English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary

ESL Teachers in the United States take home an average $40K annually. Compensation ranges between $27K and $71K per year. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — just over two-fifths lack coverage. On the flip side, a little over a half have medical insurance and nearly one-third receive dental plans. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. Female ESL Teachers survey participants are more prevalent than men — 69 percent of professionals. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$24,852 - $61,414
(Median)
$25K
$40K
$61K
MEDIAN: $39,775
10%
50%
90%

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$13.82 - $40.55
(Median)
$14
$20
$41
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
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$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$24,852 - $61,414  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,030  
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).
)
$26,602 - $70,625  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 431
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$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$13.82 - $40.55  
   
Overtime
$0.00 - $35.71  
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$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,030  
   
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).
)
$26,602 - $70,625  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 320
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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' salary tends to stay somewhat level for those who assume higher-end positions like High School Teacher. Median pay for High School Teachers is $43K. ESL Teachers most frequently advance into Elementary School Teacher and Non-Profit Organization Program Coordinator roles even though the median salaries are $1K lower and $5K lower, respectively.

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

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Survey takers who work as ESL Teachers typically report just a few professional skills. Those who have experience with English Language, French Language, and Spanish Language can expect to be compensated well for these skills. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Spanish Language and French 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.


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Survey participants with less than five years' experience report a median income of $38K, and earnings aren't much higher for respondents who have five to 10 years under their belts; respondents in the latter group report a median of just $41K. ESL Teachers who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $46K. As ESL Teachers reach more than two decades on the job, compensation remains commensurate with experience; the average pay in this group is $51K.

Pay Difference by Location


Houston offers some of the highest pay in the country for ESL Teachers, 27 percent above the national average. ESL Teachers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Antonio (+20 percent), New York (+16 percent), Irvine (+6 percent), and Chicago (+3 percent). In Dallas, salaries are 13 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Below-median salaries also turn up in Washington and San Diego (9 percent lower and 3 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 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 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 26%

Experienced
up arrow 13%


National Average
$41,000


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

National Average
$41,000

English Language
up arrow 1%

French Language
up arrow 7%


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 93 votes.

Gender

Female
69 %
Male
31 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
42%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 55% dental benefits Dental: 33%
vision benefits Vision: 22% employee benefits None: 44%
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