Do you envision yourself as a foreign language teacher? If so, you’re not alone. Large numbers of students and working people consider building a career in the fast-growing field of language teaching.
In this post, we will take you through the steps required to:
👍 Become a language teacher
👍 Obtain the right credentials in order to compete with other educators
👍 Gain experience in teaching and apply for open positions
We will also go through frequently asked questions relating to foreign languages and education.
Teaching Foreign Languages as a Profession
Both in-person and online opportunities exist for trained teachers who want to climb the ladder of success in this well-paying, exciting line of work.
Whether you want to teach English as a Foreign Language or to teach a specific language abroad, there are plenty of jobs available for up and rising language teachers.
That means plenty of job openings for people with the right background, experience, and credentials.
A Step-By-Step Guide for Foreign Language Teachers
In this step-by-step guide for anybody interested in starting a career in foreign language teaching, you’ll see what you need to do in order to take your career to where you want it to be.
Step 1: Choose Which Subject You Want to Teach
The first step is figuring out how to pay for a college degree and then earning a diploma in an appropriate subject area.
The most common foreign language requiring teachers in the U.S and Europe is Spanish, but plenty of other languages or subjects are required in foreign language programs worldwide.
These include linguistics, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (note this does not require a dedicated degree but it does help you to explore a foreign culture through study abroad), and General Education.
If you’re still in school, try to spend your summers teaching as much as you can, creating good communication skills, nailing your lesson plans, and analyzing different learning styles. If you are able to gain experience as an online language instructor then do this too. You can do so through sites like italki and Preply.
After graduation, consider taking one or more credential exams or earning formal teaching certificates that allow you to work in high schools, certain public schools, or colleges.
Financing your education is the cornerstone of the career-building process if you want to teach in the U.S.
Step 2: Finance and Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree
If you want to teach English to non-native speakers in the U.S or abroad, a college degree is an almost universal requirement in order to develop a teaching career at a high level.
You will need to be familiar with modern curricula and have developed native-level fluency in the language you want to teach. If you are planning to teach three languages then you will need high language proficiency (which can be developed through teacher training) in the third language.
In the U.S and most English-speaking countries, nearly all local and international schools require a four-year diploma in a subject related to language or language teaching.
This usually includes a year of taking part in a study abroad program or some form of experiential learning.
Paying for your formal degree begins with applying for a student loan (unless you have the means to pay cash, which very few people do).
Borrowing is by far the most common way to pay for a college education, as tuition and fees are nearly out of reach for middle-income families and individuals.
Step 3: Get Basic Teaching Experience
You can make yourself more attractive to hiring agents if your resume includes at least a few months of part-time teaching experience.
The simplest way to accumulate in-class hours is to apply for one of the many online instructor positions. For many of them, there’s no need for a degree, and you can work as many or as few hours per week as you wish.
These gigs are an ideal way for college students to earn extra money and gain valuable real-world experience as instructors.
Another way to build up your resume is to volunteer through a community center to teach basic speaking skills to immigrants who know little or no English. This is also one of the most rewarding forms of language teaching.
Speak with college counselors or your hometown social service agencies to find open positions (bearing in mind that many may be unpaid) in which you can gain worthwhile experience.
Teaching Experiences Abroad
If you are fortunate enough to be able to teach foreign language classes abroad, whether independently or as part of a student teaching internship, then you should absolutely do this for the experience and life/interpersonal skills that you will develop.
Schools in most European major cities are crying out for English Teachers, or Language Teachers with proficiency in a Foreign Language/experience with Foreign Language Teaching.
You do not need a doctoral degree or a master’s degree in order to teach your native language abroad or to teach students a foreign language.
That said, you will often need specific language qualifications or credentials.
Step 4: Get the Right Credentials
During or after college, consider adding certifications to your resume.
Some of the top choices are:
👍 TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language)
👍 TESOL (Teaching English to speakers of other languages)
👍 ESL (English as a second language)
Certifications can open many career doors and serve to set you apart from the majority of other job applicants.
FAQs Relating to Student Work, Education, and Average Salary
What should you major in?
The most important thing is that you major in something that interests you. Most high schools, private English academies, boot camp schools, and colleges prefer candidates who studied journalism, English, education, or linguistics.
In many cases, it’s good enough to have a degree in anything as long as it’s from an accredited, four-year institution.
You can then study new languages, and opt for new teacher programs (such as foreign language teacher training) once you have finished your Bachelor’s degree.
What is the average salary for a foreign language teacher?
Labor Statistics indicate that Foreign Language teachers in the United States earn an average salary of $49,610 per year. However, salaries can vary greatly depending on experience, location, and other factors.
For instance, experienced foreign language teachers in large cities tend to earn higher salaries than those teaching in smaller towns or rural areas.
Additionally, those who teach popular languages such as Spanish or French may earn more than those teaching less common languages.
Foreign language teachers with advanced degrees and/or certification may also earn higher salaries than those without these credentials.
So, never underestimate the importance of language qualifications if you want to enter the mainstream teaching market.
Which foreign language has the highest paid job?
There is no definitive answer to this question as salaries for foreign language teachers can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the country in which they are teaching, the type of institution they are teaching at, and their level of experience.
However, some languages tend to be more in demand than others, and therefore may command higher salaries.
Which foreign language is in demand for teachers?
There are many languages that are in demand for foreign language teachers. Some of the most popular languages include Spanish, French, Chinese, and German.
However, there is a growing demand for other languages as well, such as Arabic and Russian.
How do I become an ESL teacher in the UK?
There are a number of ways to become an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.
The most common route is to complete a certified teaching program with subject endorsement, which will provide you with the necessary skills and qualifications to teach English as a second language.
Alternatively, some individuals choose to gain experience teaching English abroad before returning home to pursue a career in teaching.
How do I become a foreign language teacher in Canada?
There are many ways to become a foreign language teacher in Canada. One way is to take a certification program offered by a university or college. Alternatively, many organizations offer teacher training programs that are recognized by the Canadian government.
Many foreign language teachers in Canada are certified through the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT).
Are foreign language teachers in demand in India?
Yes, foreign language teachers are in demand in India. With the growing popularity of foreign languages, many schools and colleges are now offering courses in these languages. As a result, there is a growing need for qualified and experienced foreign language teachers.
If you are interested in becoming a foreign language teacher in India, you will need to have a good command of the language you wish to teach. If you wish to be paid, you will also need to have a teaching qualification from a recognized institute.
There are many foreign language institutes in India that offer teacher training courses. These courses will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be an effective foreign language teacher.
How much do TEFL teachers get paid?
This is a difficult question to answer as salaries can vary greatly depending on the country, school (such as whether or not it’s a public or sponsored school), and the type of position.
If you are a Spanish teacher in Spain, you can expect to earn more than if you are an English teacher in Laos. Generally speaking, though, TEFL teachers can expect to earn enough to live comfortably in most countries around the world. In some cases, such as in Japan and South Korea, salaries can be quite high.
Of course, the cost of living must also be taken into account. A teacher in Thailand, for example, may not earn as much as a teacher in Japan but will likely find that their money goes further due to the lower cost of living in Thailand.
When looking for a teaching position, it is important to research salary expectations in your desired country so that you can have a realistic idea of what you can expect to earn.
Summing up: How to Become a Foreign Language Teacher
In order to become a foreign language teacher, you will first need to complete an undergraduate or graduate program in education with a focus on foreign language teaching. You will then need to obtain work experience as a language teacher or undertake a specific teacher preparation program that will usually enable you to teach courses nationally.
You will also need to meet state certification requirements; these vary by state. Foreign language teachers typically work in elementary, middle, and high schools, teaching students of all ages.
Many foreign language teachers find employment abroad, and for this, you will often find that the qualifications required vary depending on the country in which you wish to teach.
Try to obtain teaching experience at the college level and enroll in a teacher education program as soon as you can. This type of preparation, during or prior to graduate school, will shorten the certification process later.