What Majors Will Prepare ME to Teach ESL?

A major in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) will prepare you for a career as an ESL (English as a second language) teacher. You'll develop the skills needed to teach the English language to others and how to teach English to every age group. Schools offering Teaching ESL degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Training Do I Need to Teach ESL?

Programs that prepare you to teach English as a second language (ESL) are known as TESOL programs. Applied linguistics or TESOL programs can be useful to learn about teaching languages; however, TESOL programs are designed specifically for those looking to teach English to non-native speakers. While many colleges offer bachelor's degree programs, certificate programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They sometimes accompany other degree programs or are used to boost current job skills.

Some certificate programs are available through online study. The TESOL association maintains a list of colleges that offer TESOL certificate and degree programs.

Program TypesBachelor's degrees, undergraduate and graduate certificates
Common Course TopicsTeaching methodologies, language acquisition, English syntax, English language history, challenges of second language development
Key Skills to SuccessKnowledge of another language, understanding the citizenship and naturalization process, experience teaching different backgrounds and age groups
LicensureRequirements vary by state; teacher's licensure is often enough, but additional ESL certification may be required

What Will I Learn in a TESOL Program?

Teaching non-English speakers requires that you understand the basics of education and teaching in general. TESOL programs focus on linguistics, homework usage, teaching methodologies, instructional technology, language acquisition, pedagogy, curriculum development, word formation, assessment and testing.

You'll study subjects that prepare you for teaching English, such as phonetics, grammar, English language history, rhetoric, public speaking and English syntax. The program familiarized you with TESOL training materials and instructional tools.

Post-baccalaureate certificate programs break down the English language into segments used to organize the teaching of the English language. You'll look at how English is used and how to teach English literacy. You'll also look at the challenges of second language development, so you can foster an understanding of how your students think and learn.

What Other Skills Will Benefit My Work?

One of the primary skills beneficial to your work experience is the knowledge of another language. By understanding the procedures and difficulties associated with learning a second language, you'll understand what your students are going through. For example, if you teach Spanish-speaking students, and you know the Spanish language, you'll be able to communicate better with them than when a language barrier would otherwise exist. Also, when working in another country, your stay will be more comfortable if you know your host's language.

You'll also benefit from understanding the citizenship and naturalization process. Knowledge of different backgrounds and age groups can help you to teach to a variety of students, whether they're individuals with special needs, adults, young children, business professionals or refugees.

Do I Need Licensure?

Certification and licensure vary between states. Licensure is a state-given credential demonstrating that you have all the skills necessary to meet their requirements. Generally, a teacher certification meets the requirement to teach ESL. Some colleges offer programs that prepare you for additional TESOL licensure. If you want to work outside of the country, you'll need to check with that country's authorized agency to find their certification or licensure requirements.

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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