What does an ESL Instructor do?

English as a second language (ESL) teachers give English language lessons to non-native speakers, often working in schools and other educational settings and teaching skills to children or adults. They prepare course materials and design lessons that cover all aspects of the English language, both written and verbal, and keep track of all student progress. They customize individualized plans for students with special requirements and create a positive classroom environment while encouraging them to reach their learning goals.

ESL teachers organize coursework and learning materials, assess student progress, write reports, and follow relevant teaching policies. They work with their students to improve their vocabulary, reading, comprehension, and writing and build their confidence in navigating the language. They also foster spontaneous and intentional conversations with students to help them understand conversational speech. ESL teachers need a bachelor's degree in teaching English as a second language or certification.

Work/Life Balance
3.7 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.1 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

ESL Instructor Salaries

Average Base Pay

$47,307 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Median: $47K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

ESL Instructor Career Path

Learn how to become an ESL Instructor, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

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ESL Instructor Insights

Read what ESL Instructor professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
ESL Teacher
Nov 2, 2020

“Overall this is a great place to work and I look forward to my future teaching at VIPKID!”

Aston Educational GroupAston Educational Group
ESL Teacher Trainer
Aug 26, 2020

“I was provided with teaching hours during coronavirus lockdown and my salary payments remained unchanged.”

Online ESL Teacher
Mar 16, 2021

“Great pay for part time and I get to stay home which is a raise in and of itself.”

Boston International AcademyBoston International Academy
ESL Teacher
Jan 13, 2021

“The pay isn't great for how hard you have to work and there is little room for raises.”

Online ESL Teacher
Jul 3, 2020

“Their tools are great and I can say it's a good training background for you in the world of online teaching.”

Online ESL Teacher
Jan 11, 2021

“I think the pay is great for what I do! (Especially since I get to teach in sweatpants)”

Online ESL Teacher
Nov 23, 2020

“Maybe the pay is good for me (I think it depends on your interview)”

English Life
ESL Teacher
Oct 15, 2019

“The pay was fairly good for Peruvian standards but was almost untenable for foreigners in Lima.”

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ESL Instructor Interviews

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