How to Become a Language Teacher?

Are you thinking of becoming a Language Teacher or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Language Teacher, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Language Teacher job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Language Teacher

Did you know that Americans speak more than 350 different dialects? If you're fluent in a foreign language, why not share your knowledge with others? Start on your path to becoming a language teacher with these five steps:

Examine your personality traits.

Successful language teachers usually possess specific personal attributes that ensure they're able to provide a productive learning environment for students of all ages. These attributes include:

  • Patience and a calm demeanor.
  • Creativity to design engaging lesson plans.
  • Tech savvy
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • A strong desire to pass on knowledge.
  • Superb written and verbal communication skills.
  • Confidence and leadership skills to direct a group of people.

Get a bachelor's degree in education or a foreign language.

Most employers require language teachers to hold a university degree. Like other educators, people in this role are responsible for both planning and delivering lessons. Instructors must meet the minimum requirements to guide children enrolled at a K-12 school, including:

  • A bachelor's degree in education, a foreign language, linguistics, or a related field.
  • Native-level fluency in the language of interest.
  • An in-depth understanding of the culture associated with the language you plan to teach.
  • Excellent literacy and grammatical skills.

Study abroad in a country that speaks the language.

Before you upload your resume, immerse yourself in culture and conversation by studying abroad. The time you spend working or studying overseas through exchange programs and immersion courses will give you a leg up on the competition when interviewing for a language teacher position.


Take your state's certification exam.

The next step in the process is to take your state's required educator certification exam. The requirements for foreign language teachers vary by state. Check certification requirements before committing to a program.

Many states also offer alternative pathways to certification for individuals who already hold a bachelor's or master's degree in an unrelated field. This method of recruiting passionate teachers is perfect for those who lack practical experience in education. It's important to note that each program has different prerequisites and qualifications and can take varying lengths to complete. However, some common alternative preparation program routes include:

  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Department of Education's Transition to Teaching.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE).
  • Emergency District Certification.
  • Teaching equivalency and portfolio evaluations.

Continue your education by taking professional teaching courses.

There are many professional courses for language teachers to continue to develop their skills long after certification and employment. These opportunities for in-service development are more than merely a way to maintain your teaching certifications. These courses help you develop the highest-quality curriculum, bring effective and modern instruction methods to your classroom, and can even help boost your salary as a language teacher.

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Related Careers in the Education Industry

Interested in other Education careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Language Teacher skills. Discover some of the most common Language Teacher career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Substitute Teacher
0% skills overlap
12% transitioned to Substitute Teacher