Individuals with a knack for language, a desire to teach, and openness toward other cultures make ideal English language learning instructors. By teaching English to children and adults, you are imparting them with a valuable skill. After all, English is spoken in virtually every major country. However, most English language teaching positions require some sort of formal training. One of the most efficient ways to receive training is through a certificate program in English language learning.
Types of English Language Learning Certificates
Pre Master’s Certificate
Students who have already received their bachelor’s degree but wish to direct their career toward teaching the English language should consider getting a pre master’s certificate in the field. Pre master’s certificates in English language learning may be paired with a standard teaching certificate to teach English in public schools. Additionally, students may use credits earned from a pre master’s certificate toward a related master’s degree if they decide to continue their education at a later date. In order to be admitted into a pre master’s certificate program in English language learning, students must be able to meet the following prerequisites:
- Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Have a minimum specified GPA.
- Submit transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary schools.
- Must show fluency in English.
The English language learning certificate program will prepare students to teach English to a variety of learners. As such, courses usually emphasize the cultural impact on learning, language acquisition in children and adults, technology in the teaching realm, and the English language learning core curriculum. The program should take fulltime students about one to two years to complete. Some programs require a specified amount of student-teaching and/or personal research. Students who work during the days, have children, or have other obligations that make traditional classes difficult to attend should consider pursuing an English language learning certificate online. For online learners, the curriculum varies little from traditional students, but all course material can be accessed from online platforms such as Blackboard in the form of video lectures and scheduled chat sessions.
A vocational certificate in English language learning is a bit more focused and hands-on than a pre master’s certificate. It places less emphasis on theory and more on career readiness. It’s usually also less expensive to obtain. Vocational programs in English language learning vary greatly. Some are intended for individuals with experience in the field or an undergraduate degree, while others may be accessed by anyone with a GED. Common prerequisites may include:
- Possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
- Fluency in English.
- Desired experience in the field.
- Desired minimum GPA.
Vocational certificates take a number of hours rather than credits, in which students should receive intensive training. Courses may be completed in a matter of days with full-time immersion or months if students are only able to work toward their certificate part-time. The curriculum is organized to give students very specific training in English language learning, honing in on the skills necessary to kick start their career. They cover topics such as grammatical concepts, linguistics, assessment validation, workplace learning, and curriculum design. While most of the program may be completed online with use of digital reading materials, interactive modules, and assessments, some classroom training is typical.
What’s Next for English Language Learning Certificate Holders?
The simplest career path available to English language learning certificate holders is teaching. In order to teach at a public school, a basic teaching certification is required in tandem with an English language learning certification or degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives a sense of salary expectations in the teaching realm. In the public school system, high school English language teachers made the highest salary, with an annual median wage of $53,230 in May 2010. However, English language learning teachers may also choose to teach adults in adult enrichment courses, in corporate settings, or abroad. The BLS notes that the top 10% of adult literacy teachers earned more than $83,580 in 2010.
Certificate holders may also choose to continue their education in lieu of a degree or higher level degree. Vocational certificates and pre master’s certificates easily translate to credit in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program, depending on the certificate. The student should apply for programs in a related field in order to receive as much credit as possible. To teach in public schools, students should also complete their teaching certification.