TESOL: The ins and outs

TESOL: The ins and outs TESOL by sarspri

This article was written by Sarah Fudin, published on 11th July 2011 and has been read 6424 times.

This post was submitted by Sarah Fudin who currently works in community relations for the University of Southern California's Master of Arts in Teaching program, which provides the opportunity for students to earn an MA in TESOL online.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is an extremely fast-growing and increasingly important field of education, around the world. With the rise of English as the global language of choice, schools are in need of capable, certified teachers. As such, now is the best time to pursue your own TESOL certification.

How to get your TESOL certification

You can obtain TESOL certification in several ways. The method you should follow depends greatly upon where you want to be certified and in which part of the world you plan on teaching. Teaching in certain countries requires only an Associate’s degree and proficiency in English, while other parts of the world require official certification and particular advanced degrees.

For the most part, TESOL certification in the USA generally requires the student to pursue a Master of Education (M.Ed) or Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree with a TESOL concentration at an accredited college or university. Many of these Master’s degree programs allow you to gain a great deal of experience with pedagogical theory while giving you food for thought in your linguistic modules, to become a certified teacher of English as a second language. These programmes lead to a specific accreditation, most commonly a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults).

TESOL differs from TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in subtle but important ways. Unlike TESL and TEFL, TESOL does not distinguish between teaching in an English or non-English speaking country. Therefore, getting TESOL certified is often more comprehensive and allows you to teach both foreign and domestic students.

There are many great resources open to find out about your state or country’s TESOL certification requirements. The TESOL organization offers a list of accredited programs by state and by different degree programs. CertificationMap.com also features a guide to teaching around the world that is a handy resource. Lastly, be sure to contact your state/country’s Department of Education for specific certification information.

Why do you need it?

As stated above, there are many different requirements for teaching English to speakers of other languages. But with the number of people needing to learn English rising dramatically both in the USA and abroad, getting a MAT or M.Ed with TESOL concentration and obtaining TESOL certification is a great idea. Here’s why:

Getting certified serves to separate a candidate from the pack. While demand increases and more TESOL jobs open up, you will need to prove you are more capable than the rest. Being certified shows you have taken extra courses and dedicated yourself to mastering TESOL teaching techniques. Certification can raise your starting salary. It is a known fact that obtaining a Master’s degree often means a salary bump. Being certified gives you the ability to teach in more competitive, rewarding regions, like Europe or the Middle East. TESOL certification also gives you the opportunity to teach ESL at home. Because it often doesn’t distinguish between English speaking countries and foreign language speaking countries, it is an attractive qualification to have. Getting TESOL certified genuinely prepares you for the challenges of teaching both abroad and at home better than would otherwise be possible. If you want to set yourself up for success and enjoy your English teaching career, TESOL certification is the way to go.

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