How Long Does ESL Teaching School Take?

The United States is a melting pot of people from different parts of the world. Some of them arrive here with very limited knowledge of English while their children sometimes barely speak the language at all. Since English is the medium of communication used in the country, they need to take up ESL or English as a Second Language (ESL) course to be able to learn the language and thrive in the United States. The task of ensuring that they understand basic survival expressions and on a deeper level, the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation falls on the hands of ESL teachers. ESL teachers can work with adult learners or with non-native learners of the English language who are enrolled in preschools, elementary schools and high schools, whether public or private, in the country.

The entry point towards this career is a bachelor’s degree in English, education or linguistics. This typically takes four years to finish. If you are obtaining an education degree, you will also need to enroll in teacher preparation programs so that you are equipped with how to present lessons and handle children coming from diverse backgrounds. These programs also give students the chance to handle real classes by letting them teach students. Once a student has graduated from a bachelor’s degree, they will need to obtain the necessary licenses to teach in a public school in their state.

The next step towards becoming an ESL teacher is to obtain a certificate in teaching English as a second language (TESL) or a master’s degree in ESL or ESL teaching. Certificate programs typically take anywhere from nine months to a year to complete while a master’s degree takes two to two-and-a half years to finish for fulltime students. Some schools also allow students to take up a master’s degree and ESL certification under the same program.

Thankfully, you can take both the ESL teaching certificate course and master’s degree online. Doing so will mean that you won’t have to stop working while you’re enrolled in the program. Arizona State University offers the master of arts in curriculum and instruction: English as a Second Language (ESL) program which can be taken online. Another online graduate program for certified teachers who want to take up postgraduate studies or certification is offered by the California University of Pennsylvania. One of the programs offered by the school is the ESL master’s plus certification which is for those seeking to get a master’s of education degree while preparing to get ESL certification. This can be completed in five semesters. For those who don’t want to obtain a master’s degree but simply earn their ESL certificate, Drexel University Online offers the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Certificate for those who already have the Pennsylvania Instructional I or Instructional II teaching certificate. This online program can be completed in six months to a year.

While online ESL programs offer the most flexibility, take note that these require discipline, time management and organization. You may decide when to watch lectures, study the materials or do your assignments but keep in mind that there are deadlines that must be met. By knowing what your priorities are, you have a higher chance of successfully completing your degree.

Career Spotlight: Esl Teacher

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