ESL Certification is an essential qualification for anyone teaching English as a second language. The certificate shows that the holder has completed training in teaching English to people whose primary language is not English.
Have you ever been intrigued by the idea of becoming an English as a second language (ESL) teacher?
The job of an ESL teacher is to work with non-native speakers and help them learn to understand, read, write, and speak in English easily!
However, there is so much more for ESL teachers than just teaching English. ESL teachers have the opportunity to engage with students from a wide range of cultures on a daily basis. Imagine how thrilling and exciting that is.
Being an ESL teacher, you may work in private or public schools, language academies, or private lessons to children out of your home.
Many ESL teachers even enjoy the flexibility of working remotely, from wherever they choose, by just using their laptops.
Moreover, you may work with immigrants and refugees and even travel across countries to teach English. We’ll be talking more about traveling around the world teaching English further in the article.
Being an English as a second language teacher or teaching non-English speakers how to understand and speak English can be a significantly rewarding career option.
In simple words, the job of an ESL teacher can be one of the fascinating jobs there are, but it is not an easy one. Learning the requirements and responsibilities for the ESL teacher job may help you figure out whether this career path is right for you or not.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Acronyms related to ESL Certification
- What is ESL Certification?
- Specific skills required to be an ESL teacher?
- Requirements to become an ESL teacher?
- ESL certification: where to get verified?
However, it’s worth taking a little time to lay out some groundwork for the acronyms relating to ESL certification.
Here are some other relevant terms that vary by region, state, district, and school but refer to the same field:
- English Language Learners (ELL): Refers to English language learners typically found in K-12 environments.
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD): This refers to students coming from a home environment where English isn’t spoken, and the children are suspected of having education disabilities. The needs of the CLD students are much broader than just learning English.
- English Language Teaching or Training (ELT): This refers to the same meaning as ESL, but ELT is primarily used in the United Kingdom.
- Teaching English for Academic Purposes (TEAP or EAP): Teaching students how to understand English, write and read formally, prepare presentations, and use English for academic performance.
- Teaching English as a New Language (TENL or ENL): This refers to teaching English as a new language or used in some states in place of ESL.
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL or EFL): Refers to teaching English to students in a non-English speaking country.
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL or ESOL): Refers to teaching English to speakers of other languages or a field of teaching that includes both TESL and TEFL. It may refer to English as a second language, but English may be the third or fourth language in a TESOL program.
- Teaching English for Specific Purposes (TESP or ESP): Refers to a learner-centered approach to teaching English for specific purposes, such as developing competence in specific disciplines, including academics, accounting, IT, engineering, and business.
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Refers to an English language test that creates a baseline for comparison of children by their English language capabilities. The test comprises four sections—reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
Let’s now begin with the ins and outs, requirements, and capabilities that are necessary to be an ESL teacher.
What is an ESL Certification?
An ESL certification is proof of completion for the course to teach English as a second language. Many companies require English as a second language teachers to have an ESL certification.
As a matter of fact, many companies state ESL certification as the main requirement to become an ESL teacher, no matter if you’re looking forward to teaching online or in a classroom.
ESL certification, also known as TESL certification (teaching English as a second language), is one piece of accomplishment that can almost guarantee you an excellent ESL job. I’m using “almost” here because most countries require that English language teachers at least have a bachelor’s degree and some past teaching experience.
Here are a few standard requirements necessary to become an ESL teacher and enjoy the dream job of teaching English to students of all kinds.
Common Requirements for ESL Teachers
The common requirements for teaching ESL can be tough to pin down. Moreover, it largely depends on where you want to teach, what company or language school you want to join, and/or the type of TESL journey you’re looking forward to.
- If you want to teach ESL in a country where English is the primary language, you will only require a standard teaching degree and some prior teaching experience.
- If you want to teach ESL abroad or internationally, there are going to be much more requirements.
In any case, here are the most common requirements for ESL teachers.
- A bachelor’s degree
Most schools and companies prefer that you hold a bachelor’s degree at the least to start working as an ESL teacher.
2. TEFL or TESOL or TESL certification
These English-teaching certifications are the most common requirements for qualifying for an ESL teaching job.
- TEFL is for those who want to teach in a non-English speaking country.
- TESOL is for those who want to teach English to second-language speakers in an English-speaking country.
- TESL is the ground certification for teaching English as a second language.
3. Excellent writing, vocabulary, and communication skills
Suppose you want to be an ESL teacher and help students master the language in all its forms, including writing, reading, and speaking. In that case, you must have exceptional written and verbal English communication skills.
4. Computer literacy
You may be required to work remotely or teach English online a lot of times, which is why you must have fluency in computer usage.
It is necessary to know the ins and outs of using a computer or laptop to teach English online if you plan on being an ESL teacher.
5. ESL certification standard requirements
Your ESL certification must meet specific standards and be internationally authorized so that you can easily get a job as an ESL teacher at any institute.
Some standards that most ESL companies validate include:
- The TESL training must be at least 120 hours long, completing the whole coursework.
- It must consist of at least 10-20 hours of live practice teaching, observed by a non-native English speaker (not role-playing) along with fellow TEFL classmates.
- An authorized schedule from an independent and recognized organization in the ESL field.
- The certification training should also have instructions from a qualified and experienced instructor with a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in TESOL or any other related field.
6. Teaching License by the States and the government
Many teaching programs are offered by prominent universities that share the same motive of grooming undergraduates for an ESL teaching career. These programs often include a teacher preparation plan as well as preparation for state and federal license.
So, these were some of the basic requirements for people wanting to be an ESL teacher. You might find them intimidating, but these requirements aren’t too much if you look at the rewarding side of the job.
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How much does it cost to get an ESL certification?
The cost to get ESL certified lies anywhere from $200 for the regular 120-hour training up to $2000 for much more intensive and thorough training. Basically, the cost of an ESL certification depends on the type or combination of programs and the institute you choose for your certification.
Here is how much it costs to get ESL certified based on types of training:
- Local ESL training certification (home town) can cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 for university-level training that usually lasts for four weeks. The training on this level is highly intensive.
- Abroad on-site training certification can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. However, it consists of similar level training as on-site local.
There is some difference in the training cost between local and abroad certification, mainly because tuition is comparably lower in other countries. But, you’ll need to travel to another country to complete the on-site training and get your certification.
Besides the lower training cost, another advantage to abroad on-site certification is that you immerse in the local culture and environment of a completely different place.
- Online certifications may be your cheapest training option to be ESL certified as they cost somewhere between $300 to $600 only. If this is the only range in your budget, you must ensure choosing an online program that at least covers the minimum requirements of ESL training. Before enrolling in a course, verify:
- Is the course authorized?
- Is the instructor of the course qualified?
- How long do you have to finish the course?
- Does the course meet the minimum of 120-hour training requirement as per ESL job essentials?
- Is the course interactive; have assignments, fun activities, quizzes, as well as a progress tracker?
If you find an online course under your budget that abides by all these requirements, you must go for it. That course may not be as thorough and competent as the other training methods, but it is something to consider.
- Hybrid certifications are a blend of on-site and online training that costs anywhere around $300 to $1,000. This kind of training is quite interesting as it covers both traveling to a designated country, and participating in an online course where you can learn face-to-face classroom teaching abilities.
In addition to paying for the type of training you choose, there are a few more things to consider when calculating the total cost of TESL/TEFL/TESOL certification.
Addons like travel and lodging, books, and other training materials, as well as the cost of the actual certificate (around $50 to $100), will likely increase the overall cost of your certification.
ESL Certification: Here is where to get certified!
Now that you properly understand the requirements and cost of becoming an ESL teacher, here are the three best places to get certified to teach English as a second language. ESL certification is essential for this dream job, and these training programs are professionally accredited:
#1. i-to-i (Most affordable in the market)
When it comes to online courses for TESL, i-to-i is one of the most affordable programs that offer you 120 hours of study material and costs only $139 for basic online training.
In addition to that, you can also choose the 180-hour course offered by i-to-i, which includes substantially more content on teaching young students and revising better grammar. Moreover, i-to-i even offers 300-hour TESL courses, TESOL-equivalent courses, and so much more.
If you’re relatively new to teaching and are trying to be on a budget, i-to-i may be your best bet at teaching English as a second language. The complete program is online, and you need to have the self-discipline to complete the course and put in the work to land an ESL job.
Another affordable and efficient TEFL program, myTEFL, offers a standard 120-hour course for only $299. The best part about this course is that along with the online lessons and assignments, myTEFL also provides you with:
- A letter of recommendation once the procedure is finished
- Assistance in finding a job
Once you enroll in myTEFL, you have six months to complete the course; alongside, you can access the course content for an additional six months, which will be a great help when you finally start teaching.
myTEFL is one of the best companies for TEFL certifications as they offer hands-on tutoring, and they also donate to charity with every enrollment.
#3. International TEFL Academy
International TEFL Academy is hands down the best course available for TEFL certification and has been ranked A+ by Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The 11 weeks of intensive TEFL training is comprehensive, and you learn so much about teaching English as a foreign language for $1399.
The course is a combination of 150-hour academic coursework plus 20 hours of practicum (live teaching practice), making it one of the most accredited courses available online!
You can access all the parts of the course online, including reading materials, quizzes, assignments and tests, live lectures, webinars, and chats. Additionally, you can also purchase a copy of the textbook; it’s just a matter of preference.
This is your best bet at learning how to be an international-level English as a foreign language teacher. Click here to learn more about the International TEFL Academy!
Related post: Side Jobs for teachers online to make extra money
The dream job of teaching English as a second language is gratifying, but it also requires hard work and discipline. This was your mini-guide on how to be an ESL certified teacher.
All you have to do is note down the critical points from this guide and start preparing to be an ESL teacher today!
If you have any more questions regarding the information shared in this article, please let us know in the comment section below.
Good luck with your TESL journey!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
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