What Can You Do With A Masters in ESL? 9 Career Options

What Can You Do With A Masters in ESL

I have been teaching ESL for many years because of my high qualifications and passion for this subject. One of the best decision I made in my career life was doing a master. This degree opened many opportunities for me to serve as a teacher and earn high.

If you’re considering doing Masters in ESL, I recommend you go for it. However, you may want to know your career options before making the final decision.

Here is an informative guide about what you can do with a Masters in ESL.

See also: 19 Best Tips on Making Your ESL Teaching Career Successful.

What is a Masters in ESL?

This master’s in ESL provides training to individuals who wish to teach English as a second language. There are usually practical and professional education and research components at this level.

You might wonder how long it takes to get a masters in ESL? It generally takes about two to three years to get a masters in ESL, depending on the number courses the student takes each semester. Most students study part-time, which might take longer, but you will graduate with fewer student loans

A good master in ESL will equip you with: 

  • Advanced education concepts, theories, and ideas
  • A solid understanding of connecting with your students beyond the language barrier. 
  • Practical and academic knowledge and skills needed to transfer knowledge. 

What Can You Do With A Masters In ESL? 9 Career Options

Here are the top career options that you can choose from after doing a Master’s in ESL:

1- Adult Education Teacher

Adult education teachers primarily work with adults who want to improve their education by level by seeking extra subjects. You can help them with GED preparation or teach them ESL. Basic literacy subjects also come under this teaching category.

This is also the most basic job you can get with a Masters in ESL. Working in this position will mean that you will have to work at a community college, nonprofit school, or correctional facility. The adults in this category are mainly people outside of standard school.

The best part about the job is that you can enjoy a flexible schedule, depending on your student groups. You will also make a reasonable salary per year. The national average pay for this career option is $32,017.

Furthermore, earning a Master’s in TESOL provides the skills and knowledge required to teach English as a second language (ESL) in the United States or English as a foreign language (EFL) in another country.

2- ESL Instructor

This is another basic job you can get with a Masters in ESL. You may teach the subject at a reputable college or university. Besides that, you may also serve as an online ESL instructor.

The job will require you to specialize in a single category. For instance, you may help students learn ESL to pass IELTS or other tests. You may also give tuition to students seeking to improve their ESL speaking skills.

However, remember that you can also become an ESL instructor with a bachelor’s degree. If you don’t want to advance much in the field, the Master’s degree will not be much beneficial.

The average salary for an ESL instructor is about $57,284 in the United States (Source: Indeed)

3- Private Tutor

Because of the high demand, private tutoring is one of the highest-paying jobs in this era. If you have a Masters in ESL, you can easily become a private tutor and achieve high success. You will also get more flexibility as a teacher because you can set a high rate without discouraging students.

The top feature of this career option is that you can also start your own business. Many private tutors open ESL teaching centers and hire more personnel to help students. If your skills and team are excellent, you can easily make more money without working much.

This option is also not limited to teaching students only. You can also tutor other teachers who want to get ESL certified. So you can help others get a TEFL or other certifications with ease.

See also: How to Market Yourself As An Online Tutor? (Best Strategies)

4- Academic Adviser

If you have been in a college, you must have encountered academic advisers at least once in your life. These individuals mainly help college students achieve their academic goals.

They may do this in different ways, such as offering advice on personal matters and helping with scouting.

The latter option is more applicable to students seeking sports scholarships at high-level schools. As an academic adviser, you must meet every assigned student at least once every semester. However, the schedule is flexible because some kids may ask you for extra meetings.

You will have to make yourself aware of the institute’s policies and ensure you’re helping students to the best. If you become an academic adviser in the US, you can earn about $43,222 per year.

5- TESOL Teaching Editor

Doing a Masters in ESL does not mean you must become a teacher at an institute. The degree also allows you to work as a TESOL writer or editor. This job involves writing textbooks to help others prepare for their certification exams.

You can also edit teaching material for other ESL teachers and assist them. This position is mainly for those with top-notch writing skills and enthusiasm for the task. It also requires a strong knowledge of TESOL and ESL to help others improve in the subject.

The job may seem intermediate level to you, but it is one of the complex positions that come in this education system. So you can expect to make a high figure because not every person has the skills and knowledge to edit textbooks and form teaching material.

6- ESL Program Director

ESL program director is another job that requires high expertise level and responsible behavior. You can achieve this position after gaining a few years of experience as an ESL teacher. The job involves managing administrative duties instead of classroom tasks.

A director is mainly responsible for overseeing other teachers at a public or private institute. It will be your duty to ensure every instructor is performing well in their classes and teaching students properly. You will also have to plan the curriculum that the tutors will teach during a semester.

Another important duty of an ESL program director is planning events related to the subject. So if you prefer administrative tasks more than teaching, this is the field you should consider pursuing. You can earn as high as $70,887 per year as an ESL Program Director.

See also: 11 Best Books for ESL Students (And spark the love of reading!)

7- Department Head

A department head position is the most important position you can get with a Masters in ESL. It is mainly for those who want to work at the university level and oversee a department. You may have also heard about this job because it is sometimes referred to as department chair.

You will have to oversee the entire faculty in a specific department of the university. Managing staff members will also be your duty; you must create effective strategies for improving the department’s overall performance.

Remember that you can also teach if you’re a department head. This is because the position is mainly given to one of the most promising faculty members in the department. So you can continue your teaching career part-time while focusing on research opportunities as the head.

You can expect to make about $104,872 per year working as a head of a Department in the United States (Source: Indeed)

8- Author

As an author, you will be responsible for writing original work, including books or scripts. You can either decide to self-publish or sign a contract with publishing houses that handle publishing tasks for you.

Generally, as an author, you are responsible for submitting drafts, working with editors, and editing and revising their assignments as required. Typically, the average salary for an author is $54,748 (Source: Indeed)

See also: 11 Ways ESL Students Can Improve Their Speaking Skills.

9- Content Writer

You will have tremendous opportunities as a content writer, such as an online content creator for websites, blogs, and social media platforms. You can also work as a freelancer and become a self-employed person.
Earning a master’s in ESL will equip you with research and writing skills to succeed as a content creator. Possible jobs as content creator include copywriting and marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, and monitoring and analyzing website traffic along with other KPIs.

The average salary for a content writer in the United States is about $64,829 (Source: Indeed)

Is It Worth It To Get a Master’s in TESOL?

A master in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is totally worth it. One benefit of earning a Master’s in TESOL is that it opens you up to many teaching possibilities, including teaching at the university level. In addition, you can expect an average annual wage of ​$55,350​ with a master’s in ESL. 

In addition to being eligible to teach in higher education, a Master’s in TESOL allows you to teach in specific locations with stricter teaching requirements, such as the United States or Canada, or even competitive TEFL regions, including the Middle East.

Is Being an ESL Teacher Worth It?

Being an ESL teacher is worth it as it opens tremendous opportunities, including a good salary, a work-life balance, and a rewarding career. On average, ESL teachers in the United States earn between $40,000 to $75,000 per year. Earning a Master’s degree will help you considerably raise your salary and open up many opportunities for you. 

See also: 11 Ways ESL Students Can Improve Their Listening Skills.

How To Get A Masters In ESL?

Now that you know what you can do with a Masters in ESL, you may wonder how to get this degree.

The process is relatively simple and starts with getting a TEFL or TESOL certification. You can also participate in online courses to earn credits for the program.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Project English Mastery. I am from Toronto, Canada. I graduated with a Master in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. After working a few years in the banking industry and completing my 120 TEFL from the University Of Toronto, I decided to teach English in China. Project English Mastery is a blog that provides helpful resources for English Teachers and Learners: vocabulary and grammar, exercises, and class activities ideas and tips.

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