What it Takes to Become an English Teacher
It takes dedication and skill to become an English teacher — helping children master the use of their native language and more. It’s a great career choice for those who are passionate about English and want to share it with others.
Becoming an English teacher requires a specific education that can prove challenging. However, the end result is rewarding, opening up impressionable minds to the complexities and beauty of the language.
It is possible teach classes with a bachelor degree, but a master degree in English opens up many more doors. Always research the intended job markets to determine how much schooling makes sense. It may be that a bachelor now and a master degree later is adequate, but this is not a sure thing. Teaching in public schools typically requires licensing and certification.
A high school diploma or GED is necessary to gain admission into a school that offers a bachelor of English degree. Potential students may also need to submit SAT/ACT scores or have an average grade that is sufficient for admission. Each school has different admissions requirements, so always check before you apply.
A master program requires a bachelor in English or a related degree. The student has to prove that she is capable of understanding the course requirements to gain admission. Not all schools require a Graduate Record Examination, but being able to include GRE scores will strengthen your application.
Career Options: What You Can do With an English Degree
The English degree is primarily a teaching degree, but it’s not solely for educating children in elementary or high schools. There are other options for teaching jobs available including:
- Vocational schools
- Magnet schools
- Alternative education environments
- Non-traditional schools
- Junior colleges, colleges and universities
- Business Schools
English teachers are in high demand in foreign countries where English is not the first language. Degree holders with a sense of adventure can get practical teaching experience while living in a foreign country and be paid for it.
What to Consider if You Pursue an English Degree
Graduates who plan to teach at primary school levels are entering a career that is estimated to grow about 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is slower than the average job growth for most jobs over the same period. The median pay for an individual with a bachelor’s in English is $53,230, but pay from local school systems varies greatly.
Post-secondary schools offer more pay, with an annual wage of $61,410, the BLS says, but jobs can be much harder to find. Average annual pay varies greatly from state to state, with California being the highest average at $95,520 and Rhode Island at $78,560.