A Master’s degree in TESOL gives you a specialist education in teaching English language which can be used in many careers, not just TEFL. Gaining your MA in TESOL provides not just advanced teaching skills, but proves your ability to tackle the complex academic side of teaching theory, together with considerable practical teaching experience. As a result, you can move straight into work as a language teacher, researcher, or many of the fields of educational science and linguistics. Read our article on job prospects for TESOL Master’s graduates. However, there are plenty of other careers that are also open to someone with an master’s degree, such as:
- Foreign language teacher – your teaching skills provide a great route to a career teaching students English as a foreign language
- Foreign language translator – the combination of skills from being bilingual and having a master’s in TESOL, often make excellent translators.
- Foreign service officer – it’s tough to go through the U.S. State Department diplomatic service’s selection process, but if you succeed you will travel and represent the U.S. around the world.
- Language teacher – working as an English language teacher gives your flexibility to travel, an opportunity to work in almost every country and with an MA in TESOL the chance to advance as a director of study in a TESOL school.
- Linguistics research – applied linguistics is an exciting field and your insight acquired through your own academic research could help develop new techniques to aid students learn languages with future TEFL teachers.
Choosing Careers In TESOL and ESL
Working in TESOL as an English language teacher can be fun, rewarding, offering great travel opportunities and with the potential for a generous salary. If you feel that a career in TESOL might be a good fit for you, then your next task is to identify attainable TESOL careers that suit your goals.
Current Financial Situation
Before you choose a particular educational pathway – for example studying for a Masters in TESOL or an MA in Adult education – one of the first and most important factors that will determine your route is your current financial situation. This can determine the school you choose, your lifestyle during your student years, and your life after you’ve finished your education.
When assessing your current financial situation, you need to take into account your savings and your ability to earn income while studying; you should also take into account your ability to obtain additional funding through grants, loans and other scholarship programs. You might be unwilling to ask your family for a loan, but you might be eligible for a loan from a bank. Are you eligible for other types of student loans, government grants, or some other line of credit from a financial institution? And even more importantly, do you think that you will you be able to pay off this debt (if it’s not a grant) after you graduate?
Years of Study in Education
Going to school whilst continuing to work is no easy task. Living off savings might mean more time for study but is likely to mean you trade lifestyle as you adjust your expenses to meet your budget. These two factors combine with the length of the course: how many years of schooling can you manage and how many years of schooling can you afford? Lastly, what type of course workload can you manage: are you considering a full-time or part-time course load?
Although these choices might appear to limit you, there are many careers in the teaching field that only require a high school diploma or a 1 year program of study. There are also professions that require 2 year associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, or a master’s or postgraduate degree.
You need to consider all these options since failing to make a realistic assessment of your current situation before you sign up and commit to a program of study can be costly or mean that you run the risk of not completing your chosen study program.
Online Schools vs. Campus-based Local Schools and Colleges
Attending a program or course held in a bricks-and-mortar college or technical/vocational school is often the preferred educational route, but there’s a growing trend towards online training programs for many education professions. Online schooling offers considerable amount of flexibility and convenience in timing and delivery of material – which is particularly helpful for those students who need to juggle work and/or kids along with their continuing education. If you have personal commitments that require a significant amount of time and attention, choosing an online school, such as an online Masters in TESOL can offer you the flexibility to make the course work and fit in with your life.
When considering which course to choose, it’s worth remembering that while virtually every program will offer some form of online teacher support – not every program offer full online distance education programs. Some schools run programs that offer part of their curriculum online, but still require the students to attend a local school for classroom training. If you need real flexibility offered by online schools, make sure that you inquire about these options and request a free prospectus from the school to make sure it supports the schooling method you need.
If you choose education as a career, one of the results will be that it offers you the earning power to achieve your personal goals. To help you plan your future career, you should not only look at entry-level salaries, but the salaries as you gain seniority and progress through the profession. Some careers offer attractive entry-level salaries, but with a lower upper salary range, while other careers may offer lower entry-level salaries, but more potential for salary growth and earning power as you progress through your career and gain experience.
Work Life Balance
Finally, it’s important to choose a career that you are passionate about, that interests you and that you care about enough to ensure you do a good job, provide authentic and honest work for your employer and stay true to your ideals. However, you must ensure that the career allows you time for the things that are important to you, so whilst a great salary is important, it’s not as important as spending time with your family or outside activities that drive your happiness! Take a look at a job description (often now called a job profile) and if you feel uncomfortable with the description then, even if you had thought this was the career for you then it’s probably not right for you. For example, if you have family commitments or volunteer activities or hobbies that require your time and attention, then choosing a career that offers more flexible hours might prove to be your priority.
Ultimately, you want to choose a career that you find rewarding, both financially and personally, that fits your lifestyle, and that is attainable based on your current financial and educational situation. Fortunately, there are jobs in education that fit many different types of lifestyle. You can find out more about your career options in the education field, especially TESOL and ESL teaching, right here at Master-in-TESOL.com.