Teaching the English language to non-native speakers provides instructors with a prized skillset of great value, both personally and professionally. Although English is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, it is spoken in more countries around the world than any other language. Thus, the need for English language learning teachers is ever-expanding. A master’s degree in English language learning places greater emphasis on understanding cultural influences on linguistics, with respects to individual students’ needs.
Why a Master’s Degree?
It is possible to acquire English language learning jobs with only a bachelor’s degree or a certificate, but having a master’s degree gives students a considerable lead over less qualified candidates. It also enables them to teach in a postsecondary setting or in government agencies. In turn, the pay is typically greater. Master’s degree holders may also find opportunities abroad that desire greater expertise beyond a bachelor’s degree in the field.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
Master’s degree programs each have their own specific criteria for admitting students. However, nearly all English language learning master’s degree programs call for the following prerequisites along with their applications:
- Candidate must speak fluent English.
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Desired minimum GPA.
- Some require TEFL, TESL, or TESOL certification prior to admission.
Inside an English Language Learning Master’s Degree Program
Master’s degree programs in English Language Learning typically require somewhere between 30 to 50 credit hours. Over the duration of the program, students will take courses covering linguistics pedagogy, and cultural exchange. They may be required to complete several hours of student teaching. Likewise, virtually all masters education English language learners must complete a research component, thesis, or capstone project.
As with any online degree, students who choose to pursue an online master’s degree in English language learning can work remotely at any location with a stable internet access. Asynchronous students are able to complete their work outside of classroom hours utilizing video lectures and presentations on websites such as Blackboard. This gives them additional flexibility if they work during the day or otherwise cannot be present during the indicated classroom time. Masters in English language teaching distance learning programs also come in a synchronous format. Synchronous students are expected to log in at a given time to experience the lecture alongside their virtual peers. They may communicate through videochats with webcams and can engage in real-time discussion. Completing a degree online can often be an accelerated route as compared to obtaining a degree at a brick-and-mortar school.
What’s Next for English Language Learning Master’s Degree Holders?
Master’s degree holders in English language learning have the opportunity to teach in public and private schools, nationally or abroad, and in all kinds of institutions and government programs both for profit and nonprofit. Salary depends on the type of institution you work for and your employer. For example, teaching English as a second language to elementary school students will yield a lower salary than teaching English at an international corporation. Although salary will vary, postsecondary English language teachers made an annual mean wage of $68,670 in May 2012, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are a variety of certifications that can be obtained in order to bolster qualifications as an English language learning expert. To teach at most schools and other institutions, a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate are required. Each certification has a slightly different emphasis and may pertain to the type of student and location in which you wish to teach.