Missouri’s English Language Learner (ELL) population is on the move and trending upward, creating exceptional opportunities for the state’s ESL teachers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), ELLs comprised about 4 percent of the total PreK-12 student population, or 34,353 students. ELLs in Missouri have steadily grown in recent years and more than tripled over the last two decades.
As a result, the demand for ESL teachers here has also grown. If you want to become part of the exciting ESL teaching field, you’ll need to make sure an ESL endorsement is part of your teaching certificate.
These steps will show you exactly how to earn TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification and become an ESL teacher in Missouri:
Step 1. Earn a Degree in ELL and Qualify to Become an ESL Teacher in Missouri
Missouri offers an English Language Learner (ELL) educator’s license, so if you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree and want to learn how to become an ELL teacher, you’ll first complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in TESOL that’s part of a Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) approved educator preparation program.
You can choose a program like Missouri Southern State University’s BS in Education, TESOL to satisfy the coursework and practical experiences you’ll need for your initial ESL certification. You may also choose an elementary education or secondary education (in a single subject like language arts or English) major and add a TESOL minor, track, or concentration.
If you choose this route, you’ll need to complete at least 21 semester hours of TESOL courses to obtain an ELL endorsement (K-12) alongside your elementary or secondary education certification:
- ESOL practicum
- Language and culture or sociolinguistics
- Linguistics and English linguistics
- Material for teaching English to speakers of other languages and the assessment of speakers of other languages
- Methods of teaching second language students
- Second language acquisition
Already have a teaching certificate in Missouri and want to add an ELL Endorsement?
If you are already a licensed teacher and want to add an ELL endorsement to your teaching certificate, you have a number of options through the many ESOL master’s programs that are available in the state.
If you are a licensed teacher with a bachelor’s degree, you can get certified to teach K-12 ELL by earning a master’s in ESL:
- Master’s Degree in Teaching ELL – This program involves taking 32 hours of coursework. If you are a new teacher with one or two years of teaching experience, you have to take the GRE to be accepted into this program. You have to get a score of 700 between the combined quantitative and verbal sections of the exam.
- M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) – If you are a licensed teacher in content area and want to expand your teaching prowess, this program is designed for you. You can get a K-12 English Language Learner (ELL) Education Emphasis as part of this degree.
- Master of Applied Science in Assessment—TESOL Option – You will take 21 hours of courses in addition to getting certified in another area. In addition to learning strategies to help ELL, you will master the techniques of student assessment. You can get this degree with or without Missouri teaching certification.
You can also earn an add-on certificate in ELL if you’re looking for a more streamlined path to earning an ELL endorsement.
Already have a bachelor’s degree in another field?
Calling all career changers: Your bachelor’s degree in another field may qualify you for a master’s degree leading to an initial teaching license. Many schools that offer bachelor’s level teaching certificate programs also offer master’s options that include all of the coursework and practical experiences necessary to become certified as a Missouri teacher.
Step 2. Pass Your MoGEA Exam and Apply for Your Missouri Teacher’s Certificate
Before you can apply for your teaching license, you’ll need to take and pass the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA), which is designed to assess your expertise in a range of areas:
- English language arts
- Social science
After you pass your exam, your next step to apply online for your Initial Professional Teaching Certificate. You’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- A recommendation from your institution that you are qualified to teach
- A background check
- Official transcripts of all of your coursework
- A GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
Step 3. Consider Earning a Master’s as Part of Professional Development to Maintain Your Teaching Certificate
You will need to renew your Initial Professional Teaching Certificate after you have been teaching for four years. In addition to proving that you have been mentored, you will need to provide proof of the completion of at least 30 professional development contact hours to be able to your renew your license.
Thereafter, you’ll need to complete 15 professional development contact hours annually to maintain your Professional Teaching Certificate.
One way to obtain this college credit is by enrolling in an ESL master’s program. This will also help you to advance your career. Your options include taking advanced courses in education. You can also add take courses in an additional content area to increase your ability to teach LEP students in content areas.
Step 4. Learn More About ESL Teacher Salary Expectations for Jobs in Missouri
Keeping abreast of professional developments can help your ESL teaching strategies and will help you when renewing your license. One way to do this is to join MIDTESOL—the Mid-America Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the following salaries for educators in Missouri:
Early Career (25th percentile): $37,980
Experienced (90th percentile): $81,810
Early Career (25th percentile): $39,870
Experienced (90th percentile): $82,330
Early Career (25th percentile): $37,920
Experienced (90th percentile): $67,560
BLS stats also reveal what ESL teachers are earning in Missouri in some of its largest metro areas, as of May 2020:
Gape Girardeau (Elementary School)
Early Career (25th percentile): $37,800
Experienced (90th percentile): $59,870
Kansas City (Middle School)
Early Career (25th percentile): $43,360
Experienced (90th percentile): $90,860
St. Louis (High School)
Early Career (25th percentile): $41,010
Experienced (90th percentile): $83,300
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and secondary school teachers represent state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.
Student population data from the National Center for Education Statistics represents English language learners (ELL) enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in the fall of 2018.