Online ESL Teaching Degree Programs

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) offers you opportunities to work with non-native speakers, either domestically or abroad. Read on to learn about online programs and certifications that qualify you to become an ESL teacher, requirements, topics of study, career opportunities and online study options. Schools offering Teaching ESL degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Levels of ESL Teaching Programs Can I Pursue Online?

You have many options available when it comes to online options for ESL teaching programs; including graduate certificate programs, as well as bachelor's and master's degree programs. A certificate program may lead to a state-approved teaching endorsement for teaching English language learners in a public school. Often, these programs require a bachelor's degree in teaching, as well as a teacher's license and work experience.

Bachelor's and master's degree programs often provide you with the opportunity to become a state-licensed ESL teacher, unless the programs are geared toward working with adult English language learners. Having a master's degree in this field can prepare you for either K-12 teaching or for working in ESL programs at colleges or technical schools.

Admission Requirements Bachelor's degree in teaching, teaching license and work experience usually required (for graduate programs)
Degree/Certificate Options Bachelor's and master's degrees, graduate certificates
Common Courses English linguistics, second language acquisition, history of English, assessment for ESL
Online Options Online programs available; they are usually highly interactive and require word processing and spreadsheet software
Career Opportunities ESL instructional coordinator, English teacher at community colleges or in support programs, ESL teacher for adults

What Courses Will I Take?

ESL teaching programs focus on second language acquisition theories and teaching methods. You will learn methods for developing speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in the English language. Your program will likely emphasize literacy issues across content areas. Field experience is a strong component in many of these programs. Some specific courses at the graduate level include:

  • English linguistics
  • Second language acquisition
  • Assessment for ESL
  • History of English
  • Methods for teaching English grammar

How Do I Earn This Degree Online?

Teaching may sound like an unlikely degree to earn online. However, through coordinated classroom experience in ESL teaching combined with online instruction, you can often gain the teaching knowledge and experience that prepares you for a successful career online.

Online learning is typically very interactive. Through a course website and course management system, you'll access course materials, respond to discussion prompts and take exams. Email, telephone and discussion posts are the means most often used for communicating with your instructor and fellow students. Standard software programs used for the online learning environment include word processing, PDF readers and spreadsheet programs.

What Can I Do With a Degree in ESL Teaching?

Earning a certificate or degree in ESL teaching can often open up administrative and teaching opportunities. Many school districts were unprepared for the influx of non-English speaking students, making professionals who are trained in teaching ESL highly valued.

If you're a licensed teacher, you may choose to earn a certificate to better support the English language learners in your classroom. With a master's degree, you may become the ESL instructional coordinator. You can also teach adults learning English at a community college or through community support programs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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