27 Online Degree Programs Available in ESL/TESOL

What are ESL Programs?

Teaching English as a second language is an important occupation in a society that is becoming increasingly globalized. Every day, first-generation American students are entering school systems and attempting to adjust to the language, customs and culture of the nation. Moreover, individuals beyond U.S. borders are trying eagerly to learn... English in efforts to further their lives professionally, acclimate to an English-speaking nation or in preparation to move to a different country.

As more people try to master the English language, accomplished ESL and TESOL educators are necessary to help these individuals along. Many adult learners and children are trying to enhance their English writing, speaking and reading skills to become productive members of society or merely help develop their social relationships. Whether you'd like to teach a classroom of adults taking night courses, begin working in a K-12 school or take your services abroad to help people pick up English in their native country, your journey to become an ESL or TESOL teacher can benefit from an online degree.

A glimpse into the realm of ESL/TESOL
There are many obstacles in teaching English as a second language. For one, educators are destined to confront language barriers. No matter how many languages you may have mastered, ESL and TESOL learners come from backgrounds that are almost certainly different than your language background. Speakers of mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and many other languages attempt to learn English. Hidden in these broad areas of speech are a plethora of dialects, regional specific patterns of speech and slang terms that you may not be familiar with. It's the job of the ESL/TESOL teacher to overcome these barriers and help students speak, write and read English effectively nonetheless.

Possible salaries for a career in education
Your salary as an ESL/TESOL educator is largely decided by your specific job title, level of education and related experience and whether you have attained a license. Moreover, ESL/TESOL teachers practice in a variety of locations ranging from the K-12 classroom to foreign countries. These individuals may be paid vastly different amounts. Consider the following careers, with statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012.

  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: 2012 Median annual salary of $53,090 (12 percent projected growth through 2022)[i]
  • Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers: 2012 Median annual salary of $48,590 (9 percent projected growth through 2022)[ii]
  • Middle School Teachers: 2012 Median annual salary of $53,430 (12 percent projected growth through 2022)[iii]

Additional skills important for a career in education
While significant language barriers may be a primary concern, it is important to recognize that cultural barriers may also make teaching ESL/TESOL tricky as well. At the same time, educators can further their effectiveness by learning about the cultures and traditions celebrated by their students to develop effective teaching strategies or respond accordingly to relevant behaviors.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm
[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm

[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm

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