Making TESL a Career

In order to secure a long-term position, you will usually need to have several years of experience in ESL, teaching certification and a masters degree in education – although it can be in any area of education, such as educational technology or early education, depending on what kind of TESL career you are interested in pursuing.

For a university position, a master’s degree is essential, and some require a master’s in TESOL. Teaching experience at the college level is also often necessary.

For example, a recently advertised ESL specialist position, which required teaching and program coordinating work at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, asked for these qualifications:

“Require: Master’s degree in English or related field (TESOL preferred); two years of experience working with non-native speakers of English; experience with curriculum development; strong interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills. Desire: College-level teaching experience; experience working with non-traditional student population.”


TIP – Look into English degrees online through distance learning programs.

As far as salary goes, you can expect around $40,000 to $60,000 for a full time faculty position at a university. Rutgers University in New Jersey recently offered $45,000 for a full time ESL teaching position for an 11-month work contract.

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