English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary

An average ESL Teacher in the United States can expect to take home roughly $40K annually. The pay spectrum stretches from $27K to $72K per year. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most ESL Teachers. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — just over two-fifths lack coverage. On the flip side, a majority have medical insurance and approximately one in three receive dental plans. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$24,853 - $63,025
(Median)
$25K
$40K
$63K
MEDIAN: $39,956
10%
50%
90%

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$13.96 - $40.62
(Median)
$14
$20
$41
MEDIAN: $20
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$24,853 - $63,025  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,898  
Profit Sharing
$700  
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).
)
$26,621 - $71,732  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 561
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$13.96 - $40.62  
   
Hourly Tips
$4.50  
Overtime
$0.30 - $36.01  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,898  
   
Profit Sharing
$700  
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).
)
$26,621 - $71,732  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 385
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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 become Editors may see a small rise in pay. On average, Editors earn $45K per year. The most common promotion for ESL Teachers is High School Teacher, a position that typically pays $43K annually. Another standard transition for ESL Teachers seeking advancement is to assume an Elementary School Teacher role, where pay is often $40K.

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

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ESL Teachers report using a pretty varied skill set on the job. Fortunate workers who know Japanese Language can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 22 percent above average. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include French Language, Teaching, and Spanish Language. Those with knowledge of English Language tend to be skilled in Spanish Language as well.

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.


For ESL Teachers, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. ESL Teachers in the early stages of their careers take home approximately $38K on average. The average for people in the five-to-10 year group is only a little larger at $41K. ESL Teachers bring in $46K after working for 10 to 20 years. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $53K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,840

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Houston is home to an above-average pay rate for ESL Teachers, 27 percent higher than the national average. ESL Teachers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Antonio (+19 percent), New York (+13 percent), Seattle (+6 percent), and San Francisco (+3 percent). Dallas is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 12 percent. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Honolulu (12 percent lower) and Denver (10 percent lower).

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 Louisville:
"Rewarding."
Pros: Working with a diverse group of students allows me to learn something new each day. The job allows for flexibility and creativity within the curriculum.
Cons: The job is not full time and offers little to no chance of being full time in the future.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher in Seoul:
"Hard Work."
Pros: Kids can be sweet. Teaching is often rewarding. Sometimes it can be fun. Sometimes makes you feel young. Housing paid for.
Cons: Long hours. Exhausting. Frustrating. A lot of extra work. Often feel unappreciated. Bad kids can drive you crazy. Feels like a dead-end job. Salary is low. Crappy apartment.

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 29%



National Average
$41,000


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

Japanese Language
up arrow 22%

English Language
0%

National Average
$41,000


Teaching
up arrow 8%

French Language
up arrow 13%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 90 votes.

Gender

Female
69 %
Male
31 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
39%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
21%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 56%
dental benefits
Dental: 34%
medical benefits
Vision: 24%
dental benefits
None: 44%
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