Teacher Education for English Teachers

If you love reading, writing and grammar and want to share your passion for English with others, a career as an English teacher may be right for you. Read on to learn more about education and licensing, and find information about job growth and earnings for English teachers here.

Is Teaching English for Me?

English teachers usually provide instruction in grammar, literature, reading and writing. They may also help students acquire speech and research skills. Many schools offer degree programs in English education at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Although English teachers are more common at the middle school, high school and college levels, an elementary school curriculum will also include instruction in English. As an elementary school teacher, you'll help younger students acquire grammar, spelling and reading skills and lay the foundation for further language and literary studies.

Employment Information

As reported by the BLS, there were more than one million people employed as elementary school teachers in 2012, while a respective 946,730 and 621,970 were working as high school and middle school teachers. In the same year, about 75,320 professors taught English and literature. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers were projected to increase by 12% nationwide between 2012 and 2022; openings for high school teachers were expected to grow slower than average, at 6%, and postsecondary teaching opportunities were projected to increase 19% during the same period (www.bls.gov).

Salary Information

The BLS reported that as of May 2013, the median annual salary for high school teachers was $55,360, while middle school teachers earned $53,940. In the same month, the median annual salary for elementary school teachers was $53,590. As of May 2013, college and university English language and literature professors enjoyed a median salary of $60,920 a year (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Become an English Teacher?

Bachelor's Degree Programs

To become an English teacher, you'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Public school teachers in all 50 states must be licensed; requirements include a passing score on an exam administered by the state's Board of Education. A bachelor's degree in elementary education is usually required to teach students in the lower grades; you'll most likely need a 4-year degree in English or English education to teach middle or high school.

An undergraduate English curriculum typically covers the history and structure of the English language and includes courses in business writing, creative writing and classical literature. You'll also learn about curriculum development and classroom management and complete a student teaching experience.

Master's Degree Programs

A master's degree in English education may enhance your career and salary potential at the middle and high school levels or help you qualify for a position at a community college. In a master's degree program, you'll explore the practical applications of educational theories while studying linguistics, language development and reading strategies. You might also pursue topics in advanced grammar, delve into women's literature and discover techniques for teaching writing skills.

Doctoral Degree Programs

University professors usually need a doctoral degree. Coursework may include topics in research methodology or show you how to teach composition and writing. Some schools may require a specialization in a related field, such as educational research or philosophy, or allow for a field internship. You should also be prepared to write and defend an original dissertation.

Required Skills

As a qualified teacher, you'll be creative and patient, and have the ability to motivate your students. You should also have the communication and organizational skills necessary to present information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.

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