Is an M.A. in TESOL for Me? Four Reasons it Could Be

By Ellie Walburg on August 28, 2019

Do you remember what it was like to learn your ABCs or sound out words when beginning to read your favorite books out loud? You most likely had a teacher, parent or friend who guided you with patience and encouragement as you grasped the language. He or she didn't laugh when you mispronounced a vowel or couldn't come up with the right word to say. And as a result, you could learn, grow and be confident.

Whether you're a teacher with experience in a K-12 classroom, an educator in the mission field, walking alongside refugees or called wherever God leads you, your work matters. If you're looking to take your next step in being equipped to meet today's need for English language learning, a graduate program in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) may be just the next step you need.

A Master of Arts in TESOL is a practical degree program that opens up opportunities for you to chase where you want to go. If you're wondering if it's the right fit for you, here are four reasons it could be your next move.

1. Be Equipped for a Diverse World

Walk through any crowded big city and you're bound to hear several languages other than English.

Our world is becoming much more linguistically diverse.

Data from the 2017 U.S. Census shows that 20% of residents speak a language other than English in their home. In the top five biggest cities, that percentage raises to about 50% of residents speak a different language at home. Spanish remains the most commonly spoken language other than English.

Through ESL, educators can help meet a need in this increasingly diverse world. The data also notes that 39% of those who speak a foreign language at home are considered to be Limited English Proficient. By being equipped with strategies and methodologies in second language acquisition, you can help speakers preserve their native language while also be equipped for success in English. It's this respect for culture and encouragement to see students thrive that can elevate your role in making a difference in your community.

Is it for me? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I inspired to engage with an increasingly diverse culture?
  • Does a diverse culture motivate and inspire me to learn and serve my community?
  • Do I have a passion to meet students where they're at in equipping them with language skills?

2. Meet the Demand for ESL

Elementary education students drawing at a table with art supplies

From schools to community programs to the mission field, there's a demand for teachers equipped with training and experience in teaching English as a second language. With a graduate program, you'll be able to grow your marketability to pursue your goals in serving your students and learners.

The job market for ESL teachers is growing at rates higher than the average job field. Projected through 2030, jobs in the TESOL/ESL fields are expected to increase by 11 to 14%. Whether you're looking to stay local or move internationally, career prospects are favorable for TESOL.

Is it for me? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I inspired by a career field with positive job growth projections?
  • Do career opportunities such as ESL K-12 teacher, missions or curriculum development interest me?
  • Do I have the drive and patience to meet students where they're at in meeting their language needs?

3. Serve Locally and Internationally

With a career field that's in such high demand, you'll have the opportunity to live and serve both locally and internationally. Whether your cross-cultural setting is across the world or right in your own city, having experience in TESOL can equip you to serve well.

By interacting with students and learners, you have the potential to make a difference in their lives. Equipped with experience and skills in TESOL, you can continue to empower others to thrive as they grow in language learning whether you're right in West Michigan or across the world.

Through courses such as Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition, you'll grow in your understanding of social and cultural contexts that play a major role in the process in which your students learn. Meet each student where they're at in gaining experience through TESOL methodology courses and best practices.

Your work makes a difference. Be equipped as you empower others by growing in your expertise and teaching tools with a graduate degree.

Is it for me? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I aspire to serve right in my local community?
  • Am I inspired to make an international move to follow the call on my life?
  • Do career opportunities such as ESL K-12 teacher, missions or curriculum development interest me?

4. Grow your Network of Educators

Game pieces that spell teach

As a teacher and educator, you've probably experienced the camaraderie celebrated between teachers. You discuss with others about classroom problems, seeking advice for how to effectively handle a tough situation. Teamwork isn't just recommended. It's required.

In an M.A. in TESOL program at Cornerstone University's Professional & Graduate Studies, you'll engage in practical curriculum alongside fellow educators and leaders chasing after similar goals. You'll grow your network of fellow educators who can inspire and encourage you in your journey of being better equipped to serve.

This classroom environment provided in a graduate program allows students to learn from others' experiences in and outside the classroom. In addition, this supportive learning community can help provide a unique level of insight that can enhance your learning and give you a fresh, new perspective on the value of language and the importance of your role as an educator.

As Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success."

Is it for me? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I interested in growing my network of educators and teachers?
  • Am I willing to learn in a collaborative, supportive learning environment?
  • Do I see the value in learning from others' experiences that can enhance my view of the world?

Learn and Teach with an M.A. in TESOL

As an educator, you have a unique opportunity to influence and make a difference in the lives of your students. With an M.A. in TESOL, you can grow in your knowledge and experience in equipping others with the English language so they can thrive.

At PGS, you can earn your master's in a convenient format—100% online or blended, taking just one class at a time.

Not ready for a full master's program? PGS also offers additional programs designed for current teachers, such as the ESL Endorsement and TESOL Graduate Diploma programs so you can continue to add value to your role. Learn more about taking your next step by connecting with our enrollment team!

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Category: Why College