Skip to main content

Job Opportunities for Teachers of English As a Second Language (ESL)

January 5, 2022

With more than one million immigrants arriving each year in the United States, English as a second language (ESL) jobs should continue to grow in the coming decades. School districts nationwide have established ESL programs to serve students from non-English speaking countries, especially in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

From the founding of the country, the immigrant has been part of the national fabric. The U.S. has more immigrants than any other country in the world. More than 40 million people living in the U.S. came from another country – about one-fifth of all immigrants in the world.

ESL is a comprehensive program established to serve students in this diverse immigrant population. The program focuses on helping students function better in a U.S. society where English is the primary language. It can especially impact elementary-age students, giving them an early start on the gradual process of learning how to communicate in a new language.

Earning an online Master of Education in English as a Second Language goes beyond acquiring the skills needed to excel in this profession. Graduate students also learn the importance of an inclusive classroom and the latest issues shaping ESL education.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Job Options

While the U.S. has no official language, English has served since the nation’s founding as the primary language. Mastering English remains a key educational component for those arriving from other countries. That has led to a variety of English as a second language jobs for teachers.

Teaching in Public School

While not typically part of the official public school curriculum, many school districts offer ESL as a supplemental program. School districts also directly employ ESL teachers. Most of these types of jobs are available in urban areas, according to Urban school districts design programs that involve setting aside part of the school day to study English in a small group supervised by an ESL teacher.

Working as a Private Tutor

In areas where the demand for ESL courses is high, teachers may find numerous opportunities to work as independent tutors. They also may find work with private organizations that hire many people learning English as a second language.

Teaching English Abroad

Many new ESL teachers decide to take jobs teaching English abroad. Each country has different standards, but those with a master’s degree will typically meet the educational requirements. Some may require a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. Some also teach English online to both foreign and domestic students.

Daily Duties for ESL Teachers

Because of the variety of English as a second language jobs, no ESL teacher experiences the same workday. However, no matter where they work, ESL teachers plan and provide instruction that meets federal and state guidelines. They also ensure that their lesson plans keep students on the path to meeting district learning targets when working within the public school district.

ESL teachers address all aspects of communication, developing courses that enhance students’ ability to read, write, speak and listen to the English language. They also administer assessments to evaluate student’s progress toward meeting academic targets.

ESL teachers strive to provide a supportive, nurturing environment for students. This care includes making adjustments to the curriculum that meet the needs of individuals or small groups of students.

The Merrimack College ESL Master’s Degree

Concentrating in ESL is an option for Merrimack College students in the Master of Education program. It is one of many online master’s degrees and initial licensures, add-on licenses, and endorsements for teachers offered by Merrimack.

The ESL concentration prepares graduates to teach K-6 students. Each online course lasts for eight weeks, with students earning four credits for each class. Student graduate with 32 credits.

In addition to coursework, Merrimack also offers students immersion events, including guest speakers, seminars, and networking events. The program also offers three pre-practicums and a full practicum of 450 hours (15 weeks). All field-based experiences are arranged at schools located near the student’s home.

Earning a degree in ESL education opens the door to a wide variety of job opportunities. These jobs are perfectly suited for those who want to spend their teaching career helping new citizens make a smooth transition into U.S. society.