Montana ESL Teacher Job Description and ESOL Certification Requirements

Hailing primarily from Canada and Mexico, Montana’s immigrant community is alive and well and positioned as an important segment of the state’s workforce. In fact, foreign-born residents comprise about 5 percent of the state’s total workforce.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) English Language Learners (ELLs) comprised about 2.4 percent of Montana’s total student population (PreK-12) in 2018. That year’s total of 3,457 students was an increase of about 270 students since 2017 and nearly 500 students since 2016.

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The Master of Arts in Teaching - TESOL online program from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to teach students of all ages in the U.S. and internationally, gives you the option to pursue a teaching credential, and can be completed in 12 months.
Campbellsville University Offers an ESL Endorsement (P-12), M.A. in Teaching - Secondary Education, M.A. in TESOL
Liberty University Offers Undergrad Cert and B.Ed. in English as a Second Language.
Greenville University Offers a Master of Arts in Education - Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
George Mason University Offers a Master of Education (MEd) in Curriculum and Instruction, Concentration in TESOL
Capella University offers online Master’s program in English Language Learning and Teaching designed to help educators advance their career in supporting diverse student populations. While it does not satisfy licensure requirements, the program can help you build the skills to use instructional strategies, emerging trends, and best practices to effectively teach English Language Learners to help students adapt to new cultural environments.
St. John's University Offers an Online Ph.D. in Literacy

Steady growth among Montana’s ELLs means a steady rise in demand for ESL teachers. If you want to take advantage of this unique opportunity to teach the state’s ELLs, you’ll need an ESL endorsement alongside your Montana 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 Montana:

#1 ButtonEarn a Degree in ESL and Qualify to Become an ESL Teacher in Montana
#2 ButtonApply for Your Montana Teaching License with ESL Endorsement
#3 ButtonConsider Earning a Master’s in ESL to Maintain and Upgrade Your Montana Teaching License
#4 ButtonLearn More About Salary Expectations for Jobs in Montana

 


 

Step 1. Earn a Degree in ESL and Qualify to Become an ESL Teacher in Montana

In Montana, ESL (K-12) is available as an endorsement on a Class 1 or Class 2 teaching license. So, learning how to become an ESL teacher in Montana involves majoring in elementary or secondary education (in a single subject area like language arts or English) and then choosing ESL as a minor, track, or concentration.

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For example, the University of Montana offers an ESL Teaching Certificate program that’s available to students already admitted to the Teacher Education program. Courses in this 16-credit program include:

  • Linguistics Analysis
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Syntax
  • Teaching English as a Language
  • ESL Practicum

If you’re new to teaching and haven’t yet earned a bachelor’s degree, you’ll complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree within an approved educator preparation program.

Already a certified teacher in Montana and want to add an ESL endorsement?

If you’re already a certified teacher in Montana, you can add an ESL endorsement by completing an undergraduate certificate, graduate certificate, or master’s in ESL.

For example, Montana State University Billings offers a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate that includes four courses leading ESL endorsement:

  • TESOL Language, Culture & Pedagogy
  • TESOL Second Language Acquisition
  • TESOL Methods, Assessment, & Evaluation
  • Seminar Workshop

A master’s degree is a popular choice for practicing educators looking to earn ESL certification because it positions them for more and varied professional opportunities, a bigger paycheck, and a Class 1: Professional Teaching License in Montana. (See Step 3.)

Already have a bachelor’s degree in another field?

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 Montana educator.

 


 

Step 2. Apply for Your Montana Teaching License with ESL Endorsement

Montana does not require testing for teacher licensure. You will be expected to pass some content examinations during your educator preparation program. However, if you wish to attain Highly Qualified Teacher status, you must pass certain examinations. ESL is not an area in which Highly Qualified Teacher status is offered in Montana.

You can apply online for your Montana teaching license through the Montana State Educator Information System (MSEIS).

You will likely be applying for a Class 2: Standard Teaching License, which is the license that is typically issued to first-time applicants in Montana who meet all requirements.

The second type of teaching license, Class 1: Professional Teaching License is issued to candidates who hold a Class 2 license, master’s degree, and three years of teaching experience.

Fingerprint/background check information – must be requested from your local law enforcement agency. Complete the fingerprint card they provide to you and mail the completed card, along with a check for $29.25 payable to the Montana Department of Justice, to Montana DOJ, P.O. Box 201403, Helena, MT 59620-1403. If you do not receive a response from the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI), your background check/fingerprints have cleared. If a problem is encountered, you will be notified of this as well.

 


 

Step 3. Consider Earning a Master’s in ESL to Maintain and Upgrade Your Montana Teaching License

Your Class 2 Standard Teaching License in Montana is valid for five years. You’ll apply for renewal through the MSEIS system.

You must complete at least 60 OPI renewal units from approved providers during each renewal period (1 college semester credit = 15 OPI renewal units).

College credits must be earned at regionally accredited institutions. You must send college transcripts verifying these credits directly to OPI.

Graduate Studies in ESL

Getting a master’s degree in ESL can help you to move up to a Class 1: Professional Teaching License in Montana. As mentioned before, this requires holding a Class 2: Standard Teaching License, a master’s degree, and three years of teaching experience.

Consider graduate degree options such as the following that are available in Montana:

  • Master of Arts in Linguistics: Concentration in English as a Second Language
  • Master in Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Master of Arts in TESOL
  • Master of Arts in Teaching – TESOL concentration

 


 

Step 4. Learn More About Salary Expectations for Jobs in Montana

As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the following salaries for educators in Montana:

 

Elementary School

Early Career (25th percentile): $38,980
Median: $48,940
Experienced (90th percentile): $73,940

 

Middle School

Early Career (25th percentile): $39,660
Median: $55,230
Experienced (90th percentile): $80,380

 

High School

Early Career (25th percentile): $39,800
Median: $50,720
Experienced (90th percentile): $78,590

 

BLS stats also reveal what ESL teachers are earning in Montana in some of its largest metro areas, as of May 2020:

 

Billings (Elementary School)

Early Career (25th percentile): $45,630
Median: $55,840
Experienced (90th percentile): $78,080

 

Missoula (Middle School)

Early Career (25th percentile): $41,500
Median: $52,120
Experienced (90th percentile): $78,500

 

Great Falls (High School)

Early Career (25th percentile): $39,220
Median: $50,130
Experienced (90th percentile): $80,590

 

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.

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