What Are the Certification Requirements for Bilingual Teachers?

If you're interested in other cultures or come from a multicultural background, read on to learn about a bilingual teaching career. Find out about certification and education requirements for this field. Schools offering Teaching ESL degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Bilingual Teachers Defined

Being bilingual means you can speak two different languages fluently. The dominant language, in most cases, is English when teaching in the U.S. Other popular languages include Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

As a bilingual teacher, you may teach students an additional language. In these classes, you'll be helping students learn how to write and speak another language. Most teaching positions of this type are found in high schools or postsecondary schools. However, you may also find work in elementary or middle schools, with independent companies or in your own business.

Your teaching duties may involve working with non-native English speakers. This job position is usually called an English as a second language (ESL) teacher. When working with ESL students, you will teach them how to speak, read and write English. You may also serve as their main teacher and teach subjects like math, social studies and science. These jobs may be found with schools and companies, or you may work in your own business.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $49,590 (for adult basic and secondary education teachers)
Key Skills Communication skills, patience, resourcefulness, cultural sensitivity
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 7% growth (for adult basic and secondary education teachers)
Concentrations Adult learners, young learners

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensing Requirements

Licensing is required in every state for teachers working in public schools. You may not need a license to work in a private school or at a college or university. Licensing requirements vary by state, but you'll likely need to have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited and approved bilingual education program and supervised teaching experience in a bilingual setting. To earn a teaching license, you usually must complete a proficiency examination. To work as a bilingual teacher, you may need to complete an additional certification or endorsement test.

Educational Programs

There is no one path you must take to complete the required education to work as a bilingual teacher. You may earn your degree in education or in the language you will be teaching. If you don't complete an education program, you may need to complete an additional program in education and instruction. However, you may find some bilingual education programs, which allow you to get the language and education training you need.

If you want to teach at the postsecondary level, you may need to get a graduate degree. For work in your own business, you may want to take courses in business or earn a second degree in business administration.

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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