Exploring Careers in ESL Teaching: From Classroom to Global Opportunities
If you are a current ESL teacher looking for a career change, you can put those skills to use in a teaching-related career and potentially make a lot of money. Here are some good jobs for teachers, inspired by real-life common job hops I have seen my ESL teacher colleagues make to land a more fulfilling career.
Careers related to ESL teaching that you may want to consider
Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) can be a rewarding and fulfilling career, but it is also exhausting. That means that, no matter how much you loved teaching ESL initially, there comes a time when you just need a break. Many burnt-out ESL teachers are just tired of the hustle and want to find an adjacent job that lets them take a little breather. Here are some jobs English teachers can pursue.
If you want to continue working within language, assessment, and one-to-one teaching, pivoting to becoming a speech-language pathologist might be a good direction for your future career. I knew an awesome VIPKid teacher (back when they were big) in Bucharest who was a certified Speech-language pathologist and chose to teach online so she could explore the world while paying off her student loans.
ESL Program Coordinator
Program coordinators manage ESL programs in schools, universities, and language centers. This includes hiring and training teachers, developing curriculum, and coordinating program activities.
Intercultural Communication Specialist
Intercultural communication specialists work with individuals and organizations to bridge cultural and linguistic gaps. This can involve teaching English language skills, cultural awareness training, and developing strategies for effective communication in cross-cultural environments.
Professional Tour Guide
Consider searching for work in your city as a professional tour guide. As a teacher, you already like speaking to strangers and sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge with others.
Professional tour guides require similar skill sets: sharing knowledge memorably and interestingly, public speaking, and engaging groups.
Study Abroad Advisor
Study abroad advisors help students find and apply for study abroad programs. This can include advising on program options, language requirements, and cultural considerations.
English Language Testing and Assessment Specialist
Testing and assessment specialists develop and administer English language proficiency tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, and TOEIC. This career requires a strong understanding of English language assessment and evaluation.
My best friend’s sister is an IELTS proctor who seems to love her job.
English Language Learner (ELL) Advocate
ELL advocates work to ensure that English language learners have access to quality education and support services. This is a related career to teaching with all the same skill sets. This can involve working with schools, government agencies, and community organizations to develop policies and programs that support ELL students.
Some former ESL tutors pivot towards marketing after teaching because marketing as a very similar skill set to teaching. In both, you influence people and rely on your interpersonal skills.
Are you interested in course design? Teachers who enjoy creating material and lesson plans might be interested in building course content or online course design for schools. With more schools moving toward distance learning during the pandemic and now staying that way, there is a growing market for instructional designers for new online content.
Some basic experience with this software can get you in the door with recruiters looking for instructional designers.
Yes, I know…I know. Blogging doesn’t quite scream ‘money maker,’ but I had to add it because there are many very lucrative blogs.
If you love writing and connecting with people, then blogging is a viable option if you are willing to put in a year of hard work with low pay for that eventual payoff. It’s a slow grind, but if you add Google Adsense or Mediavine (when you get many viewers) to your site, you can start making a bit after a few months. I started this blog, didn’t I?!
If you go down this path, the most important thing is to stay motivated. I suggest joining the Reddit group JustStart. It is a Reddit community about affiliate marketing, search engine optimization and related topics. Learn what works, what doesn’t, and what’s new.
These are just a few of the many careers available in ESL teaching.
Remember, if you want to bridge over to another career after being a TEFL instructor, focus on your transferable skills.
As an ESL teacher, you have developed so many.
What are a teacher’s transferable skills?
When you interview for your post-teaching career, highlight the related skill sets you will bring to your job.
- Communication: Ability to convey information effectively and listen carefully to others.
- Interpersonal Skills: Ability to work with different types of people, including students, parents, colleagues, and administrators.
- Problem-Solving: Ability to assess problems and develop solutions.
- Organizational Skills: Creating lesson plans, managing time, and maintaining records.
- Flexibility: Ability to adjust to changes in the classroom or curriculum.
- Critical Thinking: Ability to analyze data, assess student progress, and make decisions.
- Technology Skills: Ability to use technology to enhance instruction.
- Creativity: Thinking outside the box and developing creative solutions to problems.
- Patience: Ability to remain calm and patient when dealing with challenging students or situations.
- Leadership: Ability to provide direction, guidance, and support to others.
Whether you’re interested in teaching in a traditional classroom setting or exploring global opportunities, there are many different career paths to pursue that are related to teaching. With the increasing demand for English language skills worldwide, ESL teaching offers many personal and professional growth opportunities.
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