A TESOL Master’s Degree Offers More Than Certification

by Tobin Perry

No language in the world is as prominent as English. With 1.35 billion speaking it as a native or second language worldwide, it’s the most commonly spoken language in the world. Furthermore, English is the official language in 67 countries. As a result, it remains the global lingua franca in nearly every sphere of life, from popular culture to business to science to technology.

It’s no wonder the demand for English teachers remains high and constant around the world. With a TESOL master’s degree (teaching English to speakers of other languages), you can be well positioned to secure the best jobs within the industry and get the most value out of your degree.

The Value of a TESOL Master’s Degree

Many prospective English teachers look to certification programs to get their careers underway quickly. Mary Shepard Wong, PhD, director of field-based TESOL programs at Azusa Pacific University, says that prospective English teachers should consider aiming higher toward a TESOL master’s degree.

“The content and quality of a certificate program can vary widely, depending on where you get your certificate, because there are few, if any, standards to which most certificate issuers are held,” Wong said. “A graduate degree from an accredited university implies a standard of rigor and a level of accomplishment to master the material.”

While a certification program may help you get a job teaching in a private language school, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement to teach at the college level in most places. This influences compensation, too. When you obtain a TESOL master’s degree, you’re getting a terminal degree. Some employers will give candidates with this degree doctoral-level compensation.

A master’s degree in TESOL may also open the door to other applications and career paths, such as publishing, where you can develop materials for English language instruction. You might serve as an editor for an international company needing content in proper English. APU’s more than 500 graduates from TESOL programs have taught in diverse contexts across the United States and around the globe.

What APU’s TESOL Master’s Program Includes

Part of APU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the TESOL program includes courses in language acquisition theory, English grammar and pronunciation, intercultural studies, language teaching methods, and more. Students also benefit from faculty with doctoral-level training and practical experience teaching English in diverse settings around the world.

All of APU’s courses also incorporate a Christ-centered approach, which helps students reflect theologically on what they’re learning and how it can nurture their spiritual and academic development, as well as how they carry out their faith in their their careers.

What Makes the APU Program Unique

At APU, you don’t need to choose between a certification and a master’s degree, as the latter builds on the former, offering the flexibility to adjust along the way. In fact, APU offers two certification courses—the 6-unit Certificate in TEFL and 18-unit Certificate in TESOL—to build a master’s in TESOL upon.

“The courses for the certificate are a selection from the master’s program, and they can even be applied toward a master’s degree if you decide to start at the certificate level and go on to the graduate degree,” said Richard Robison, PhD, director of on-campus TESOL programs at APU.

Flexibility is also key to how you pursue your certificate or degree. You can take part in APU’s 33-unit TESOL master’s degree program on campus, online, or even field-based while teaching abroad. Whichever medium you choose, the small class sizes provide APU students a level of personal attention few other programs can match.

Want to learn more about APU’s TESOL degree and certification programs? Visit the program’s website to start your journey.