Salaries for Teaching English As a Second Language


Teaching English as a second language is a career path for teachers who may not want to work in a traditional classroom setting. ESL teachers are needed for both children and adults. Education requirements may vary but are usually similar to that of a classroom teacher and necessitate a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

Full-Time Salary

  • According to information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median hourly wages of adult literacy teachers were $22.26 as of May 2008. The middle 50 percent ranged from $16.65 to $29.78 in salary. Ten percent received less than $12.48, while 10 percent were paid more than $38.95. Full-time teachers are usually salaried employees and receive benefits, such as health insurance or paid time off, from the school or government agency.

Part-Time Salary

  • Part-time teachers are generally paid hourly and do not have benefits. However, according to information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no difference in salary between full- and part-time teachers. A part-time ESL teacher can expect to earn a median salary of about $22.00 an hour.


  • For ESL teachers who are state certified, there are often sign-on bonuses or additional hourly pay stipends. This amount varies based on a teacher's educational background and overall experience.

Working Abroad

  • If you wish to teach overseas, the job potential is extensive. Because English is the international academic language and most commonly used language on the Internet, many people want to learn it. According to the website JobMonkey, only 5 percent of the world's 6.6 billion people are native English speakers.

    As of October 2008, one billion people were learning English as a second language. Some companies will pay travel and housing expenses for ESL teachers. One sample job offer at the website ESL Job Find posted a salary of $1,800 per month for an ESL teacher in Cambodia.

    Working overseas is an opportunity for teachers, especially recent college graduates who may not have other obligations, to travel and gain a new perspective of the world.

Job Growth

  • According to information obtained from JobMonkey, 10 million immigrants have come to the United States since 2000. As of October 2008, one in four people in California is learning English. Bilingual/ESL teaching positions can be challenging to fill, according to 27 percent of all schools.

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  • Photo Credit female student image by Petro Feketa from
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