In most of the United States, you will need the minimum of a bachelor's degree to work as a teacher. However, there are some states that require you also to have a master's degree in adult education or ESOL instruction. Throughout the course of adult education training programs, the curricula will cover such topics as technology in the classroom, teaching students from a variety of cultures, and teaching adults with learning disabilities.
Generally, before you start work as an ESL instructor you should have taken courses in second language acquisition theory and linguistics so that you will understand the most effective approaches to getting people to take up a new language. Suprisingly, you do not need to have knowledge of a second language in order to become an ESOL teacher. Students are still capable of learning English without you knowing their native language, but you should consider learning the language of the students you teach so that you can better relate to them. For instance, knowing a second language will help you to understand why students may be having trouble pronouncing certain words correctly.
Some states will also require you to obtain licensing to work as an adult educator or to work in public schools. In these states, you must have completed a bachelor's degree and an approved teacher training program in order to receive a license. Likely, ESL instructors will be expected to participate in professional development activities (BLS).
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