Online degrees in ESL
Teaching English as a second language (ESL) is a growing need in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the percentage of school-aged children who spoke a language other than English at home increased from 10 percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2009.
Students from non-English-speaking backgrounds often need additional support learning to speak, read and write in English, and ESL teachers specialize in helping these students. ESL education is offered at every age level, from pre-kindergarten through adult education.
There are several paths to becoming an ESL teacher. Generally, ESL teachers have a bachelor's degree and specialized training in teaching ESL. The following ESL degree programs are available for college graduates:
- Master of Arts in ESL. Master's degree programs in ESL instruction take one to two years to complete and include coursework in research methods, language acquisition and educational theory. Many ESL master's degree programs require students to complete a capstone project based on research and in-depth study of a particular topic. A valid teaching credential is required for admission to some ESL master's degree programs.
- ESL Certificate. ESL certificate courses allow teachers to gain ESL expertise without pursuing a master's degree. Certificate programs can be completed in under a year, and offer specialized instruction in teaching reading and writing to non-English-speaking students, methods of teaching English, and cross-cultural studies. Most certificate programs require applicants have a bachelor's degree.
Online degrees in ESL are offered at both the certificate and master's degree level. Students select classes to fit their schedule and demonstrate knowledge through papers, exams and projects. While some ESL degree programs require a teaching practicum component, others can be completed entirely online. Online degrees in ESL make sense for licensed teachers looking to gain expertise in ESL instruction while continuing to work full time.
Online degrees in ESL aren't just for ESL instructors--an understanding of ESL best practices can also be beneficial for the following professionals:
- Elementary- and secondary-school teachers. Teachers across grade levels and subjects must be able to reach students of multiple linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Gaining expertise in ESL education can help these teachers expand their reach in the classroom.
- Curriculum designers. Curriculum designers are constantly evaluating and improving the curriculum for a subject, grade level or school district. In order to reach all learners, curriculum designers must understand the principles behind ESL education.
- Education administrators. Administrators at the elementary through post-secondary level must offer support to non-English-speaking students. Knowledge of ESL best practices allows administrators to hire and support effective ESL faculty.
- Policy makers. With ESL students surpassing 20 percent of the total school-aged population, according to the NCES, ESL education is an important part of educational policy.
In addition to an interest in education, those pursuing a degree in ESL instruction should be comfortable working with students from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds. Communication skills and the ability to motivate others are also important.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 69,000 adult basic and literacy instructors (including adult ESL instructors) employed in the U.S. in 2010. These instructors earned a median annual salary of $46,530.
A certificate or master's degree in ESL can also enhance the careers of teachers at the elementary and secondary levels. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for elementary school teachers in 2010 was $51,660, and that of secondary school teachers was $53,230. Earning a master's degree can help teachers earn above-average salaries. In 2010, the ninetieth percentile of elementary-school teachers earned an annual salary of $80,140, and the ninetieth percentile of secondary-school teachers earned $83,230.
- Careers: Online degrees in ESL can lead to careers in adult education, elementary- and secondary-school education, curriculum design and educational policy making.
- Salaries: In 2010, the middle 50 percent of adult education instructors earned annual salaries between $35,440 and $63,380, according to the BLS. The upper quartile of elementary-school teachers earned over $64,890 in 2010.
- Education: Training in ESL is available at certificate and master's levels.
Online Degree Programs in ESL
Online. Accelerated. Affordable. Accredited.
Earn your degree online with Grand Canyon University. We offer approximately 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of fields that can be completed 100% online.
- M.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Does not lead to initial teacher licensure)
- M.A. in Teaching - Professional Learning Communities (Does not lead to initial teacher licensure)
- M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction: Technology (Does not lead to initial teacher licensure)
Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.
- Master of Education: English as a Second Language (ESL)
Work toward your degree online with Concordia University.
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) (K - Adult)
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: English Language Development
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
- M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Common Core State Standards Instructional Leader
Work toward your degree online with California Baptist University.