In Louisiana, certified teachers can obtain an endorsement to teach ESL. Here are the steps you need to take to become an ESL teacher in Louisiana:
|Obtain Your Louisiana Teacher’s License|
|Add Your ESL Endorsement|
|Meet Louisiana’s Requirements for Renewing Your License|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Louisiana had 12,348 public school students participating in English language learner programs during the 2011-12 school year. This represented a six percent increase from the year before and an increase of 44% over 2007-08 totals.
While most of these students speak Spanish as their primary language, there are 80 different languages commonly spoken throughout Louisiana. With the location of a refugee resettlement site in East Baton Rouge Parish, the state is seeing an influx of students speaking such languages as Afghan and Somali.
It takes teachers with special training to educate students from a diversity of linguistic backgrounds, putting English as a second language (ESL) teachers in high demand in Louisiana. In addition to the public school jobs that are available throughout the state, Baton Rouge has an international school whose job description for a math or physics/chemistry teacher specifies ESL experience.
ESL teachers also find employment at businesses in the US and throughout the world. These teachers are in demand at many schools in foreign countries. This expertise is also a plus for government workers both in the U.S. and abroad.
Step 1. Obtain Your Louisiana Teacher’s License
You will need a bachelor’s degree to become a teacher in Louisiana. If you already have one and want to become a teacher, you can go through one of three alternative routes.
While you can teach with the Practitioner Licenses provided, you will need to upgrade to a Level 1 or higher license before you can become an ESL teacher.
The traditional method to become a teacher in Louisiana is to complete an approved teacher preparation program and seek Level 1 certification. Traditional teacher preparation programs offer four-year B.A. or B.S. degrees. You will take courses in education in addition to those in your area of certification.
You will have to meet certain standards to be admitted into a teacher preparation program. Unless you have a composite ACT score of 22 or an SAT combined math and verbal score of 1030, you will generally have to take the Praxis Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) to gain admission into such programs.
While your choice of content area will not limit your ability to become an ESL teacher, you may want to take additional coursework outside of your field if you choose a field other than English. Linguistics and other types of English courses will help you when you pursue your ESL endorsement. You may also want to take a foreign language such as Spanish to help you communicate with your students.
Part of your program will involve getting 180 hours of field experience and spending a semester either teaching or as an intern in a school. Once you have completed this requirement, you will need to take the following steps to get the Level 1 certification, which is the minimum required for an ESL endorsement:
- Maintain a GPA of at least 2.5
- Pass the Praxis II exam for your content area
- Pass the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Praxis exam
- Obtain a recommendation from your school
Step 2. Add Your ESL Endorsement
Any teacher with the following certification can get an ESL endorsement:
- Type A, B, C (issued prior to July 1. 2002)
- Level 1, 2, 3 (issued beginning July 1, 2002 onward)
You will have to go back to school to get your ESL endorsement, and it is only valid in your certified teaching area. The Louisiana Department of Education has specific requirements for your coursework. You must take 12 semester hours of the following 3 credit courses:
- Curriculum design for the multicultural classroom
- Introduction to language and culture
- Structure of the English language
- Methods of teaching ESL
The ESL methods course is particularly critical to mastering this type of teaching, since it trains you to teach ESL students regardless of their origin or level.
Add-On ESL Endorsement
You have several options to take the courses for your ESL endorsement in Louisiana. Five universities offer the ESL add-on endorsement as a non-degree undergraduate program. One university offers an ESL add-on at the graduate level.
ESL Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
If you take your twelve required hours and an additional upper level elective, you can get an ESL post-baccalaureate certificate added to your transcript at one Louisiana university.
ESL Master’s Degrees
There are master’s programs designed for aspiring teachers in Louisiana and those who already have state licensure.
M.A. in English with a concentration in TESOL – This program can provide you with teacher certification. Its ESL coursework involves three electives along with these five required courses:
- Applied phonetics and pronunciation teaching
- Language, culture, and society
- Principles of linguistics
- Second language acquisition
- Syntax, morphology, and semantics for ESOL teachers
If you want to get Louisiana state teacher certification, you must also take this course:
- Professional preparation for ESOL teachers
Then, you will either focus on a teaching practicum or a master’s thesis. The TESOL faculty will supervise your research and writing if you choose to prepare a thesis. If you choose the 33-hour non-thesis option, you will go through the following steps:
- Take an additional elective course
- Teach ESL for a semester as part of a 6 hour practicum
- Reflect on your experiences in a paper or project
M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction Concentration in ESL – If you are a certified teacher, you can enroll in this 36-hour program. You will take 15 hours of coursework in curriculum and instruction along with six in education leadership. You will also take the following 15 hours of ESL courses:
- Curriculum design for multicultural environments
- ESL history and professionalism
- History of the English language
- Second language acquisition
- Structure of the English language
Part of your coursework includes a practicum. In addition to your ESL endorsement, you will earn one for Teacher Leader after you complete this program.
Step 3. Meet Louisiana’s Requirements for Renewing Your License
If you have a Level 1 certificate, you need to plan on upgrading it to continue teaching beyond three years. Then, you will need to pass the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP) to advance to a Level 2 certificate.
A Level 2 certificate is good for five years. You must complete 150 Continuing Learning Units (CLUs) of professional development, which has been approved by your district to renew this type of license.
If you have a master’s degree and Level 1 or 2 certification, you can advance to Level 3 certification provided you meet the following requirements:
- Five years of teaching in your certification area
- Pass the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP)
A Level 3 certificate is also good for five years. You need to meet the same standards as the Level 2 certificate to be able to renew it.
Louisiana ESL Endorsement Salary Bonus Incentives
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Louisiana’s immigrant population was 173,778 in 2011. Many Latinos came to Louisiana to help with rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. According to the Council of the Americas, the number of Latino workers in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes increased from 60,000 to 150,000 between 2006 and 2008.
Many of the children of these workers are not proficient in English and require the assistance of ESL teachers to master the language. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1.9% of Louisiana’s public school students participated in programs for English Language Learners (ELL) during the 2011-12 school year. There were 12,348 such students that year.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, 52.9% off the ELL students spoke Spanish, while 17.5% spoke French. The third and fourth most common languages were Vietnamese and Chinese.
2013 salary data for Louisiana K-12 teachers is available from the Louisiana Workforce Commission:
ESL teacher salariess in Louisiana are likely to be on the higher end of the scale. The Louisiana Department of Education requires that ESL teachers in the state obtain an add-on endorsement to their certification(s). There are frequently bonus incentives for the additional education required to get an endorsement. Also, many ESL teachers get TESOL master’s degrees and thus earn a higher salary.
In addition to employment as K-12 teachers, ESL teachers find jobs working with adults. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides 2013 salary information for Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers. ESL teachers are included in this category, and the salaries in various regions of Louisiana are shown below: