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 tons of TESOL jobs available worldwide, and the demand for TESOL certified English language teachers will certainly increase in the years to come.
Whether you’re looking to work in a traditional school setting, travel the world, or enter the virtual teaching space, you have plenty of options.
Keep reading to see a full list of TESOL career paths—and what it takes to get there.
Opportunities in TESOL Careers
There’s a huge demand for English language teachers for students who are non-native English speakers. According to Medium, there are roughly 100,000 English teaching positions that are available every year. But these TESOL jobs aren’t just in a traditional school setting—TESOL career paths span multiple sectors, including government and business.
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 able 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 are especially important for this reason.
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, with an added $50 per specialty, and $49 for 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 high demand for English language teachers, you can 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 is 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 will 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 it’s 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 very wealthy 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 find an English-speaking community easily. 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 great pay. If you choose to teach at private institutions and international schools in these nations, you’ll find a comfortable income—possibly even better than what you’d be paid to teach in the US:
- United Arab Emirates – $3,500-$5,500 per month (tax-free)
- Japan – $2,200-$5,000 per month
- Saudi Arabia – $3,000-$4,000 per month
- Kuwait – $2,500-$4,000 per month (tax-free)
- Oman – $2,000-$3,500 per month
- China – $1,400-$3,000 per month
- Taiwan – $2,000-$2,400 per month
- South Korea – $1,200-2,650 per month
Future TESOL Jobs
In this ever-changing, globalized, and digital world, the future of TESOL jobs are exciting. And with such a high 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 market.
Business Wire recently released a research report on the global digital English language learning market. This report shows insightful predictions for the years 2020–2024. Here are some of the report’s key findings:
- The market is growing rapidly, with year-over-year growth estimated at nearly 20%.
- From 2019 to 2024, there will be a $14.69 billion increase in the market.
- The introduction of virtual and blended learning through English language apps has been critical to the English-learning market.
- Increased investment in language-learning startups has propelled digital learning for academic and non-academic learners.
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.
- Medium. The global English Language job market is changing: what this means for ESL teachers. https://medium.com/accelerated/the-global-english-language-job-market-i…
- State of California Commision on Teacher Credentialing. Fee Schedule Information. https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/leaflets/cl659.pdf?sfvrsn=48…
- The California State University. California Needs A Lot More English Teachers. Luckily, the CSU Is Preparing Them. https://www2.calstate.edu/csu-system/news/Pages/Preparing-Adult-ESL-Tea…
- Business Wire. Global Digital English Language Learning Market 2020-2024. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200319005320/en/Global-Digital…