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English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary (United States)

Pay for ESL Teachers in the United States sits in the ballpark of $40K per year. Lower pay rates hover around $27K, and the higher rates verge on $74K per year. Geographic location and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, more than two-fifths are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by just over a half and dental insurance is reported by more than a third. ESL Teachers are largely women, dominating the profession at 68 percent. For the most part, ESL Teachers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview are derived from responses to the PayScale salary survey.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$25,088 - $62,007
(Median)
25K
34K
40K
50K
62K
MEDIAN: $40,389
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$13.74 - $43.02
(Median)
14
29
43
MEDIAN: $20
10%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25K$50K$75K
Salary
$25,088 - $62,007  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,076  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$27,492 - $74,369  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 271
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$15$30$45
Hourly Rate
$13.74 - $43.02  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $36.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$30K$60K$90K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,076  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$27,492 - $74,369  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 225
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Job Description for English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher

An ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher’s primary function is to teach English to students who are not native speakers. They help students to understand common customs and expectations within American culture In addition, depending on a student's English-language skills and the teacher's institution, the ESL teacher’s job may extend into helping students understand their coursework in other subjects (such as math and science) or even teaching those subjects directly.
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English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Tasks
  • Develop curriculums to suit both individuals who need overall education or education in specific skills.
  • Utilize rote pronunciation, quizzes, textbooks, videos, and multimedia education to solidify skills.
  • Teach individuals who are not native English speakers to speak, read, write, and comprehend English.

Common Career Paths for English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher

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ESL Teachers who go on to become High School Teachers may see somewhat stagnant compensation. Typically, a High School Teacher, an upper-level role, pays $43K. A lot of ESL Teachers advance their careers by becoming Elementary School Teachers and Non-Profit Organization Program Coordinators. However, those positions offer $2K less and $6K less per year on average.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Teacher Job Listings

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ESL Teachers typically list a handful of skills they use on the job. English Language and Spanish Language are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Spanish Language. Aptitude in English Language tends to also indicate an understanding of Spanish Language.

Pay by Experience Level for English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
ESL Teachers with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $39K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $42K. ESL Teachers see a median salary of $48K after reaching one to two decades on the job. ESL Teachers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $51K. More than half of respondents report having between one and nine years of experience in this field. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up just under one in five of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise fewer than one in twenty, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining close to one-tenth.

Pay Difference By Location

San Antonio
up arrow 21%
New York
up arrow 17%
Los Angeles
up arrow 10%
National Average
$41,000
Boston
up arrow 1%
San Diego
up arrow 2%
San Francisco
up arrow 2%
Seattle
up arrow 5%
Washington
up arrow 8%
Denver
up arrow 15%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
ESL Teachers will find that San Antonio offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 21 percent. ESL Teachers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+17 percent) and Los Angeles (+10 percent). Falling short of the national average by 15 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Denver. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Washington and Seattle (8 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively).

English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Reviews

What is it like working as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher?
English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher in Fort Worth:
"Work Conditions."
Pros: The ability to teach, encourage and educate adults in a supportive environment.
Cons: The lack of input and influence over course curriculum, choice of classes taught and class levels, changes regarding class structure such as how often and length of time classes meet.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher in Medfield:
Cons: I work at a private ESL school. I should have asked to see the curriculum before taking the job. If I had done that, I would have known that the curriculum was a very rough outline with no lesson plans. I should have asked to see the teacher resource room. Turns out: it's a stack of movies. I should have gotten more information about the exams. I am being paid one hour per class for producing and grading the exams. That means a lot of mandatory unpaid hours. There are cameras in every classroom. It is very big brother. There is a lot of reporting and very little guidance. The owners just want to see a profit: I've never met them.

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Experience Affects English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 24%
Experienced
up arrow 16%
Mid-Career
up arrow 1%
National Average
$41,000

Skills That Affect English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salaries

National Average
$41,000
English Language
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 104 votes.

Gender

Female
68%
female alumni
 
Male
32%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
43%
5-9 years
23%
10-19 years
19%
20 years or more
11%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 55% dental benefits Dental: 35%
vision benefits Vision: 24% employee benefits None: 45%