If you’ve recently earned your TESOL certification, congratulations! Now that you’ve completed your certification, you’re probably on the job hunt now. The good news is that there are TESOL jobs available worldwide, and the demand for TESOL certified English language teachers may continue to increase in the years to come4.
Whether you’re looking to work in a traditional school setting, travel the world, or enter the virtual teaching space, you have options.
Keep reading to see a full list of TESOL career paths—and what it takes to get there.
Opportunities in TESOL Careers
TESOL jobs aren’t just in a traditional school setting—TESOL career paths can span multiple sectors, including government and business1.
Don’t know how to get your TESOL certificate? Earn a TESOL Degree or certification with Alliant today.
TESOL Jobs in Schools
Teaching English to young students has a huge impact on their language skills for the rest of their lives. With a TESOL certification, you’ll be prepared to support ESL kids in elementary, middle, and high school.
While these age groups require patience and encouragement, they are also quick to learn—because they need to be. Non-English speakers who move to the United States in middle school or high school “essentially run out of time to learn the language of their adopted country,” says Dr. Snow, chair of Applied and Advanced Studies in Education at California State University, Los Angeles.
Helping non-native speakers improve their English language skills before they’re 18 is imperative to their ability to adapt easily into an English-speaking environment. TESOL jobs in public schools can be especially important for this reason3.
In order to teach in the public school system, you’ll need to obtain your state teaching credentials. Many private schools also prefer to hire teachers with state teaching credentials—if you want to teach in a school system, you should apply for these. This is also true for many colleges and universities; however, community college teaching requirements may vary.
You also have to factor in the cost of earning additional teaching credentials. According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, California’s teaching credential fees cost at least $100, additional costs per specialty or out-of-state residents. However, you only have to pay these fees every five years, so the benefit certainly outweighs the cost.
Other TESOL Careers
Not all teaching positions require teacher credentials. There are many other TESOL jobs that don’t include teaching in a traditional elementary, middle, high school, or higher education setting. Without the constraints of a traditional teaching job, you have the ability to take your skills all over the globe.
Here are some TESOL job options you can pursue with a TESOL certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate:
- Private tutor
- Private language schools for children
- Adult education programs
- English as a Second Language (ESL) programs
- English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programs
- Vocational English programs
- International businesses, foundations, and organizations
- Government agency advisor
- TESOL publishers and businesses
- Academic advisor
Having a TESOL certificate allows you to teach abroad in the same way a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) does. While the TESOL and TEFL certificate may be similar, they are in fact different. Due to demand for English language teachers, you may be able to travel the world and explore other cultures while also giving back to the local communities. Because of logistical issues like visas, working overseas isn’t necessarily a forever job. But traveling and teaching offers the opportunity to see the world, and maybe learn a new language for yourself too.
Being multilingual may be hugely beneficial. Your language skills will help you better communicate with your ESL students, and you’ll be demonstrating to them the importance of learning a language different from yours. Then, when you return to the US, you’ll be able to connect with an entire community of students in a whole new way.
Countries with the Highest Demand
Here are some places that are continuously in need of English language teachers:
- China – China has the greatest demand for TESOL certified English teachers, mainly because of their booming economy and lucrative trade relationship with the United States.
- South Korea – Most TESOL jobs available in South Korea are through elite private tutoring and schooling. While the experience will be different than working at a local public school, teaching at a private school or tutoring company can typically provide higher salaries.
- Japan – From very advanced cities like Tokyo to rural towns in the countryside, there are a number of English teaching jobs throughout the country. However, TESOL jobs based in Japan are highly sought after—more so than other teaching opportunities in Asia—so the competition may be formidable.
- Vietnam – This beautiful country is less bustling than the other nations listed. But that also means the cost of living is lower and can be easier to connect with locals.
- Taiwan – Teaching opportunities in Taiwan are often found in “cram schools,” meaning after school programs, as well as regular K-12 public schools. If you are less interested in private tutoring, this may be a good option for you.
- Thailand – Thailand offers natural beauty, a low cost of living, and highly developed, fast-paced urban environments with a demand for English proficiency. Thailand’s official business language is English, so there has been a tremendous push for ESL students to learn the language in recent years.
- United Arab Emirates – A prosperous country that deeply values business, the UAE has a huge demand for English teachers. People from all over the world live and work in big cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so you’ll be able to find an English-speaking community. This will help you make connections and adapt easier to a new country.
- Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia, the most conservative out of all the countries on the list, has a strong demand for TESOL instructors. Teaching English in this nation usually takes place on an all-expat compound, separated from the rest of the local society.
Countries with the Best Pay
Many of the countries with a high demand for teachers also offer good pay. If you choose to teach at private institutions and international schools in nations such as these, you should be able to pursue a comfortable income.
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
Future TESOL Jobs
In this ever-changing, globalized, and digital world, the future of TESOL jobs are exciting. And with a demand for English language teachers worldwide, people are turning to virtual learning. If you see yourself as more of a work-from-home teacher, there is absolutely a place for you in the TESOL job market2.
Further Your Education
Whatever your future career goals, you may need to take further steps in your education to obtain the position you’re looking for. Even if you don’t see the need to further your education right now, it’s a good option to keep open for the future—after all, with higher education comes a higher salary.
You can expand your education with a master’s degree or doctorate degree to help you land your dream TESOL job:
- Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in TESOL – If you’re looking to teach beyond the high school level, in a community college, college, or university setting, you will likely be expected (or required) to have an MAE. It can take as little as 18 months to complete and will provide you with the hands-on work experience you’ll need to land the position.
- Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) in TESOL – A doctorate will give you the same opportunities as an MAE, but will also open up the possibility for administrative work, such as being a director of an ESL or EFL program or creating classroom materials for non-native English speakers to use in schools. You can complete this degree in as little as three years.
Getting Your Degree with Alliant
At Alliant International University, you can pursue higher education in the form of a Master of Arts in Education or a Doctorate in Education, with options to personalize your schedule and learn either online or in-person. With Alliant’s global partnerships, you’ll be able to achieve your career goals and make a difference in the lives of English language learners worldwide.
Fitzpatrick, Lauren, Andrea Moran, Lauren Salisbury, Richelle Gamlam, Caitlin McCollum-Martinez, Raneem Taleb-Agha, and Steve Patton. “Which Countries Pay the Highest Salaries for Teaching Abroad?” Go Overseas. Accessed December 14, 2021. https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/countries-pay-highest-salaries-teaching….
Brett Montrose, "The global English language job market is changing: what this means for ESL teachers," Medium, December 28, 2016. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://medium.com/accelerated/the-global-english-language-job-market-i…
Commission on Teacher Credentialing, "Fee Schedule Information (CL-659)," Fee Schedule Information (CL-659), July 14, 2021. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/leaflets/fee-schedule-information-(cl-659)
Hazel Kelly, "California Needs A Lot More English Teachers. Luckily, the CSU Is Preparing Them." The California State University, June 05, 2018. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://www.calstate.edu/csu-system/news/Pages/Preparing-Adult-ESL-Teac…
Technavio, "Global Digital English Language Learning Market 2020-2024: The Adoption of English as a Global Language to Boost the Market Growth: Technavio," Business Wire, March 19, 2020. Accessed on November 19, 2021. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200319005320/en/Global-Digital…