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Information on Master of Arts (MA) Degree Program in ESL

Majors Overview July 25, 2015

This article talks about Master of Arts (M.A.) degree programs in ESL and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, continuing education and certification choices.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Programs in ESL

Students and working professionals who want to become teachers of ESL would benefit by enrolling in a Master of Arts (M.A.) in English as a Second Language (ESL) program. ESL programs with titles like ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ (TEFL) and ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’ (TESOL) are available through some schools. Students may have to complete a special project or thesis to augment coursework. Oral and written examinations may mark the culmination of programs. Program graduates may qualify for licensure or ESL certification.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any major, in addition to submitting General Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Coursework

Students can expect to become adept at testing, evaluating and developing curriculum for ESL studies, as well as in developing strategies for working with students regardless of their age group. The focus of coursework can be on instructional methods and students can gain expertise in creating bulletin boards and lesson plans for ESL classrooms. Additionally, enrollees in master’s degree programs are taught to work with students from every country, including those who are new to the U.S., and those who have lived here for years. The focus of courses is on language systems, cultures, technology and learning styles. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Literacy skills
•Second language acquisition
•Phonetics
•Sociolinguistics
•Grammar
•Phonology
•Language and culture

Career Choices

Program graduates can aim to teach or work overseas and within the U.S. in academic or corporate settings. They could choose from available job positions such as:

•ESL educator
•Instructional Coordinator
•Educational administrator

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of 13% has been predicted for instructional coordinators. Principals in elementary, middle and high schools are expected to see a 6% growth and GED and adult literacy teachers could witness a 9% increase in jobs (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, instructional coordinators brought in an average annual wage of $60,050. Education administrators and adult literacy and GED instructors earned $86,490 and $48,590 as average annual wages (BLS).

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Program graduates can obtain teaching certification through passage of state exams. Certification of ESL teachers for adults may not be compulsory in some states. Program graduates can earn doctoral degrees in foreign language studies and ESL to pursue careers in academia or research.

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