ESL Teacher

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Salary Range: $29,284 to $70,085

Average Hourly: $ 20

Education: Bachelor's degree

Number of Jobs: NA

Jobs Added to 2029:

Growth: Faster than average

Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

Work From Home

ESL Teachers are now easily working from home using the internet and online video teaching platforms.


What They Do

ESL (English Second Language) Tutors teach English to students whose first language is not English.  These professionals are also sometimes called English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) teachers. 

These teachers approach English skills from a real-life perspective, often focusing on conversational and job-related communication skills. They can help students function in an environment built upon the English language, or they may work abroad to introduce students to English. 

Travel may be required, and teachers might need an abundance of patience when working with students who may become frustrated when trying to learn an unfamiliar language.


An ESL teacher will perform duties expected of any teacher in that they will write lesson plans, create hands-on learning experiences, assess students, and work with fellow teachers to help students be successful.

ESL teachers may also be required to do other tasks such as monitoring halls or lunch and recess supervision. Teachers will also be required to meet with parents as well as faculty and staff in order to better student success.

  • Teach English for a variety of social settings

  • Teach English to achieve academics in all subject areas

  • Teach students to become effective self-advocates in English

  • Teach students to use effective learning strategies

  • Help students with cultural elements of the English speaking classroom

  • Help students advocate for their parents for necessary business and social transactions

  • Act as a point of reference for greater community resources for immigrants and language learning

  • Promote awareness of ESL in the context of the school and community

  • Be a knowledgeable point of reference for cultural mores and traditions of students' countries and cultures

  • Develop appropriate instructional strategies

  • Use a variety of instructional and assessment skills to ensure robust learning occurs

  • Understand and use a student's rate of acculturation

  • Be empathetic to a student's migration experience and its stressors

  • Be aware of the level of development in a student's first language and how this may impact ESL learning

  • Be aware of student's prior experiences with English and English speaking culture

  • Scaffold student's learning using their prior learning in their first language

  • Be mindful of whether or not learning disabilities are a factor

  • Create a caring and supportive ESL classroom environment


Work Environment Details

A certified ESL teacher is capable of teaching at any private, public, or charter school. However, ESL students are less likely to be present at private or charter schools and higher grade levels are more likely to have ESL teachers within a school.

Focusing mainly on public schools, an ESL teacher may travel between schools to serve small populations of students or may be full time at a larger middle or high school. These teachers will be responsible for teaching English to non-native speakers.

If a private or charter school does have an ESL teacher, the teacher can expect an even smaller population of students. Private schools may also require religious or group affiliations prior to hiring. Regardless of what type of school an ESL teacher chooses, the higher the population of non-native speakers in the area, the more likely an ESL job will be available.

Job Outlook

ESL teachers are projected to have a positive outlook for the next 10 to 15 years. The number of students who are entering school as bilingual or are just learning English is at an all-time high. This means ESL teachers are needed at all levels as ESL students can enter at any grade.


How to Become One

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for a professional ESL teacher. Most workers earn degrees in education, English, writing, or teaching English as a foreign language. Students may also earn education degrees that come with a bilingual concentration. Applicable coursework includes using technology to teach, motivating adult learners, working with learning disabilities, developing lesson plans, and teaching diverse cultures.

It's also a good idea to learn a second language. While being fluent in a language other than English is not necessary for employment as an ESL teacher, it's useful to have foreign language skills for this job. Training specific to acquiring a second language may be earned through certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs.


Upon completion of a bachelor's degree, aspiring ESL teachers typically must complete an ESL training program. For example, a certificate program in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) can provide the basic skills needed to teach ESL and attain licensure. Individuals will learn how to assess students' language skills, teach grammar lessons, and practice conversational skills. While many certificate programs do not require prior teaching experience, some ESL certificate programs are designed for working teachers who have already earned their teaching licenses.

Like other teachers, an ESL instructor needs a teaching license (sometimes called certification) to work professionally. Requirements vary by state and internationally, so it's beneficial for aspiring ESL teachers to research the steps necessary to teach in a specific geographic area. Common requirements include holding a bachelor's degree and completing an approved teacher training program. Some states have specific license requirements for adult education teachers, which an ESL teacher might fall under. Aspiring teachers may also need to pass a teaching test and a background check.

It might also be worth looking into a master's degree. Licensed ESL teachers who want to increase their employment opportunities might want to consider earning a graduate degree in ESL. Classes can include a number of research seminars and cover topics like linguistics, literacy development, and academic English. The program often ends with the completion of an original thesis.

United Kingdom Job Data