As the USA is such a big country with a relatively large and steady flow of immigrants, there are always plenty of opportunities available for TESOL qualified teachers. As well as permanent immigrants from all over the world, you will also find there are a huge number of potential students among the country’s millions of migrant workers and the large number of international students who flock to the US to study at colleges and universities countrywide. Business professionals who move to the United States on assignment is another area that is full of possibilities for ESL teachers.
Requirements for teaching English in the USA
Most official English language teaching jobs in the US will require a university degree. Jobs advertised in state and public school districts typically also require a state teaching license or education-related certification. However, jobs in private language schools, community centers, colleges, and even local libraries are often open to those with only a TESOL qualification. To be in with a good chance of securing one of these positions you will most likely need to have some previous experience of English teaching on your CV/resume.
Typical ESL students in the USA
ESL students in the USA are usually adults who have migrated to the country from somewhere else in the world. They will be in need of English language instruction so they can integrate into the local community and have a better chance of finding a well paid job. Many of them will be willing to pay for their English classes through private language schools, while others will get their lessons via community centers, libraries, or other community based providers.
The best places to find ESL jobs in the USA
Due to the large demand created by immigrant populations across the country, there are plenty of private language schools in every major American city, as well as in many smaller towns and cities. However, in big cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle you will find a seemingly endless number of schools and language centers catering to the large numbers of potential students.
Within many of these schools you will find students from dozens of different countries. They will typically be aged anywhere from 16 to 60, with a wide range of different educational and professional backgrounds. Many of these will be seeking general English lessons for daily life, while others will require specific business related English or preparation for external exams such as the TOEFL.
How to find ESL jobs in the USA
As with any job search, you will need to put in the required effort and employ a certain amount of initiative if you want to find the best jobs on the market. If you are already in a specific location, or you know the area where you want to live and work, you can simply reach out to all the language schools and other lesson providers that you can find and see what options are available.
Initially you might find you are only offered a part-time role on a trial basis, but this might well lead to a full-time position once you prove your worth to the employer. It is common for teachers to take on more than one job initially until something more long-term becomes available. Vacant jobs are often advertised on local job boards and on TESOL and other educated-related websites.
Private English language lessons
A popular option among ESL teachers in the USA is to teach private lessons. The demand for private lessons is massive throughout the country, with large numbers of young learners looking for additional lessons outside of school hours adding extra demand on top of regular adult students.
To find students in this area you will need to be proactive in advertising your services via notice boards in venues where potential students congregate, as well as through networking and online job boards. Local newspapers, particularly foriegn language publications, are also a good place to place your adverts. Investing in business cards and flyers can also be a good option, although simple word of mouth can often be the most successful tool in your toolbox.
Final tips for teaching ESL in the USA
If you have previous experience of teaching English overseas, it is a good idea to ask your employer for a letter of reference that you can show potential employers once you arrive in the USA. Another simple but effective tool is to record some video footage of your lessons that you can show as an example of your suitability for the role you are applying for.