Atlanta Masters in ESL | TESOL Degrees and Programs

Teachers of English as a second language seeking to advance their careers may seek to earn a Masters in ESL or TESOL, or even an online ESL/TESOL masters degree. Instructors will likely work with adults and children who have varying understanding of the English language. Earning your Masters in ESL may be a wonderful opportunity to learn a career that's exhibiting tremendous growth, but also enable you to travel the world teaching in various countries.

Masters in TESOL / ESL Masters Degree and ESL Program Information

Earning your Masters in ESL Degree

You might be seeking a career change from teaching in the regular education classroom or want to take advantage of the tremendous growth that is expected in the area of instruction known as ESL (English as a Second Language)/TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in the next decade Earning your master’s degree in ESL/TESOL may open up such potential career opportunities, especially if you are interested in teaching non-native English speakers.

An Overview of ESL Masters Programs

Masters in ESL or TESOL degree programs are designed to help prepare graduates to work primarily in a school setting. That includes teaching young children, adolescents or adults.

Most of the master’s degree programs at U.S. colleges and universities fall into two categories. They include a master’s degree in ESL/TESOL, which is designed to help prepare graduates for work as a teacher to non-English speaking students, and a master’s degree in applied linguistics, which is geared toward students who are interested in a research career in applied linguistics.

Students entering masters in ESL / TESOL will have the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of how people learn languages and become educated in the advanced teaching methods and assessment strategies that are required in such classes.

Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree may apply to a masters in ESL program. If you have no prior teaching certification, you might be required to complete a different master’s degree track.

While the number of classes varies from program to program, you can generally expect to accumulate between 30 and 41 credits to gain your master’s degree in ESL/TESOL. You may learn about the teaching strategies that are most successful in an ESL classroom as well as the phonology and syntax of the English language, among other topics.

Students may also quickly discover as they work their way through a masters in TESOL / ESL that taking an integrated approach to teaching ESL works best for non-native English speakers, allowing them to practice their English language skills and also learn content in essential subjects such math, science and social studies.

The ESL / TESOL Masters Programs Degree Curriculum

The ESL TESOL masters programs degree curriculum offers courses that focus on three major areas. They typically include:

  • Foundations in ESL
  • Methods/Learning Theory – students will have the chance to learn about the different learning theories and methods of instruction used in the ESL classroom.
  • Second language acquisition – this course focuses on how ESL students learn a second language and the instructional strategies that teachers can provide them.
  • Structure of English language/grammar
  • Assessment – graduate students have the opportunity to learn about the various methods of assessment in the ESL classroom.
  • Language and culture – prospective ESL teachers have the chance to learn about teaching a class that has a mixture of cultures.
  • Research methods
  • Internship – students are often asked to teach an ESL class, where they are responsible for writing and delivering lessons, grading assignments and conferencing with a mentor teacher.
  • Capstone project/portfolio – this could include lesson plans, teaching philosophy, assessments that the graduate student designed and more.
  • Thesis – this is an extended research study project on a topic that the student chooses. This would include investigation into a specific area of TESOL, a literature review and a research project.

Searching for Potential Career Opportunities with a Masters in TESOL

While teaching in a school setting is a common career option for a ESL/TESOL master’s degree graduate, there may be other opportunities too. For example, multinational corporations have sizeable customer service departments in other countries and may look for TESOL graduates to teach their staff the appropriate English language skills for the business setting. Other potential careers in education may include positions as TESOL directors and academic advisers, TESOL textbook writers and as private TESOL tutors.

Is Earning a Masters in ESL / TESOL Degree Right for Me?

Pursuing a master’s degree in ESL/TESOL is a serious commitment that calls for dedication, persistence, and hard work. However, if you want to work with immigrants who need guidance, proper English language instruction, and a positive role model, then ESL teaching may be a great path for you.

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