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What's the Difference in ESL, ESOL, and TESOL Degrees?

What's the Difference in ESL, ESOL, and TESOL Degrees?

Research indicates significant growth in the number of individuals learning the English language in the United States. This growth has created an opportunity for English Language Learner (ELLs) trainers and private tutors with a chance to further their teaching careers. Various degrees qualify an individual to teach students how to communicate and write in the English language.

These certifications include ESL, ESOL, and TSOL certifications. Let’s look at the difference between ESL, ESOL, and TESOL degrees.

ESL Degree

You should obtain an ESL degree before becoming an ESL teacher in the United States. ESL is an acronym for English as a second language. These teachers can work in private and public learning institutions. They help ELLs better their English writing and reading skills.

Most ESL teacher helps immigrants to gain confidence in using English language and to be able to communicate better either at work or at school. There are also opportunities overseas where ESL teachers can work at English institutions.

Most people often confuse ESL teachers with foreign language teachers. Unlike ESL teachers, foreign language instructors share the same language with their students. ESL teachers do not necessarily teach students who speak the same language.

ESL teachers interact with students at different proficiency levels, ranging from those who do not understand English to near-native English speakers. These roles make this career attractive. Teaching individuals who only comprehend few English words requires a lot of patience and empathy.

ESL teachers are also responsible for designing learner’s curriculum, administration, and coordinating with other education stakeholders in English learning institutions. ESL teachers are also tasked with giving out learning assignments and conducting proficiency tests.

Obtaining an ESL degree may require a lot of commitment and hard work. In the United States, obtaining the degree may take you four years or a year if you have a degree in other related education fields. You also have to take a series of examinations and aptitude tests. Examples of topics you may have to cover include linguistics, designing lesson plans, language theories, and teaching learners with disabilities.

If you are passionate about learning foreign languages, you will thrive in this degree. Learning a second or third language will give you a competitive edge when you are applying for employment opportunities. Pursuing an ESL degree equips learners with the following skills;

  • Communication. Successful completion of an ESL degree helps a teacher to communicate better.
  • Flexibility. Most ESL teachers understand that one teaching approach may not work for other students, and they should employ more than one tactic.
  • Empathy. ESL teachers are trained to be empathetic to their students since learning a new language can be challenging. They are also trained to understand that students come from different ethnic backgrounds.
  • Organization skills. Teaching ESL classes may demand a lot of organization skills. Teachers may require to plan their time wisely to ensure that each student has grasped the content.

ESOL Degree

What is the meaning of ESOL? English to Speakers of Other Language development program for children below 19 years. This program teaches basic vocabulary and grammar to ELLs in online and community programs.

The English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) degree allows an individual to teach English to learners who speak more than one language. Unlike ESL degrees, ESOL teachers will teach learners who previously learned English in their original country.

ESOL certification takes about six to ten months to complete depending on the student’s entry level. Most learning institutions do not have a set entry-level guideline. However, you will need to take an initial test when applying for the course. It is essential that you choose an institution that is accredited.

Unlike ESL students, ESOL students are required to undertake a Praxis exam. Praxis examinations were introduced by organizations employing ESOL teachers. This exam tests the linguistic prowess of teachers who want to teach ELLs. The test takes about two hours, and it assesses learners in areas such as:

  • Foundations of linguistics and learning. This section takes forty percent of the exam.
  • Planning, implementing, and managing instruction. This section takes thirty percent of the exam.
  • Assessment. This section constitutes fifteen percent of the exam.
  • Fifteen percent of the exam handles cultural and professional aspects of the job.

TESOL Degree

TESOL can be described as the lowest certification of ESL. This certification is attained by teachers who are not sure about their goals after completing ESL. Most teachers pursue this certification so that they can work either overseas or in countries that speak English as their native language.

TESOL and TEFL degrees are sometimes used interchangeably since you may require either degree to qualify as an ESL instructor in the United States. This certification takes less time compares to other degrees. The ESL program takes four years, while this certification only takes 120 hours.

TESOL coursework entails aspects such as ESL methods, advocacy, assessment, and English language origin. After graduating, students are expected to show a strong understanding of linguistics, methodology, and grammar.

You can obtain a TESOL certificate by signing up for a course usually offered online or in-person class attendance. Non-native English speakers are required first to obtain a Common European Framework of Reference (CEPR) level two certification. However, different institutions offering TESOL degrees have different guidelines for registration and English entry-level. Most institutions do not have a set requirement other than the English proficiency tests.

A TESOL degree is also relatively cheap to obtain compared to other degrees such as ESOL and ESL. Research indicates that the average cost of obtaining an ESL degree in the United States is about $30,000 for learners residing in the school and $15,000 for those day scholars. The cost of a TESOL degree is dependent on whether you will take the course in person or online. A typical online TESOL course will cost you about $450 and $ 1000 to $2000 for an in-person learning mode.

Understanding the difference between these degrees allows you to make a good decision when choosing a career. Ensure that you enroll in a government-approved learning institution when choosing your preferred learning institution. Ensure that you enquire about the cost before enrolling since the cost may differ from one state to another.

Author: Sean Campbell