English as a Second Language (ESL): Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

English as a Second Language (ESL), also called English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), classes teach students to read, write, and speak English. Students in these classes are immigrants to the United States or those whose native language is not English.

ESL teachers often focus on helping their students with practical vocabulary for jobs and daily living. They also may focus on preparing their students to take the citizenship exam.

ESL teachers may have students from many different countries and cultures in their classroom. Because the ESL teacher and the students may not share a common native language, ESL teachers must be creative with their communication in the classroom.

Education Required
Most states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some community colleges prefer to hire those with a master’s degree or graduate coursework in adult education or English as a Second Language (ESL). Some colleges and universities offer master’s degrees or graduate certificates in teaching adult education or ESL.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: -6% (Decline)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
Some states require adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers to have a teaching certificate to work in government-run programs. Some states have certificates specifically for adult education. Other states require teachers to have a certificate in elementary or secondary education.
Median pay: How much do Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers make?
$50,650 Annual Salary
$24.35 per hour

Careers for Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

  • Adult ESL teachers
  • Adult ESOL teachers
  • Adult English as a second language teachers
  • Adult basic and secondary education and literacy teachers and instructors
  • Adult basic education
  • Adult basic studies teachers
  • Adult education teachers
  • Adult literacy instructors
  • Adult literacy teachers
  • Adult remedial education instructors
  • GED instructors
  • General educational development teachers
  • High school equivalency and adult secondary education
  • High school equivalency diploma teachers

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