Careers in TESOL
Updated March 2016
Please note VicTESOL does not endorse any TESOL teacher training courses. The information below is current at the time of writing to the best of our knowledge, and VicTESOL advises all prospective teachers to obtain current and accurate information from the sector or employer where they wish to teach.
Do you want to teach ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) / EAL (English as an Additional Language)?
VicTESOL receives many enquiries from people who are thinking of becoming EAL teachers. They want to know what employment opportunities there are and what TESOL training courses they should undertake. Opportunities will vary depending on:
- Where you want to teach (public/private sector, geographical location)
- What level you want to teach (pre-K-12, adult, or higher education)
- Your qualifications and experience
The following information is provided by VicTESOL for informational purposes only and relates mainly to employment in Victoria. VicTESOL does not claim that this information is comprehensive or complete, and recommends that individuals carry out their own research to determine the most accurate and up to date information. To see what type of education and certification various jobs require, we recommend looking at job advertisements.
If you are intending to work overseas as an EFL or EAL teacher, in addition to general academic requirements, many countries have government or visa regulations with which EAL/EFL teachers must comply. In the European Union (EU), for example, most EAL/EFL jobs require candidates to have EU passports.
It is important to note that there is no accrediting body with the role of granting worldwide official recognition to any TESOL teaching certificate or diploma.
Considerations before choosing a TESOL course
- Where do you want to teach? In Australia or overseas?
- Who do you want to teach? Young people (primary, secondary, tertiary)? Adults? Migrants and refugees? International students?
- Do you want to teach in a government school, an independent school, an English Language School (Intensive English Centre), a private college for international students, at TAFE, in a Neighbourhood House, university or elsewhere?
- How well regarded and recognised is the course and institution in Australia and/or overseas?
How can I get a job in a government school?
Teaching in government schools in Victoria requires registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT). Contact VIT directly.
To teach EAL a teaching qualification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speaker of Other Languages) may be required.
For more information on school EAL in Victoria visit the Department of Education & Training (DET) website and/or inquire at a tertiary institution offering TESOL education.
EAL teacher qualifications requirements in the Adult Sector
The following is a summary of some of the qualifications and experience requirements for different programs and settings for adult EAL (e.g. TAFE, AMES, Adult Community).
Please note that these requirements can change at any time. It is best to check with the organisation you wish to apply to work in before you make decision about what courses of study to take. You may also need advice on whether your experience and qualifications are considered ‘equivalent’ to the requirements.
Skills for Education and Employment (SEE)
The commonwealth funded SEE programme (formerly known as Language Literacy and Numeracy Program – LLNP) is provided in a number of settings including TAFE, and community providers. The requirements for this program 2013-2016 are:
As a minimum, TESOL teachers must have:
- An undergraduate degree of at least three years duration
- A Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or equivalent
- A recognised specialist TESOL qualification which includes a practicum
AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program)
Provided by AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services), some TAFE and community providers.
Qualification requirements are similar to those for the SEE program above. For up to date information visit the NEAS website.
EAL courses in TAFE and community providers (ACE)
EAL courses in TAFE and community providers (ACE) are usually the Victorian EAL Framework Certificates. (Some TAFEs and ACE providers use the Certificates in Spoken and Written English which have similar requirements). The requirements to teach these courses are that the teacher is a qualified TESOL teacher (see requirements for SEE and AMEP) and also has the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or equivalent.
ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) applies to students studying in Australia on student visas. ‘Intensive’ denotes full-time study comprising a minimum of 20 scheduled course contact hours per week of face-to-face classes of English language instruction.
A set of ELICOS Standards includes requirements for teachers of ELICOS programs. (Follow this link for the National standards for ELICOS providers and courses)
- A degree or diploma of at least three years full-time or equivalent (teaching or other)
- A suitable TESOL qualification or qualification that contains TESOL as a method
- Appropriate TESOL teaching experience or are formally mentored by a senior staff member with this experience
Where to gain TESOL teacher qualifications
Training to gain post graduate and pre-service TESOL teacher qualifications is available in a number of universities in Victoria.
Other TESOL training
Private organisations (and some universities) provide training in the CELTA.
What is CELTA?
CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is issued by the University of Cambridge ESOL, part of Cambridge Assessments, which is a department of the University of Cambridge. The certificate can be obtained after completing a 4 week full-time course or an equivalent period part time.
The CELTA is a practically oriented short course which is widely recognised overseas. It teaches important practical skills but is normally not sufficient on its own to gain a CELTA holder employment as an EAL teacher in Victoria. Some ELICOS colleges require this qualification. The CELTA is accepted as a component in some university TESOL certificate, diploma and masters courses. In Australia, the CELTA course is usually full fee-paying.
Further information on CELTA
Other TESOL qualifications
A number of nationally accredited VET qualifications exist for TESOL such as the Certificate IV in TESOL. These can be searched on the MySkills Website. Search for ‘TESOL’.
These courses require fees. Claims about the opportunities provided by gaining such qualifications need to be thoroughly researched, in relation to working both in Australia or internationally.
Finding work in TESOL
To gain an idea of job prospects in Victoria, look at job advertisements at sites such as My Career or Seek.
English Australia offers an employment service for those seeking or offering a job in ELICOS in Australia and abroad. You can also subscribe to a mailing list for direct notification of new positions as they become available at the English Australia website.
Find out more about working in an international context by clicking here.
EAL or ESL?
In 2012, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development notified schools of the change to EAL (English as an Additional Language). The Australian Curriculum also uses the term ‘English as an additional language or dialect (EAL or EAL/D)’ instead of the term ‘English as a second language (ESL)’.
In Margery Hertzberg’s book (2012) Teaching English language learners in mainstream classes she states:
“EAL/D (English as an Additional Language or dialect) is the term used in the Australian Curriculum, replacing the still commonly used term EAL (English as a Second Language). EAL/D is used because it acknowledges the students in our schools who may already speak (and possibly read and write) in two or more languages and/or dialects. EAL/D suggests an additive function and implicitly validates that the person does have an existing language(s) and/or dialect(s). The word additional acknowledges this wealth of linguistic ability as an asset.”