English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Salary

Pay for ESL Teachers in the United States sits in the ballpark of $40K annually. Compensation ranges between $27K and $72K per year. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Although just over two-fifths lack health benefits of any kind, the greater part do enjoy medical insurance, and nearly one-third get dental coverage, too. The majority of ESL Teachers claim high levels of job satisfaction. This overview is based on answers to 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 may enjoy a small increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder to roles like Editor, which pays $45K on average annually. As ESL Teachers progress in their field, many go on to become High School Teachers. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $43K per year. Another common career choice for ESL Teachers is to move into an Elementary School Teacher role. Typically, Elementary School Teachers get paid $40K.

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

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ESL Teachers report using a diverse set of skills on the job. Fortunate workers who know Japanese Language can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 22 percent above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include French Language, Teaching, and Spanish Language. English Language and Spanish Language are correlating skills — those who know the former usually know the latter.

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 many ESL Teachers, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. During the first five years of their careers, ESL Teachers see a median income of $38K. Survey respondents with five to 10 years of experience report an only modestly higher median of $41K. After working for 10 to 20 years, ESL Teachers make a median salary of $46K. Survey participants who have spent more than 20 years on the job report a predictably higher median income of $53K, demonstrating that compensation is roughly commensurate with experience in the end.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,840

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

Home to some of the best pay for ESL Teachers, Houston offers exceptional salaries, 27 percent above 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). Falling short of the national average by 12 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Dallas. Workers in Honolulu and Denver earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (12 percent less and 10 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 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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