Online Degrees Blog KU has three TESL certification programs to choose from

KU has three TESL certification programs to choose from

02 September

People are drawn to teaching as a profession because it gives them an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Teachers are role models who inspire their students. More importantly, teachers impart the valuable skills and knowledge that students need to excel in their course work and go on to have meaningful careers.

When your students are English language learners (ELL), the biggest skill you'll convey to them is how to communicate effectively in a second language—and not just any language. English is notoriously difficult and arguably the hardest language in the world for new speakers to learn.1 Because it can be so tough to become proficient in, the process is often frustrating for students. Part of your job as an ELL teacher is to provide support and encouragement so that your students don't feel like giving up. You'll also need to be sensitive to the cultural differences that may potentially affect the learning process.

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certification programs administer the most effective techniques and methodologies for teaching English to foreign language speakers. Some TESL certification programs are simply designed to provide licensure so that already certified classroom teachers can branch into ESL. A master's in TESL—or teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)—can also lead to a number of other careers as well.

Want to learn more about TESL or TESOL certification programs and, in particular, TESL online certification? Read on to learn more about TESL certification and how getting a master's in TESOL can expand your career options.

What is a TESL Certification?

There are several types of TESL certification:

1. Licensure endorsement only. For teachers who are already certified, this TESL certification provides an additional credential which is required to teach ESL students in many districts. This program can generally be completed in 12 months. You'll learn how to support ELL learners and become more sensitive to the needs of students coming from different cultural backgrounds.

2. Master in Science in Education (M.S.E.) degree for classroom teachers. Like licensure endorsement, the M.S.E. gives an additional credential to licensed teachers seeking to branch into ESL. Because it conveys an advanced degree, this more intensive program takes two years or more to complete. Students generally engage in a practicum and supervised teaching so that they are able to put the skills they've learned to the test.

3. M.S.E. degree for non-teachers. Whether you're looking to transition out of the classroom, or you want an advanced degree that allows you to step right into an administrative, tutoring, or consulting role, this 2-year master's in education degree focuses on the methodologies and best current practices in teaching ESL students. Its purpose is not to prepare you for classroom teaching; rather, it gives you the information you need to make informed decisions on behalf of teachers and students.

TESL Certificate Career Opportunities

Many people with TESL online certification continue to teach K-12 in a classroom setting. But a master's degree in TESL, or TESOL, allows you to find careers in the following areas as well:

Curriculum Specialist. Instead of implementing best practices in the classroom, a curriculum specialist works for a government or other entity developing and refining ESL teaching methodologies. You might work directly for a program or agency, or you might use your knowledge to consult agencies in best practices for teaching ELL students, as a curriculum specialist.

Language Academy/ESL Program Director. Directors of language academies make sure that students are achieving their program’s stated goals. This position requires strong leadership skills as well as a master's in TESL.

Private Tutor. Although anyone with a bachelor's degree and strong academic record can tutor ELL students, online TESL certification lends credibility and authority to your role that will help you to establish a client base, whether you choose to start your own business or work for an existing language center.

Community College Instructor. A master's in TESOL is a strong enough credential to teach at the community college level, particularly in developmental writing programs. If you love classroom teaching but don't love some of the busywork that comes with K-12 teaching, this might be a good option.

Online Instructor. Work for yourself or sign up to teach at one of many companies that hire English language speakers to teach students all over the world.2 TESL online certification may help you not only to get hired but can also help you earn more money than people who just have a bachelor's.

The Benefits of Getting a TESL Online Certification

If you're thinking about going the online route, there are a number of advantages over a traditional residential program.

  • You'll be able to keep your current job.
  • You won't have to relocate.
  • You'll be able to study when you have time rather than driving to campus at set times each week.
  • You won't need to pay for child care during online class time, etc.
  • You'll only pay for tuition hours and textbooks, not for room and board or student activity fees.
  • You'll earn more money on average with a master's degree.3
  • You won't sacrifice the quality of your education by getting a TESL online certification.

Many respected institutions of higher learning, like top-ranked University of Kansas School of Education and Humanities, have highly-regarded online education programs. Online classes are often taught by the same professors as in-person programs and students of both have access to the same extensive alumni network.

Where to Find the Best TESL Certification Programs

There are several things to look for when finding the best TESL certification program.

First, the school you choose should be accredited. For-profit universities often make big promises but lack the authority to back them up. On the other hand, the University of Kansas has been continuously accredited since 1913 by the Higher Learning Commission. Further, their School of Education and Human Sciences is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (NCATE).

The school you choose should also be highly regarded. This is where it helps to do some research. U.S. News & World Report, which ranks institutions of higher education and their individual programs, puts KU's School of Education and Human Sciences in the 17th slot.4

Finally, you should assess the school based on your needs. For instance, you may already have a master's degree in education and just need licensure endorsement to branch into ESL teaching. You might want a master's in TESOL to move into an administrative role. KU offers a licensure endorsement and two separate M.S.E. tracks, one exclusively for classroom teachers and the other for people interested in moving into an administrative role.

Help students become proficient in the English language.

An online master's degree in TESOL from top-ranked KU's Department of Education and Human Sciences gives you the credentials you need to teach ESL students in the classroom or branch into a related administrative field. When you join a KU online degree program, you'll take a deep dive into the latest theories and foundations of how to learn a second language, you'll come to understand how cultural differences can impede the learning process, and you'll learn what best practices in the field are. Advance your career in education and impact in the classroom with a leading KU online graduate degree.