California Online Masters in ESL/TESOL Degrees and Programs

If you are considering earning an Online Masters in ESL / TESOL, you are most likely fascinated with language, literacy, linguistics and communication.  You may be eager to learn about other cultures and inspired about a potential career as an educator.  You might also enjoy all the facets of the English language, or perhaps you would like to pursue potential career opportunities teaching English to non-English speakers and might even visualize yourself teaching in a foreign country.

Masters in ESL / TESOL Online Degree Program Information

The Online Masters in ESL / TESOL is designed to help students’ meet their vocational goals through different program options. Some MA TESOL programs provide graduates with the skills needed to pursue professional teaching opportunities both in the US and abroad.  Earning a Masters in ESL may help prepare graduates to teach others whose mother tongue is not English how to read, write, and speak the language. TESOL Masters programs may help you learn how to develop lesson plans, provide instruction to many different audiences, find the most effective methods of teaching English, and evaluate student performance. It could be extremely rewarding to provide inspiration and tools to non-native English speakers who would otherwise not be able to communicate.

TIP: ESL refers to English as a Second Language, and TESOL refers to Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Potential Advantages to Earning an Online Masters in ESL or TESOL Masters Program Online

If you are physically unable to attend classes due to your work schedule, family duties, or geographic location earning your Master’s degree in ESL or TESOL online may be a convenient educational option. Basically all you need is a computer and Internet connection. The latest digital technology can be used to help connect you to your classmates and professors via group discussions, projects, or email. Some online programs are structured so the all the students meet at their computers via web cams on a specific day, while other programs allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule.

Online Masters in ESL / TESOL Course Curriculum

The curriculum and number of classes can vary from program to program.  Courses in the ESL curriculum are designed to introduce the student to language development, the psychology of learning, and the effective construction of learning materials. Some of the subjects offered in the various Masters programs in ESL and TESOL curriculums can include:

  • Areas of Applied Linguistics
  • Foundations in ESL
  • TESOL Methodology
  • Language Assessment and Evaluation
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Cross-Cultural Communication
  • TESOL Research Methods
  • Computer-Assisted Language Learning in TESOL
  • Composition Theory and Rhetoric
  • Literacy/Reading Theory and Practice

Programs may include a capstone project, an internship, or a thesis

Potential Career Paths for Graduates With Masters in ESL / TESOL

Teachers of English as a Second Language may pursue several potential career pathss. It is helpful to decide whether you wish to pursue potential teaching opportunities in The United States or you plan to pursue potential career opportunities abroad.  Also, some graduates may drawn to potential career paths where they are teaching adults, while others may be more interested in pursuing opportunities teaching to school-age children. 

Some potential career paths for ESL /T ESOL Graduates may include:

  • Adult Literacy /High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher[i]: instructs adults in reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help their students earn their high school diplomas. Some employment opportunities may exist in community colleges, and public schools.
  • Career and Technical Education Teachers[ii]: instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. They teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.
  • High School Teachers[iii]: help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.
  • Instructional Coordinators[iv]: oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness.
  • Middle School Teachers[v]:work in public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, junior or community colleges, and career and vocational schools. Outside of class time, their schedules are generally flexible, and they may spend that time in administrative, student advising, and research activities.

Some areas that graduates with a Masters in ESL / TESOL may pursue potential employment opportunities include:

  • Community classes or language schools
  • Private schools
  • Junior colleges
  • Businesses and corporations
  • Academic advising or coaching
  • Research and or textbook writing

Thinking of pursuing potential career opportunities teaching English abroad?

While minimum requirements often include expert-level fluency in English and bachelor’s degree in any subject, positions in colleges and universities might require a master’s in teaching or linguistics.[vi]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for English teachers is the strongest in, but not limited to, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.[vii]

Ready to Search For an ESL / TESOL Master Degree Program?

Teaching English as a second language requires patience and dedication, and the Masters track can be challenging. On the other hand, there can be intrinsic satisfaction and fulfillment in helping others communicate in a new language. If this academic path fits your personal and professional goals, you may find that a Masters in ESL / TESOL might allow you to pursue a variety of career paths, whether you decide to pursue potential career opportunities in the United States, or in another country.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/career-and-technical-education-teachers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm | [v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm | [vi] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2006/fall/art01.pdf | [vii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2006/fall/art01.pdf

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