How to Become an English Teacher
English Teacher Careers & Degrees

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An English teacher helps their students to learn literacy skills.

When you become an English teacher, you will be working with young people to help them learn to read, write, and communicate well.

Working as a teacher can be challenging, you’ll need to interpret the educational and emotional needs of your students, while making plans to best help them in their learning.

To work as an English teacher, you will need to have an excellent understanding of written language yourself.

You’ll also need to have good communication skills, especially when it comes to speaking and teaching young people.

Working as a teacher can be a very rewarding experience, especially when you are able to make a different in a child’s education and life.

If you love the English language, enjoy reading and writing, and also have fun when you spend time with children and teenagers, then becoming an English teacher could be the perfect career for you.

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Education Requirements to Become an English Teacher

To become an English teacher, you’ll need to complete a four year bachelor’s degree.

Start by taking a major in English, along with complementing subjects within the humanities.

Most colleges will allow you to apply for a teaching specialization within your sophomore year.

At this stage you will be able to learn teaching methodology, as well as start a teacher internship program.

All states require that teachers be licensed to teach in a public school.

However, if you are working within a private school, this is not the case.

In most states, to be granted your license you will need to have completed a four year degree, a minimum amount of hours in supervised teaching practice, and also complete tests for basic numeracy and literacy.

Another part of your license is continuing education, you will be required to complete ongoing training as a part of your career.

In some states, you will need to complete a master’s degree within a specified amount of time.

English Teacher Job Description

As an English teacher, you will spend just as much time working outside of the classroom as inside of it.

While you will have a lot of contact with students, you will also need to spend time preparing lesson plans, marking work, as well as other administrative tasks.

Here are some of the tasks an English teacher may find themselves doing:

  • Plan lessons
  • Help students with reading and writing
  • Prepare homework and assignment topics
  • Grade work
  • Discipline students
  • Write report cards
  • Recognize students who need extra help

English Teacher Salary and Career Path

The median wage for a teacher is around $50,000 a year.

New teachers could achieve around $40,000, while those with more experience or in roles with more responsibility might earn closer to $60,000.

Teachers with a master’s degree or national certificate will earn more.

Teachers within private schools generally earn less, but may receive other benefits, such as low cost housing.

Teaching a sports team, or other after school activity is a good way of earning extra money as a teacher.

There are other responsibilities that can be taken on also, as your career progresses.

For instance, you might take on an administrative role.

Some English teachers may move on to more specialist roles.

For instance, they might work as a special needs teacher, work with children who speak English as a second language, or move on to senior positions such as a school principal.

If you’re considering working overseas, a teacher’s qualification is an excellent tool to have.

You will be able to find employment teaching English as a second language in many different countries around the world.

Those with a four year teaching degree are highly sought after in many places around the world.

You may be able to secure a job package where you receive a wage and accommodation for your work.

Alternatively, there are many volunteer opportunities to teach English overseas.

When you become an English teacher, it may be stressful at times, but it is also a very rewarding role.

Employment is secure, teaching English brings many more opportunities than other fields may.

A good salary is available for qualified teachers, as well as other benefits in private schools.

Continued education, such as a master’s degree, will bring more opportunity and a higher salary later on.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$80,180
$37K
$50K
$80K
$99K
$140K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$59,230
Arizona$70,960
Arkansas$54,570
California$121,450
Colorado$66,180
Connecticut$84,500
Delaware$71,610
District of Columbia$112,250
Florida$81,410
Georgia$69,320
Hawaii$65,870
Idaho$91,900
Illinois$66,210
Indiana$76,960
Iowa$74,150
Kansas$65,120
Kentucky$67,320
Louisiana- NA -
Maine$66,230
Maryland$75,980
Massachusetts$84,890
Michigan$79,610
Minnesota$68,810
Mississippi$58,170
Missouri$80,430
Montana$58,940
Nebraska$67,840
Nevada$57,070
New Hampshire$80,000
New Jersey$88,460
New Mexico$55,730
New York$102,950
North Carolina$66,220
North Dakota$69,300
Ohio$75,250
Oklahoma$51,240
Oregon$71,580
Pennsylvania$75,380
Rhode Island$92,410
South Carolina$72,090
South Dakota$63,020
Tennessee$61,470
Texas$62,860
Utah$77,180
Vermont$76,810
Virginia$65,220
Washington$63,680
West Virginia$42,290
Wisconsin$69,250
Wyoming$57,990
Puerto Rico$63,490

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $121,450.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $121,450
District of Columbia - $112,250
New York - $102,950
Rhode Island - $92,410
Idaho - $91,900
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary, OCC Code 25-1123, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does an English teacher do?

An English teacher instructs students in language development, literature, grammar, and writing skills.

Teachers work not only as instructors but also as supervisors for students.

The professionals, in most cases, work in middle and high schools.

The typical responsibilities of an English teacher usually include developing curriculum and lesson plans; giving lectures; assigning work; keeping attendance; evaluating progress; managing the classroom; analyzing texts; instructing in grammar and writing skills, and so on.

English teachers also work with school administration and parents and deal with various student issues.

An English teacher should have impeccable communication skills, be fond of reading and instructing others.

Teachers do not only cover topics in grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and listening, but also help build analytical and formulation knowledge.

QuestionHow much do English teachers make?

On average, an English teacher can make around $55.000 per year in the United States (high school teachers typically earn a little more).

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the school you work for, the location and so on.

Teachers in New York, Alaska, and New Jersey, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level English teacher can earn around $9.80 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $31.30 and more per hour.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become an English teacher?

You would certainly need a bachelor’s degree in English or a related field in order to become an English teacher.

Bear in mind, that the degree should include a teacher preparation program.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

To improve job perspectives, you can go for a master’s degree (over $30.000).

You must be certified to be able to teach in schools; the cost of teacher certification can vary from state to state, so be prepared to pay anywhere between $40 and $200.

QuestionWhat is the demand for English teachers?

Between 2014 and 2024, the middle school teacher job market is expected to grow by 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Teachers at the secondary level can also expect a 6% job growth, while postsecondary English teachers will experience a 13% job growth.

The professionals that possess a master’s degree will have better chances of getting the highest-paid jobs.

QuestionHow long does it take to become an English teacher?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree.

You would have to complete a student teaching internship that typically lasts for a year.

To become a certified teacher, you would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program, pass a background check and knowledge and skills tests.

The initial certificate is valid for 5 years; you would have to complete a certain number of professional development hours every five years to maintain the certification.

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