Carroll College, Helena Montana
Carroll TESOL Student


Questions about TESOL

What does a TESOL teacher do?
ESL/EFL Teachers help non-native English speaking students to develop their English-speaking and writing skills. Along with teaching grammar and vocabulary, many  teachers also assist their students in acclimating to American culture. ESL/EFL teachers may teach in elementary, junior high or high schools, or they may teach adults (typically at a local community college).

  • English is the third most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (
  • 5% of the world's 6.6 billion people are native English speakers
  • The British Council estimates that 1 billion are currently learning English as a second language
  • English is the international language for academics and the Internet

What education and certification is required to be an ESL teacher?
Teaching requirements vary from state-to-state. Various schools also have their own additional requirements. Typically, an ESL teacher is required to hold:

  • Bachelor's Degree in English or a related subject
  • Specialized coursework in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL/TEFL/TESOL)
  • Specialization in bilingual, cross-cultural and foreign language coursework
  • Teaching credential or certification (K12 only)


Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) prepares students to teach English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to speakers of other languages in both international and domestic settings.

There is a huge demand for qualified TESOL professionals as English continues to become a common language in the areas of business and science. TESOL teachers are needed to assist with programs in business, education, government, medicine, the sciences as well as programs that work with refugees and immigrants of all ages.

You could find yourself teaching around the world, or in parts of the United States where there is a large population of non-native English speakers.  As the world gets smaller and more people try to learn English, qualified teachers are a must!

What students are saying

Sara EstesI am in Ouistreham, France and loving every minute of it. The schools here are so different from those in the US and it's amazing to notice these differences. For example, before each class the students must remain standing until the teacher tells them to sit down. I think this is an amazing opportunity and everybody should look into either studying abroad or teaching abroad because it really does change your life.
- Sara Estes, Class of 2011, TESOL and French double major

John ButtsLiving and working in the R.O.K. has been a very good experience for me. I'm situated in the southern port city of Busan, which is also South Korea's second largest city. This was one of the main reasons I chose to work in Busan-it is far less congested and busy than somewhere like Seoul. Being a coastal city, Busan can also boast its easy access to multiple beaches, which is great since I'm from Montana originally. Education is taken extremely seriously here. I am working with a private, after-school English academy geared towards elementary and middle school students. I teach specifically elementary kids with grades ranging from 2nd to 6th. I am constantly very impressed with my students' ability to communicate in English and I believe it speaks well, as a whole, to how hard working South Korea is as a nation. My liberal arts education at Carroll College prepared me very well to be a global thinker. This, in addition with a desire to travel, helped with my transition moving to Asia greatly. For those seriously considering living abroad, any formal training in TESOL is very beneficial and I highly recommend it. -John Butts, Class of 2011, TESOL major, International Relations and English minors

Salary Figures for ESL Teachers

The ESL teacher salary you earn will reflect your level of education and years of experience. Where you choose to work will also play a major role in your income. The BLS reported that in May 2008 elementary teachers earned an average salary of $52,240, middle school teachers made an average of $52,570 and high school teachers made $54,390.

In adult education, where you'll find a lot of ESL teachers, salaries range from $32,660 to $57,310 a year. If you choose to pursue a career teaching ESL education at the university level, you can make an average of $73,362 per year. Here is the breakdown of average yearly salaries in 4-year institutions in 2007:

  • ESL professors: $98,974
  • ESL associate professors: $69,911
  • ESL assistant professors: $58,662
  • ESL lecturers: $48,289
  • ESL instructors: $42,609

Higher levels of education and seniority will often boost your ESL teacher salary.

10 reasons


  1. Because English is the lingua franca of the world & qualified ESL/EFL teachers are in great demand.
  2. Besides being a diplomat, in what other profession do you get to interact with people from all over the world on a daily basis?
  3. You can put your travel bug to work for you—teach English as you see the world.
  4. You’ll be able to explain all those crazy English spelling and grammar rules to your friends.
  5. Faculty dedicated to students.
  6. You’ll be rewarded by the gift of friendship in many languages.
  7. You want to teach you love to travel = TESOL.
  8. You can fund your travel habit.
  9. Study abroad - need we say more?
  10. Be competitive for jobs abroad, including the Peace Corps


Teach in a variety of EFL/ESL settings anywhere in the world.  There are private language schools, public schools, bi-lingual education programs, colleges and universities as well as those who hire private tutors to learn English.  There are even English for specific purposes programs, such as Business English, Medical English, and English for training pilots for example.  

Rising Employment

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for ESL teachers is expected to rise 14 percent by 2018. As the number of non-English-speaking students continues to grow, the demand for bilingual teachers and for thosewho teach English as a second language will grow as well to match that need.

This impressive rise in demand typically provides qualified teachers with healthy compensation and great benefits packages.