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English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary

ESL Teachers in the United States pull down an average of $40K annually. Earnings sit near $27K on the lower side but can approach $71K per year on the higher side. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. More than half of ESL Teachers (68 percent) survey participants are women. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — a little less than one-half lack coverage. On the flip side, a little more than half have medical insurance and about one in three receive dental plans. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$25,476 - $60,526
(Median)
$25K
$40K
$61K
MEDIAN: $39,987
10%
50%
90%

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$13.62 - $40.52
(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
$25,476 - $60,526  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $3,088  
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).
)
$26,915 - $70,527  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 388
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
$13.62 - $40.52  
   
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 - $3,088  
   
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).
)
$26,915 - $70,527  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 301

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United States (change)


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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. A lot of ESL Teachers advance their careers by becoming Elementary School Teachers and Non-Profit Organization Program Coordinators. However, those positions offer $1K less and $5K less per year on average.

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

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ESL Teachers who responded to the survey indicated only a few skills that they use on the job. English Language and Spanish Language are considered valuable skills and can increase employee pay. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Spanish Language. Many workers who know English Language also know 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.


For ESL Teachers, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. In this position, someone who has worked for fewer than five years can expect a median salary of $38K. The median for people with five to 10 years of experience is only a little bit higher at $42K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $46K. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; an ESL Teacher with more than 20 years of experience can earn $51K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


For ESL Teachers, busy Houston offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 34 percent above the national average. ESL Teachers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Antonio (+19 percent), New York (+17 percent), Irvine (+6 percent), and Seattle (+2 percent). The lowest-paying market is Dallas, which sits 15 percent below the national average. Workers in Washington and Austin earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (8 percent less and 7 percent less, 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.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

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 2%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 103 votes.

Gender

Female
68 %
Male
32 %

Years of Experience

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

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 53% dental benefits Dental: 33%
vision benefits Vision: 22% employee benefits None: 46%
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