Where are ESL teachers in demand in the USA

Due to the ever-increasing numbers of people learning English throughout the world there is now a global shortage of ESL qualified teachers. This is true in most parts of the world, including in the US where sustained levels of high immigration have caused a shortage of trained and experienced ESL teachers. This shortage is particularly acute in states with especially high levels of immigrants and refugees.

One report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) suggests that around one-third of all schools in the US offering bilingual or ESL teaching have trouble filling their vacant positions. The overall demand for TESOL qualified teachers is only likely to increase in the coming years, which is great news for teachers but not so great for schools.

Which US States have the strongest demand for ESL Teachers?

There is a shortage of TESOL qualified teachers in almost every state in the country, although the biggest shortfalls are found in states where the immigrant and refugee populations are particularly high, such as California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois. The number of vacant positions is hard to pinpoint exactly, but some sources quote that California has at least two thousand positions vacant and others such as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania have between one and two thousand ESL teaching jobs unfilled.

How much can I earn teaching ESL in the US?

It is hard to put a figure on the expected salary of an ESL teacher in the US as the jobs that fall into this category vary considerably. ESL teaching jobs in a university obviously pay a much higher salary than a kindergarten aimed at pre-school age children. There is also a noticeable difference in average salaries between different states. The estimated average salary of a TESOL qualified teacher in states such as Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas is around $35,000. At the other end of the scale, states such as New York, Connecticut and Washington have an annual average salary of around $65,000.

Where to look for ESL jobs in the US?

In terms of location you could probably stick a pin in a map of the US and find a vacant ESL job as there are so many positions unfilled across the country. To tackle this shortage some states have resorted to employing any teacher they can find, whether they are qualified or experienced in ESL or not. This approach has done little to ease the problem as unsuitable teachers rarely last long in an environment where it is necessary to be fully engaged at all times. In terms of finding vacant positions there are many websites that advertise ESL jobs in the US, including:

What are the requirements for teaching ESL in the US?

The exact requirements expected for any particular job will vary depending on the state and the individual employer. However, you will typically need to have a bachelor’s degree, a TESOL certification and in many cases previous classroom experience. For this type of job we would recommend completing the highest level of TESOL you can, as this will not only look good to potential employers but will also give you the necessary skills and knowledge required to do the very best job for your students.

Take a look at our most popular option, the 120-hour online TESOL certification, for an insight into what a TESOL course entails.

We would also recommend you take a look at our highest level course, the 370-hour Diploma in TESOL, for an idea of what an advanced TESOL course looks like.

ITTT also runs a very popular in-class TESOL certification course at our New York training center.

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