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Build a Fulfilling TESOL Career: Unlocking Your Potential

Table of Contents  
  1. Get Certified
  2. Explore Career Paths

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For many young professionals and aspiring teachers, going abroad to teach English is a chance to gain experience, earn some money and see the world for a few years before returning home to a more conventional career. But, while teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) has a reputation as a dead-end job, that reputation simply isn’t accurate. You can build your whole career on TESOL, whether at home or abroad.

How? First, you’ll want to gain some advanced certification in the field. Then, you’ll want to explore different career paths that TESOL teachers can take, whether they want to get out of the classroom or continue teaching full-time. The skills and experience you’ll gain teaching English abroad will leave you with many options, especially if you earn the academic credentials you’ll need to advance in the field.

Get Certified

Internationally, there are plenty of opportunities for young people starting out in teaching English abroad, and most just require a bachelor’s degree. If you want to teach abroad for a few years to earn money, gain work experience and see the world before returning home to a more conventional career, you don’t need to earn any certifications or advanced degrees in TESOL. But if you decide that you want to make TESOL your career, you’d better get some additional qualifications.

England’s Cambridge University administers two of the most common certifications for TESOL teachers, the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) and the Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Delta). You can obtain the CELTA certificate before you begin teaching English or even if you want to teach classes in other subjects, such as math or business, in an English-language school or university. You will need at least one year of experience in TESOL before you can obtain the Delta qualification, but it’s a good diploma to have if you intend to make a career out of TESOL. Both qualifications are intensive courses that can be completed in person or online.

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If you’re considering a career in TESOL, a Master’s in TESOL is a great qualification to have. Many top universities offer online programs, allowing you to continue teaching abroad while earning your degree. Before pursuing an MA, it’s wise to earn the Delta, as the two complement each other and may even reduce the cost of your degree. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to advance your TESOL career!

Explore Career Paths

By the time you earn qualifications such as the CELTA, Delta, and MA in TESOL, you will likely have gained a few years of valuable classroom experience. At this point, you will be ready to explore different TESOL career paths, or search for full-time TESOL positions either at home or abroad.

TESOL professionals with advanced degrees have many career paths open to them. If you prefer to remain in the classroom but require a higher salary and more professional support, you can qualify for a full-time teaching job at one of the numerous international schools that hire full-time teachers. With a master’s degree, you may even be eligible to teach at the university level, although pursuing a doctorate in the field would likely be necessary if you wish to pursue an academic career.

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If you’re ready to get out of the classroom or simply want to take your career in a new direction, you can move into language school administration, which is a popular choice for TESOL professionals who want to advance in the field. Training other up-and-coming TESOL professionals is also a popular choice; you can teach CELTA, Delta or other TESOL qualification classes and administer tests.

Are you one of the many TESOL teachers who earned a bachelor’s in English, journalism or communications? Your academic background and professional skills could help you succeed as an author of ESL textbooks, tests, and teaching materials. Teaching English, or any other subject, for that matter, requires reams of written material, and it’s someone’s job to write it. That someone could be you.

There are just some of the options available to you when you decide to make your career in the TESOL field. Get the qualifications you need to get ahead, and soon you’ll find that TESOL isn’t a dead-end job or a pit-stop on the road to your “real career” – it is your real career!

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