TESL – The Program You Need to Teach ESL Everywhere


TESL (also known as TESOL, TEFL)  is a popular program offered for students who are interested in teaching English as a Second Language. The program varies from certificate to Ph.D. degree, depending on the institution you study at. TESL program could be an independent ESL program or it could also be under other programs, like English, Linguistics and/or Education. So, if you’re passionate about teaching and particularly about English, this could be a great career path for students to get on very soon.

What is required 

Requirements for TESL programs vary in each institution. For graduate ESL credentials, a Bachelor’s Degree is necessary. For undergraduate ESL programs, students may or may not need some background knowledge in Education and/or English Language. Many institutions accept international students for the TESL program; however, those institutions usually have English proficiency requirements for ESL students. Students also may need to take some prerequisite courses beforehand to get enrolled in the TESL program.

What you’ll Study

TESL programs include courses on basic knowledge of the English language, such as English grammar, pronunciation and sentence structure. They also offer courses on teaching style and class management in different class settings and different proficiency levels. Second-language Acquisition and lesson planning are also some of the major topics students would work on. The majority of the TESL programs include practicum training. Students get to observe actual ESL lessons outside of school and have some chance to teach the actual classes with their own lesson plans.

Skills you’ll Gain

As mentioned above, students would learn about the basic knowledge of the English language and teaching skills in different settings. After the completion of the programs, students would be able to lesson-plan and manage different types and levels of ESL classes. As many TESL courses require students to perform timed demo-lessons, students are likely to be more well-organized and confident in public speaking.

However, completing TESL programs does not necessarily mean they can teach at any school they wish to. Most of the schools require teachers to have a minimum of Bachelor’s Degrees, and some of them have more strict requirements, such as Graduate Degrees, the competition of recognized TESL programs and/or minimum hours of TESL practicum training.

Career Options

  • ESL Instructor (Language school, K-12, Postsecondary; in Canada or abroad)
  • Instructor of Non-ESL Program (i.e. English, Social Studies, Foreign Languages; in Canada or abroad)
  • ESL Program Director
  • Academic Adviser
  • Textbook or Materials Writer

For international students who are also looking towards an international career, the TESL program could be a great opportunity. Further, if you have an interest in teaching and specifically English, then the program is ultimately perfect! Depending on what career plans you have and where you wish to teach you may need more education than a Bachelors Degree, and more experience teaching before you can get that perfect job.

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