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Getting an Online ESL Certification

written by: Sonal Panse•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 7/27/2010

If you are a fluent English speaker and enjoy teaching languages, you might consider getting an online ESL certification for a foray into the ESL teaching field. There is a good demand for ESL teachers around the world today as English has come to mean better job and life prospects.

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    Online ESL Certification

    An ESL (English as a Second Language) certification is useful for teaching English to non-native speakers. The certification will help fluent English speakers who are interested in teaching the language to refine their language skills and learn how to impart these in an effective way to their students. People with an online ESL certification may work in both English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries.

    It is important to keep in mind that different states and countries have different certification requirements. In some places, prospective teachers may need to have a four year college degree in addition to the online ESL certification. In others, an online ESL certification may be sufficient by itself so long as it has been obtained from an accredited institution.

    Here are some of the types of ESL certifications that can be obtained online:

    • TESOL/TEFL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/ Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    • TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language
    • CTEYL - Certification in teaching English to young learners
    • CTBE - Certification in teaching English for business

    You can expect to learn some of the following in the course of an online ESL certification program:

    • Managing a classroom
    • English and its linguistic structure
    • Language acquisition
    • Teaching English grammar
    • Teaching English vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation
    • Teaching English speaking, reading, and writing
    • Making lesson plans
    • Working with learners of different abilities and ages
    • Understanding cultural differences in the classroom
    • Student assessment
    • Using games and visual and audio aids in teaching
    • Developing professionally and preparing for employment
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    Getting an Online ESL Certification

    Proper accreditation is important as it makes the difference in how worthwhile the training towards the certification is. There are, unfortunately, many institutions offering certification without adequate training, so it is important to check their credibility before enrolling for an online ESL certification program. Find out how long an institution has been in business, and what their job placement rate is.

    Find out about the duration of the program. Online ESL certification courses, depending on the type, can typically last for four to eight weeks.

    Find out if the course is completely online. Some programs include two weeks of onsite training to gain practical teaching experience. In absence of this facility, it will be a good idea to form a peer network and schedule peer-teaching sessions to get the practical experience. Many online programs offer observational videos showing ESL professionals in a classroom setting, but, of course, actual experience is preferable, too.

    Find out if the program involves studying on your own or working with a personal tutor. Find out about the amount of work and number of assignments required.

    Find out if the program offers assistance with job placement after you receive the certificate.

    Visit ESL online forums and websites, and read articles and tips by ESL professionals and students. Two excellent sites are TESOL and Dave's ESL Cafe. The links are provided in sources below.

    Here are two online ESL certification programs:

    Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training

    U.S. Department of Education Recognized Agency

    • 40-hour Basic Certificate - Introductory course to English Language Teaching - $210
    • 60-hour Educator Certificate - Covers the Basics of English Language Teaching - $325
    • 100-hour Professional Diploma - TEFL Field Standard - $352.50
    • 120-hour Master Diploma - Complete Teacher Certification Course - $446.25

    TESOL Courses

    Validated by the Board of Academic Advisors (BOAA)

    • Online TESOL courses - TESOL Certification Courses - $190
    • Combined TESOL courses - online and residential - TESOL Certification Courses - $1300
    • Advanced/Specialized TESOL courses - $250
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    Benefits of Taking an Online ESL Certification Course

    • You can take the course at anytime from anywhere in the world.
    • You can set your own schedule and work pace.
    • You can watch live and recorded videos of the way actual ESL professionals manage a classroom.
    • You get to brush up your computer technology skills.
    • You can network with peers and other ESL professionals online.
    • You get an internationally valid certification that will allow you to work anywhere in the world you want.
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    Career Prospects with an Online ESL Certification

    With globalization, qualified English teachers are in increasing demand in many developed and developing parts of the world. Well-qualified people can expect to find positions in schools, colleges, universities, companies, and businesses. You may be able to take your pick of working anywhere you want in world. It'll help to take a look at this article "ESL - Teaching English Overseas" here on Bright Hub.

    Salary depends on work position, work location, and, of course, experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a fourteen percent increase in ESL employment in the USA by 2016. Primary and secondary ESL teachers earned an average of $50,040 and $52,450 respectively in 2007, and adult education ESL teachers and university level ESL teachers earning significantly higher yearly, in the range of $32,660-$98,974.

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