their understanding and communication skills in English — and adapting general curriculum to a language they can understand.
Why You Should Pursue a Master’s in English as a Second Language
Designed for English as a Second Language (ESL) educators at any stage of their careers, a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL)/ESL/bilingual education can license you to teach in K-12 settings, prepare you for school leadership roles, add luster to your resume, and make you eligible for higher pay. And just as important, it gives you the chance to learn about and experiment with new developments in bilingual education.
What You’ll Study in a Master’s in ESL Program
Master’s degree programs specializing in teaching English as a second language typically focus on theoretical and applied teaching principles. In addition to courses on methodologies, policy issues and assessment, you may also be required to complete a classroom internship. Most programs include courses such as:
- Second Language Acquisition
- Language and Society
- English Language Learning
- Technology in the Second Language Classroom
- English Immersion
Where You Can Earn a Master’s in TESOL
A constant wave of immigrants and new U.S. citizens means that there’s always a need for teachers who specialize in English as a second language. Colleges recognize this need, and have developed a number of online degrees available in this area of study. Consider these online programs:
- The University of Maryland, Baltimore County offers an online master of arts in TESOL for teachers of ESL and EFL (English as a Foreign Language). The non-certification internship can be completed in the U.S. or abroad; candidates who add a K-12 English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certification must complete two semesters of observation and teaching in Baltimore or Washington, D.C. area public schools.
- Arizona State University has an online master of arts in curriculum and instruction with an ESL concentration designed to prepare professionals in a wide range of roles to teach English in a variety of settings. Since candidates are not required to hold a teaching certificate, administrators and community workers are welcome to apply.
What You Can Do with an Online Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language
Thanks to an unprecedented influx of English language learners, TESOL teachers are in high demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth of 9 percent in adult literacy and ESL educators from 2012 to 2022.
In addition to careers in K-12 public schools, teachers with an accredited online master’s degree in ESL/TESOL may have the opportunity to work abroad and at home in:
- community colleges
- private schools
- language institutes
- adult education settings
Adult literacy and ESL educators can expect a median annual salary of $48,590, but often, ESL educators in K-12 settings will earn more: high school teachers, for example, will earn about $55,050 per year.