A Comprehensive Guide to How to Be An ESL Teacher!

Teaching ESL is a rewarding and challenging profession that requires a unique set of skills and qualifications. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, the demand for ESL teachers continues to grow. However, navigating the requirements and possibilities of this career can be overwhelming.

This comprehensive ESL teacher career guide will cover everything you need to know about how to be an ESL teacher. From the qualifications and certifications required to the skills and qualities that make a great ESL teacher, we will provide you with all the information you need to start your career in this exciting field. So, whether you’re a seasoned teacher looking to switch to ESL or a newcomer to the field, this guide is for you.

ESL teacher job description:

This image talks about Comprehensive Guide to How to Be An ESL Teacher
This image talks about Comprehensive Guide to How to Be An ESL Teacher

ESL teachers are responsible for teaching English as a second language to non-native speakers. They develop and implement lesson plans, create teaching materials, and assess student progress.

ESL teachers must have excellent communication skills and the ability to adapt their teaching methods to meet the needs of diverse student populations. They may work in a variety of settings, including public or private schools, language institutes, or community centres.

A bachelor’s degree in education, English, or a related field is typically required, along with a teaching certification or ESL endorsement. ESL teachers must also have a strong understanding of grammar, linguistics, and language acquisition theories.

How to be an ESL teacher?!

Becoming an ESL teacher requires education, experience, and language proficiency. Most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field, as well as a teaching certification.

ESL teacher requirements

In order to become an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, there are certain requirements and qualifications that need to be met:

1. A bachelor’s degree in education, English, or a related field.

2. A teaching certification or license, such as a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.

3. Fluency in English and the ability to effectively communicate with non-native speakers.

4. Knowledge of grammar, syntax, and phonetics.

5. Experience teaching English as a second language to students of varying ages and levels.

6. Knowledge of language acquisition theories and teaching methodologies.

7. Patience, empathy, and cultural awareness to understand and accommodate diverse learners.

8. Strong organizational and time-management skills to plan lessons and assessments effectively.

9. The ability to use technology and multimedia resources to enhance learning.

10. The willingness to continue professional development and stay current with research and trends in ESL teaching.

Powerful steps of how to be an ESL teacher:

Constantly improving your social and professional skills is an essential element of becoming and working as an EFL teacher. In this profession, it’s important that you can be compassionate, understanding and supportive. You may also consider strengthening your mentoring skills and learn how to motivate others. 1

So, follow these powerful steps to be an excellent English teacher:

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1. Teaching English as a second language to students of all ages and backgrounds, including children, teenagers, and adults in private language schools, community colleges, or universities.

2. Designing and delivering customized lesson plans and curricula based on the needs and goals of individual students or groups of students, incorporating a variety of teaching methods and materials to enhance learning outcomes.

3. Developing and implementing assessments and evaluations to measure student progress and proficiency in English, including written and oral exams, essays, and presentations.

4. Providing feedback and guidance to students to help them improve their language skills, including grammar, pronunciation, writing, and conversation.

5. Creating and leading engaging and interactive classroom activities, such as games, role-plays, and group discussions, to promote language acquisition and cultural awareness.

6. Incorporating technology and online resources into language instruction, such as video conferencing, social media, and language learning software, to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes.

7. Collaborating with other ESL teachers and professionals to develop and share best practices, resources, and strategies for effective language teaching and learning.

8. Providing language coaching and support to individuals or groups of professionals, such as business executives, diplomats, or healthcare workers, who need to improve their English language proficiency for work or academic purposes.

9. Teaching English for specific purposes, such as academic writing, test preparation, or business communication, to help students achieve their specific language goals.

10. Participating in professional development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, or online courses, to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and practices in ESL teaching and learning.

Benefits of ESL Teaching Abroad

This image talks about Comprehensive Guide to How to Be An ESL Teacher
This image talks about Comprehensive Guide to How to Be An ESL Teacher

1. Cultural immersion: Teaching ESL abroad provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in a different culture and learn about new customs and traditions. This can be a great way to broaden one’s horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world.

2. Language acquisition: Living and working in a foreign country can also be a great way to learn a new language. By being immersed in the language on a daily basis, ESL teachers can quickly improve their language skills and become more proficient in the language.

3. Professional development: Teaching ESL abroad can also be a great way to develop professional skills, such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving. It can also provide valuable experience in teaching and working with people from different backgrounds.

4. Travel opportunities: Teaching ESL abroad can also provide opportunities for travel and exploration. Many ESL teachers have the opportunity to explore nearby areas and countries during their time off, allowing them to experience new cultures and see new sights.

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5. Personal growth: Living and working abroad can also be a great way to develop personally. It can be a challenging experience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and can help individuals develop independence, resilience, and adaptability.

6. Career advancement: Teaching ESL abroad can also be a great way to advance one’s career. It can provide valuable international experience and can demonstrate a willingness to take on new challenges and work in different environments.

7. Cultural exchange: Finally, teaching ESL abroad can also be a great way to promote cultural exchange and understanding. By sharing their own culture and learning about others, ESL teachers can help to bridge cultural divides and promote mutual understanding and respect.

FAQs about how to be an ESL teacher:

1. How long does it take to be an ESL teacher?

The length of time it takes to become an ESL teacher can vary depending on the specific qualifications and requirements of the hiring organization or institution. Generally, a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field is required, and additional certification or training in ESL instruction may also be necessary.

This process can take several years to complete, but there are also alternative certification programs and online courses that can expedite the process. Ultimately, the time it takes to become an ESL teacher will depend on individual circumstances and career goals.

2. Can I teach ESL without a degree? – How to become an ESL teacher without a degree?

Yes, you can teach ESL (English as a Second Language) without a degree. However, most employers require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.

Without a degree or certification, you may still be able to find teaching opportunities through volunteer programs or private tutoring. It’s important to research the requirements of the specific organization or country you plan to teach in before pursuing a teaching position.

3. What degree do I need to teach ESL?

  • A bachelor’s degree in Education or a related field is typically required to teach ESL.
  • Some schools and programs may require a master’s degree in TESOL certification.
  • A teaching certification or license may also be required, depending on the state or country.
  • Additional training and certification in ESL may be beneficial for career advancement and job opportunities.

4. Is it hard to be an ESL teacher?

Being an ESL teacher can be challenging, as it requires a lot of patience, creativity, and adaptability. Students come from different backgrounds and have varying levels of proficiency, which means that teachers must be able to adjust their teaching methods accordingly.

Additionally, language barriers and cultural differences can add another layer of complexity to the teaching process. However, with dedication and a passion for teaching, being an ESL teacher can also be incredibly rewarding.

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5. How do I become an ESL teacher UK? – How to become an ESL teacher?

  1. Obtain a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.
  2. Gain experience teaching English to non-native speakers, either through volunteering or paid positions.
  3. Obtain a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field such as English or Linguistics.
  4. Apply for ESL teaching positions at language schools or universities in the UK.

6. How long does it take to become an ESL?

Becoming an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher typically requires a bachelor’s degree and specialized training in teaching English to non-native speakers. The length of time it takes to become an ESL teacher can vary depending on the educational program and the individual’s level of commitment.

Earning a Bachelor’s degree and obtaining a teaching license typically requires four years. Finishing a TESL certification program can be completed anywhere from 6 months to a year or longer, and most schools require a TESL certification that includes at least 120 hours of training. This means with the right program, you can become an ESL teacher in about four and a half years. 2

7. Is an MA in TESOL worth it?

An MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) can be worth it for those who want to pursue a career in teaching English as a second language. It provides in-depth knowledge and skills in language teaching and learning, as well as opportunities for practical experience and networking.

However, the value of an MA in TESOL may depend on individual goals, job market demand, and financial investment. It is important to research and consider all factors before deciding to pursue an MA in TESOL.

8. How much does an ESL teacher make?

The salary of an ESL teacher can vary depending on many factors such as location, experience, and employer. However, on average, an ESL teacher can expect to earn between $20,000 and $60,000 per year. Some ESL teachers may earn more based on their qualifications, specializations, and the demand for their services.

In conclusion, how to be an ESL teacher requires a combination of education, experience, and personal qualities such as patience, empathy, and cultural sensitivity. In addition to obtaining a degree and certification in teaching English as a second language, it is important to gain practical experience through internships or teaching abroad. Possibilities for ESL teachers are vast, with opportunities to teach in schools, language centres, universities, or even online.


  1. Indeed Editorial Team. (2023). How To Become an EFL Teacher (Duties and Salary Information). Indeed.com UK. https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/how-to-become-efl-teacher
  2. How to Become an ESL Teacher – School of Education. (n.d.). School of Education. https://drexel.edu/soe/resources/career-path/how-to-esl-teacher/