What Can I Do With a Master’s in TESOL?

Earning a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) equips graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to teach English as a second language (ESL) in the United States or English as a foreign language (EFL) in another country. Programs that emphasize teaching English as a global skill have a curriculum that explores both the mechanics of language and the importance of culture as it relates to communication.

The essential skills that TESOL educators need range from a firm grasp of linguistics and grammar to a strong foundation in education. Quality TESOL instruction includes:

  • Advanced education theories, ideas and concepts
  • An understanding of how to connect with students beyond the language barrier
  • A foundation of base trends influencing education and technology
  • Practical and academic skills and knowledge relating to transferring this knowledge

Earning your master’s in TESOL opens up a wide variety of career possibilities for graduates.

Public and Higher Education TESOL Positions

Generally, the minimum requirement to acquire a position as a TESOL teacher is a master’s degree in TESOL or a related field. Some professionals have degrees in other languages or linguistics, for example, as well as a TESOL certification, if they did not earn a master’s degree in TESOL. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for adult basic and secondary education teachers and instructors is $54,060 a year.

TESOL Teaching Material Writer/Editor (books, software, apps, etc.)

Not everyone is made to be a teacher. There are still many career opportunities for those who try TESOL in the classroom but find that it’s not quite for them. TESOL graduates who go through their master’s program and teach for a few years are more than qualified to help write or edit TESOL textbooks and other teaching materials. These positions are best for those who have advanced writing skills as well as a strong foundation of experience and knowledge in TESOL.

Private Tutor

Though most TESOL professionals work in classroom environments, some choose a more individualized approach to teaching English. The more independent TESOL instructors may find success in private tutoring. One could work for a foreign company that wants to strengthen its ties in an English-speaking country or for families or individuals who are interested in learning English in a more private and singular setting. Private tutors work for themselves on a freelance basis or as part of a firm. Tutoring positions can be found both in the United States and abroad and can be very lucrative.

ESL/TESOL Program Director

After gaining experience as a TESOL instructor, a next step is to take on more administrative duties outside of the classroom. A TESOL program director is responsible for overseeing other TESOL instructors and teachers, planning curricula and program events and more.