What Is an English Instructor?

Learn about the education requirements for English instructors working in middle, high school and college classrooms. You can also explore job duties, salary info and employment outlooks for teachers employed in each of these settings. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an English Instructor?

English instructors teach students reading comprehension, writing skills, critical thinking and analysis, and literature. Secondary-level English instructors have to teach subjects in accordance to state standards, while postsecondary instructors may teach in specialized areas. They are responsible for designing and teaching lesson plans, keeping track of student performance, grading work, and enforcing any applicable policies. Grade school teachers may have to meet with parents or assist with preparations for college at the high school level. At the post-secondary level, instructors may help guide career plans. They also may contribute to research in the field or serve on department committees. Discover degree options, career statistics, and job growth expectancy below in the chart below.

Middle or High School English InstructorPostsecondary English Instructor
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Master's or Ph.D
Education Field of Study English, creative writing, literature, education English, creative writing, literature
Certification and Licensure State certification or licensure for teaching in public schoolsN/A
Key Responsibilities Teach reading comprehension, writing skills, grammar, mechanics, critical thinking, and literature Teach advanced and specialized topics in English language, literature and writing
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for all middle and high school teachers) 10% (for English language and literature postsecondary teachers)
Median Salary (2015)* $55,860 (for all middle school teachers), $57,200 (for all high school teachers) $61,990 (postsecondary English teachers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Does An English Instructor Work?

You can teach English to students in middle school, high school or college. Each educational level may require different job duties and skill sets. For example, an English instructor in middle school may be concerned with teaching students basic reading comprehension, writing and grammar skills while following a curriculum developed by state education boards. As a high school English instructor, you may teach your students about American literature and the origins of the English language. You may also teach composition, literary analysis or intermediate grammar skills.

Postsecondary English instructors may specialize in an area of literature or writing, including British literature, Western literature, creative writing, rhetoric or literary criticism. At this level, you can teach classes in your specialty, or you might teach survey courses.

What Are the Requirements?

To be a middle school or high school English teacher, you need to be licensed by the Department of Education in your state. To obtain a license, you can earn a degree in English and complete a teacher preparation program, which usually requires you to take courses on teaching practices, technology or educational theory and work as a student teacher. Some states require teachers to earn a master's degree within a certain period after being licensed.

To work as an English instructor at the college level, you may need to earn a master's degree in English or literature. Some positions may require prior college teaching experience. A Ph.D. may be required to pursue advanced teaching positions, such as becoming an English professor.

What Are the Job Market and Salary Like?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that from 2014 to 2024, employment of middle and high school teachers was expected to grow 6% and English postsecondary teachers 10% (www.bls.gov). As of 2015, the median annual salary for middle school teachers was $55,860, and high school teachers earned a median wage of $57,200, according to the BLS. As of May 2015, postsecondary English instructors earned a median annual salary of $61,990, based on BLS statistical data; however, this salary report included both instructors who focus entirely on teaching and professors who may have research responsibilities in addition to teaching.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers for middle and high school teachers include career and technical education teachers and special education teachers. Career and technical education teachers lead classes on vocational subjects, such as auto repair. Special education teachers instruct students with physical, mental and/or learning disabilities in public schools. Both of these careers require a bachelor's degree and teaching license for entry. One related field for postsecondary teachers are postsecondary education administrators. These professionals oversee the operations of the department they're assigned to, such as student life. This field requires a master's degree.

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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