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How to Make a Career Out of TESOL

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

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.

Your academic background and professional skills could help you succeed as an author of ESL textbooks, tests and teaching materials.

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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.

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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.

“Certification programs ensure the competence of professionals through a measurement of skills and knowledge. Certification exams go beyond training by providing a measurement of knowledge and skills. When employers are looking to hire or promote, education is an important determining factor, which is why it’s important to earn certificates in your field. Below, we’ve taken the time to highlight a few other reasons why certifications are important.” – Towson.edu

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.

Another great qualification to have if you want to make TESOL your career is a Master’s in TESOL. Many reputable universities offer TESOL master’s programs online, so you don’t have to quit teaching abroad and come home while you earn the degree – you can work on it where you are. If you think you might want to get an MA in TESOL, you should earn the Delta first. Not only do the two qualifications complement each other, but earning the Delta may help you knock out some of the credits you’ll need to complete your MA in TESOL, so you can get the degree for cheaper.

Explore Career Paths

By the time you’ve earned qualifications like the CELTA, Delta and MA in TESOL, you’ll also most likely have at least a few years of classroom experience. You’ll be ready to either choose a different TESOL career path or look for full-time TESOL positions at home or abroad.

There are many career paths open to TESOL professionals, especially those with advanced degrees. If you want to stay in the classroom but need a higher salary and more professional support, you can qualify for a full-time teaching job at one of the many international schools that hire full-time teachers. With a master’s degree, you may even qualify to teach at the university level, although you’ll most likely need to earn a doctorate in the field if you want a career in academia.

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.

Photo by Thomas Kolnowski on Unsplash

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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