TESOL Jobs — What You Can Do with a Master's in TESOL

Published on: March 26, 2020

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, the field and practice of language instruction for bilingual and multilingual English learners and speakers. 

Today, the need for TESOL educators is great, both in the United States and abroad.

Did you know that almost half of all residents in the United States’ five largest cities are speaking another language at home? In Los Angeles, this number reaches nearly 60%. The Center for Immigration Studies reports that “Of those who speak a foreign language at home, 25.9 million (39 percent) told the Census Bureau that they speak English less than very well.”


English instruction is also in high demand in countries around the world. 

According to the language learning app Babbel, 1.5 billion people (or 20% of the Earth’s population) speak English, but only 360 million of those people speak English as a first language. The other 1.14 billion people have learned English as a second or foreign language. 

What does this mean in simpler terms? Roughly 75% of English speakers in the world today did not speak English as a first language and were taught English in school, from a relative or tutor, through books or movies, or by cultural association.

These statistics about English speakers around the world highlight the need for highly trained TESOL educators to work in settings both in the United States and abroad.

TESOL Jobs: Career Options for People with a M.A. in TESOL

TESOL methodology provides effective instructional tools to support students at every stage of language learning, from pre-kindergarten through adult learning. A master's degree in TESOL and any subsequent certification is nationally and internationally recognized for English language instruction at the adult level in the United States and from pre-school to adults abroad.

There are three primary ways that people put their Master’s in TESOL to good use. 1) Many take on roles teaching English as a second language around the United States, and their master’s degree makes them highly qualified and eligible for higher salaries. 2) Others choose to take their skills abroad, teaching English in university or K-12 education settings around the world. 3) Lastly, some pursue a Master’s in TESOL because they work regularly in some capacity with speakers of other languages and they need better methods for engagement and communication with their audience.

People with a Master’s in TESOL are able to find work in several career settings including (but not limited to)

  • community colleges,
  • universities,
  • adult education centers,
  • language academies,
  • international schools,
  • and PK-12 schools abroad.

In all these settings, a background in TESOL either qualifies you to serve as an educator or allows you to better serve in an administrative or support capacity.

Getting a Master's in TESOL, Literacy, and Culture

The School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at USD is proud to offer a rigorous and social justice focused Master’s in Education in TESOL, Literacy, and Culture.

The USD Master’s in TESOL, Literacy, and Culture program focuses on culture, linguistics, second language acquisition methods and the methodology of teaching English. Students in the program build an understanding of the complexities in working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities within the US and around the world. With over 150 hours of observation, teaching experiences, and research practice, our students carry their classroom experiences successfully into the real world.

The M.Ed. in TESOL at USD has many unique features including a field experience requirement and an international experience requirement.

The M.Ed. in TESOL is a 30 credit program that can be completed in either one or two years. Courses include Research Design Methodology; Cognition and Learning; Human Development; Language, Literacy and Culture; Introduction to the Nature of Language and Linguistic; a practicum; a master’s capstone; and more.

Field Experience Requirement
Over the course of the program, students spend 150+ hours in a TESOL setting for observation, experience, and research. This includes a variety of community and classroom work, everything from tutoring one-on-one to teaching small groups to teaching whole groups in English as a second language literacy program.

International Experience Requirement
At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally. International experiences are approved by each student's faculty advisor and can be credit-based or non-credit based activities.

Did you know that we offer a Master's in TESOL online? Check out this resource for more information on our 100% online program.

SOLES Alumni and Their TESOL Jobs

Currently, SOLES TESOL alumni can be found throughout the United States and in Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Panama, and many more places.

Here’s a non-comprehensive look at the places where SOLES TESOL alumni have worked:

  • International School of Macaé, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • International School of Panama
  • Los Angeles Unified School District Adult ESL Program
  • America's Finest Charter School (AFCS) in San Diego, CA
  • Valle Lindo Elementary School
  • Mira Costa Community College
  • Palomar College
  • Southwestern College
  • City College
  • Grossmont College
  • Mesa College
  • Miramar College
  • The English Language Institute at the University of California, San Diego
  • Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) Public Charter School in Washington, DC
  • California Baptist University
  • North Virginia Community College
  • Education First (EF) Language School
  • The English Language Academy at the University of San Diego
  • Guajome Park Academic Charter School
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • International English Academy in Redondo Beach, CA
  • Parkway Middle School
  • San Diego Christian College
  • Macau University
  • San Diego State University, American Language Institute
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Glocal International School, China

"As the Academic Coordinator of the English Language Academy, a rigorous English language program at USD, I am always looking for outstanding instructors. Fortunately, I haven't had to look farther than the graduates of the [USD] Master's Program in TESOL, Literacy, and Culture. Currently, three of the 12 instructors on staff at the English Language Academy are graduates of this program; and in our summer program, over half of the instructors are SOLES graduates. The program's dual focus on theory and practical teaching skills has produced professionals with the passion and knowledge to make a real difference in the lives of our students." - Deborah Sundmacher, Academic Coordinator, USD English Language Academy

Check Out Our Guide to TESOL and TESOL Jobs

Here at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego, we focus on preparing leaders and innovators, people who want to focus on education as the way to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

If you're looking to build a career teaching English, we have a resources that explores the importance of language education and helps you understand how a master's in TESOL prepares you for a wide variety of work settings.

In this resource, A Career Guide to TESOL Jobs for Global Minded Educators, you get:

  • Insights about TESOL abroad versus TESOL in the United States
  • Information about the need for TESOL educators
  • Advice about knowledge and skills you need to thrive as a TESOL educator
  • Exploration of USD SOLES track record of career success for TESOL graduates

Check out the guide today and begin to consider if a master's in TESOL online could be right for you!

Explore the Resource

Written By:

SOLES Admissions Team

We are the admissions team at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). SOLES offers graduate and doctoral degrees in Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy, Leadership Studies, and Learning and Teaching. Through inquiry and practice, we combine educational equity with compassionate service to help our students develop the skills and vision necessary to become powerful agents of change.

Topics: TESOL

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