English Teacher Job Description & Career Outlook
An English teacher instructs students about the correct usage of the English language. The job of an English teacher requires a deep understanding of sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and literature. It encompasses teaching creative composition such as prose, poetry, short stories, narratives and also technical writing skills which include news articles, reports, journals, and essays. An English teacher should develop a student’s oral and written communication skills, including critical thinking, oral and written comprehension, and problem solving skills. English teachers encourage learning the English language in a fun and easy environment, especially to non-native English students.
English Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks
In order to get hired as an English teacher at the elementary level, schools require a bachelor’s degree in English. Other schools require a Graduate Certificate in English Language Learner (ELL) Education for English teachers who want to teach K-12 classes containing a wide diversity of non-native English speaking students. On the other hand, secondary schools and some colleges require post-baccalaureate degrees in English, like a master’s degree or Ph.D. But in the United States, most of the community colleges and universities require a Master of Arts in TESOL to teach English.
The English teacher’s role in schools is to effectively teach the correct usage of the English language in speaking and writing and to help students develop creative composition skills in reading and literature classes. The English teacher should be attuned to the learning progress of students, especially to non-native English speakers, and be able to use alternative teaching strategies when necessary.
English Teacher Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an English teacher earns between $33,000 and $107,000. The huge salary difference is due to the different hourly pay rates between states and cities and whether the teaching job is a part-time or full-time employment.
Career opportunities for English teachers are expected to grow in the future as more students from non-native English speaking countries are coming to the United States to study. The future of English teachers is more secure than other education professions because they have other opportunities to teach online. The demand for online English instructors is growing because workers in China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Germany, France, and Italy need to learn how to speak English correctly and fluently to secure a job in their country or abroad. Because of this, English teachers are expected to will have a steady source of income from teaching for the next 20 years and beyond.
How to Become an English Teacher
A student seeking initial certification via a bachelor’s degree program must complete two years of general education courses. After those two years, the student must apply for admission in a university education program. From that point, the majority of classes that a student will take will be English and literature classes. The student will also be enrolled in some education classes, which are designed to instruct the candidate how to teach English sucessfully. If prospective English teachers wish to teach in a high school setting, that will be all of the coursework necessary. However, if a student wants to broaden the certification received, additional courses (usually two or three) can be taken in order to receive middle school endorsement for English or Language Arts. Either way, the student will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English and be entitled to receive certification for teaching high school English.
Some students decide to teach after they have already completed their bachelor’s degree. In this case, the university will look at a student’s educational background and help determine which classes are necessary. If the student has a bachelor’s degree in English and is only seeking certification, he or she can elect to only take the necessary education courses required for certification. This would not give the student a masters degree, but it would entitle them for certification. However, many universities offer Masters in Education programs designed for people who do not have the background in the subject they would like to teach or for those seeking an advanced degree. The equivalent of a major in English (usually 24 to 25 hours) is required along with the mandated education courses. After successful completion of all requirements, the student will be awarded entitlement for certification.
Regardless of which road is taken, the student must also pass a series of state tests to analyze their ability to be a successful teacher. At least one semester of student teaching is mandatory, and some universities require one to three more semesters of observations in a classroom. Once all requirements are met and entitlements are sent to the state, it is up to the student or graduate to apply for certification thorough the state.
English Education Teaching Degrees and Programs
- MA in Education/Curriculum and Instruction
- MA in Education/Teacher Ed. for Secondary Lic.
- BS in Education / Elementary Education/Social Studies
- And more...
- M.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Does not lead to initial teacher licensure)
- B.S. in Educational Studies (Does Not Lead to Teacher Licensure)
- M.A. in Teaching - Professional Learning Communities (Does not lead to initial teacher licensure)
- And more...
- Education, MS (Online Only)
- Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Teaching and Learning (Online Only)
- Master of Science: Education
- Master of Arts: Teaching