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Teaching English as a Second Language

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Working & Careers > Teaching ESL

How to get credentialed to teach ESL

Nov 2004

I am interested in teaching ESL. Can anyone tell me the credentials you need and where you can take the courses to fulfill certification requirements (Community College?). Also, best places to apply for jobs in the East Bay. Many thanks

It depends on what level you wish to teach. If you are looking to teach elementary or high school, you will need a regular teaching credential. If you want to teach at an adult school, you need an adult school credential, which requires 5 years experience, or units in TESOL/Linguistics, etc. If you want to teach at a community college or university, an MA TESOL is usually required.

Lots of people get a TESOL certificate. Many places offer these certificates. I know UCB Extension has one, and SJSU has one. Probably most extensions and universities offer TESOL certificate programs.

I've been teaching at a university Intensive English Program for a while, so I forget all the requirements of the other kinds of programs, but I hope this gets you started! Good luck! Jaime

I am not positive about all of the possible options, but I just recieved my teaching credential for secondary English and it qualifies me to teach ESL. (Being prepared to teach ESL is now part of the state requirements...) So I assume that you would need to get a teaching credential to teach ESL in a public school, (you didn't say at what level you wanted to teach.) That being said, I think teaching ESL to a culturally heterogenious classroom must be the hardest thing in the world and I only wish there was someway to get even more preparation. lauren
Here is what you need for different teaching environments:

1. community college ESL teacher
You will need a MA degree to teach community college ESL. SFSU has a large program for this and I am sure CSUH has one too.

2. adult school ESL teacher
If you want to teach in adult schools (the adult programs that are run through the high school district), you need a CA adult education credential. I got mine at SFSU and I believe it needs to come from a state college.

3. high school, middle school, grade school ESL teacher
You will need a CA teaching credential.

4. intensive english program teacher
Most require a MA degree but some will allow a BA with an ESL certificate.

5. EFL teacher abroad
Requirements for better jobs (in universities) or better ay require an MA. There are plenty of EFL jobs for teachers with only a BA or certificate as well. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I have a MATEFL and have been teaching ESL since about 1992. jennifer

Single mom wants to teach English abroad


I am considering teaching ESL abroad for a year or two. I'm a single mom and wonder if anyone has done this as a parent and can recommend a good program? I have a strong background teaching ESL in this country, usually linking ESL with community/ social justice issues facing immigrants. I realize tht teaching abroad is a different context and would be especially interested in teaching in Spain (pref Barcelona) but am open to other countries. I need to make good $ to support myself and my daughter and hopefully be able to save money as well. I'd appreciate any recommendations and experiences you can share.

My experience was many years ago but I got teacher training and taught EFL at a school in Barcelona called International House in 1981. At that time they had locations all over the world. I hooked up with them in the USA, probably through a directory or Berlitz. Another good way to find well paid ESL work is through major corporations in the place you will be. When I was in Barcelona, this kind of work was usually contracted through an individual middleperson, or a school like IH. Perhaps you could use the Internet to find out major corps. in Barcelona and contact them by e-mail. Hope this helps some and good luck. Mpbannett
My husband and I taught ESL in Japan through the YMCA's now defunct OSCY (Overseas Corps of YMCA volunteers) program. While they discontinued that specific program, the Y still offers extensive ESL courses throughout Japan and they take excellent care of their teachers. We did not have children when we lived there, but many of our colleagues did and loved the experience of living and teaching in such a child-loving country. The pay and benefits were generous, hours pretty flexible, and opportunities for making extra money by private lessons and tutoring were plentiful. I know the economy there is not as strong as it was when we lived there, but have heard teachers still do quite well. If you have an interest in Japanese culture and traveling in Asia, I highly recommend it. Hilary
I recently returned from Paris where I taught English for Kaplan. There should be a center in Barcelona or Madrid (although I'm not sure of this) and they most likely have general English classes as well as TOEFL and TOEIC courses. If you check out International Centers on the Kaplan website, you should be able to find the centers in Spain and surrounding countries. The pay was not wonderful, but adequate if you work a sufficient number of hours. Good luck! Leanne
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