What You Should Know About This Degree
Teaching English to non-native speakers in U.S. public schools doesn’t require an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) certification, but the certification can be added to many state-issued teacher’s licenses. Earning a master’s in English-language learning is one way to obtain this certification and become a licensed teacher. If you’re already a licensed teacher, however, there may be shorter certification programs available.
Working in this field also doesn’t require fluency in another language, but speaking something other than English can be helpful. Some targeted degree programs require students to know Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic upon enrolling.
The coursework for online degrees can usually be completed remotely, but programs might have an in-person component. Check both for brief on-campus requirements and longer practicum requirements as you research programs, and make sure any such requirement is compatible with your schedule and budget.
Many English language learners (ELLs) who graduate from high school have become fluent in English, and these graduates are taking some ESOL teaching positions. If you pursue this career field, be prepared to work part-time or in multiple settings because of the changing demographic of teachers. If you’re a former ELL who’s now fluent, a master’s degree could make you very attractive to employers.
Consider these questions as you research and evaluate master’s in English-language learning programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can likely enroll in a master’s in English-language learning program. Certain programs may also require you to have a teaching license or know another language, though. These programs tend to be more narrowly focused than those that don’t have additional requirements.
- What licensing or certification is required? Teaching English to non-native speakers doesn’t require a license or certification, but they can be helpful. You may want to pursue Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification, or a similar certification to set yourself apart from others in the field.
When you’ve shortlisted programs of interest, research each one’s application requirements. You can get the details on the required application materials and deadlines by visiting a program’s website or contacting the program directly.
Also make sure you have a way to pay tuition. Discuss scholarship and financial aid opportunities with programs, and check whether your employer provides tuition reimbursement if you’re working.