How Can I Become a TOEFL Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for TOEFL teachers. Get the facts about job duties, education, certification, and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a TOEFL Teacher?

A TOEFL teacher is an instructor who specializes in preparing students for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. This test is for immigrants and other students whose first language is not English, and students can use their scores to demonstrate to postsecondary schools and employers that they are proficient in English. TOEFL teachers provide courses that include simulation tests, sample questions, vocabulary-building exercises and practice with writing, speaking, listening and reading English. In addition, TOEFL teachers cover test-taking strategies that can help students succeed on timed exams.

Read the chart below to find out more about the general requirements for a career in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study English, education, foreign languages, teaching methodology, educational psychology
Certification TESOL certification
Key Responsibilities Help students learn both English language and English culture in preparation for taking the TOEFL exam
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers)*
Median Salary (2017) $40,184 (for all ESL teachers)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Just What Is the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is an exam administered all over the world by an organization called the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The TOEFL exam is administered by universities and sometimes employers to assess an individual's ability to comprehend and write in English. A 16-member board affiliated with a number of universities and international agencies oversees the policies that govern the TOEFL exam. It's possible to take the TOEFL exam either in paper form or over the Internet.

What Education Do I Need?

You'll need to earn your bachelor's degree in order to professionally teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Although you can choose from a number of possible majors in order to become a TOEFL teacher, a common choice is language arts. A few courses you can expect in a typical bachelor's degree program in language arts include creative writing, literary studies, educational psychology and teaching methods. You may earn your teacher certification as a part of several bachelor's degree programs in language arts, or you can pursue it separately after graduating.

What Training Do I Need?

Typically, you'll need to choose what areas of the world your ESL students will call home. For example, preparing a group of Spanish-speaking ESL students for the TOEFL exam involves a considerably different skill set than teaching a group who speaks Mandarin Chinese. ETS offers curriculum development programs for teachers through which you can become thoroughly acquainted with the TOEFL exam. The Propell Workshop for the TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Testing) Test is a 1-day workshop during which you'll receive learning techniques, scoring systems, books, a practice test and a helpful CD-ROM. ETS also offers a series of test preparation manuals that range from intermediate to advanced level.

What Is the Job Market Like?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of adult literacy, remedial education and GED teaching positions is expected to increase by 7%, or 5,500 jobs, from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS estimated in May 2015 that the median annual wage for adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors was $50,280. In 2017, PayScale.com stated that ESL teachers in the 10th-90th percentile range made between $24,721-60,953.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in teaching adult education courses, you could also consider becoming a technical educator. These professionals offer courses that prepare students for specific careers, such as hospitality or auto repair. You need to have at least a bachelor's degree for this job. Another option is to work as a high school teacher. At some schools, you might be able to work specifically with English language learners, or you could specialize in teaching a traditional subject like history or math. In order to work in a public high school, you need to have a bachelor's degree and a teaching license.

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