How to Become an English Instructor?

Are you thinking of becoming an English Instructor or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an English Instructor, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new English Instructor job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
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Steps to Become an English Teacher

English teachers are responsible for making sure students learn reading comprehension, writing, and proper grammar. They create lesson plans that teach their students these skills in engaging, interactive ways. English teachers also track student progress, grade student essays and tests, and answer student questions. These teachers help students connect the English language to their lives in meaningful ways. In this article, we discuss the steps required to become an English teacher.
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1

Get your college degree.

Obtaining your undergraduate degree in English is the first step toward becoming an English teacher. You must complete general education courses and educational prerequisites before applying to a teaching program focusing on English.

  • For elementary school, you'll need a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
  • Middle or high school requirements include a bachelor's degree in secondary education or a degree in English with a minor in education.
  • K-12 programs with non-native English-speaking students require a bachelor's degree with English as a second language.
  • College or university English teachers get an advanced education such as a doctorate or master's degree in English.

You can attend conferences and workshops offered by a university, clubs, and professional organizations to further connect with English educators.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an English Teacher?

88% of people working as an English Teacher earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an English Teacher?

  • Native English Speaker
  • Foreign Language
  • Teaching Experience
  • Degree IN English
  • Teach English
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • English Speaker
  • Written Communication
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an English Teacher in the United States.
2

Complete an internship.

Internships designed for English teachers will help you develop teaching skills in a real-world educational environment. Many universities have programs that allow their students to secure internships.

Several teacher certification programs require teacher candidates to complete a semester or more of student teaching. Student teaching is a type of internship where participants gain practical classroom management experience. Student teaching is often a college-credit course assigned through the university for which English teacher candidates pay to enroll.

A student-teacher will work under the supervision of a licensed teacher with additional certification specific to working with student-teachers. The supervising teacher will model best teaching practices, allow the student-teacher to teach lessons, assess performance, deal with disciplinary actions as needed, and provide feedback on lesson plan development. A professor at the college or university issuing the degree often observes the student-teacher for a lesson or two to assess the student-teacher's skills and teaching competency.

3

Complete required certifications.

Certification exams vary state to state but include oral communication, literature, reading comprehension, and media literacy. These examinations test your professional skills and knowledge. Most states also require you to successfully pass a criminal background check, child abuse check, and FBI fingerprinting.

4

Apply for teaching jobs.

After completing your education, internship, and any necessary certifications, you're ready to apply for your job as an English teacher. Creating a professional, organized resume that highlights your credentials, achievements, education, and relevant experience can help capture the attention of institutions looking for an English teacher. You should also prepare a teaching philosophy that documents your professional goals as an English teacher and explains how you teach English to students.

If you have experience teaching English to specific groups of children, such as those with special needs or ESOL (English as a Second or Foreign Language) learners, be sure to emphasize this training in your application materials.

Portfolios of sample lesson plans, teaching ideology, and student assessment examples are an effective way to showcase your knowledge and experience.

English Instructor Career Path

English Teacher

8+Years of Experience
$47K - $64K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
Learn More

Lead English Teacher

No Years of Experience Reports
$46K - $66K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
Learn More
3% advanced to

Head English Teacher

No Years of Experience Reports
$46K - $66K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
Learn More

Salary Trajectory

English Instructor Career Path

English Teacher I
English Teacher
Lead English Teacher
Head English Teacher
$40K
$48K
$56K
$64K
$80K

Related careers in the Education Industry

Interested in other Education careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with English Instructor skills. Discover some of the most common English Instructor career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Kindergarten Teacher
38% skills overlap
18% transitioned to Kindergarten Teacher