The requirements to teach ELLs in Nebraska entail adding a supplemental endorsement to your existing teaching certificate. Here are the steps you need to take to become an ESL teacher in Nebraska:
|Obtain Your Nebraska Teacher’s License|
|Take Your Additional ESL Coursework|
|Add Your ESL Endorsement to Your Teaching License|
|Fulfill Your Professional Development Requirements to Renew Your Nebraska License|
Nebraska had 17,532 public school children enrolled in English language learner (ELL) programs in 2011-12 according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This represented a 27% increase over a six-year period.
Students with limited English proficiency come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and speak a diversity of languages, top among them being Spanish, Vietnamese, Malay, and German.
ESL teachers are in demand in Nebraska as rural communities face an influx of students with a poor mastery of the English language. Many of these students continue having difficulty with English as they grow older, providing additional opportunities for those interested in adding an ESL endorsement. For instance, one 2014 Nebraska ESL teacher job description was for workplace readiness English language training. There is also a demand for ESL teachers overseas—at universities, private schools, and in many businesses.
Step 1. Obtain Your Nebraska Teacher’s License
Since being an ESL teacher in Nebraska entails having a supplemental endorsement, you must have a teaching license and be certified in another content area before you can add your ESL endorsement.
You must have a bachelor’s degree to get a teaching certificate in Nebraska. The state’s regulations on adding endorsements specify that you must have a Regular Nebraska educator’s certificate to be able to add your ESL endorsement.
You can obtain a Regular Teaching Certificate by going through an approved teacher education program. You will take coursework in pedagogy to ensure that you understand the principles of effective teaching. You will also need to go through the following steps before you can get your license:
- Get training in Human Relations
- Complete Special Education Training
- Pass the Praxis basic skills competency tests (PPST)
Although most programs provide you with PK-12 or K-12 certification, the NDE requires that you also possess one of the of the following majors:
- Elementary Education
- Secondary Education
- Special Education
Step 2. Take Your Additional ESL Coursework
You have several ways to earn your ESL endorsement. All of these entail taking specialized courses in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).
The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) approved 11 ESL certification programs for the 2013-14 school year to teach PK-6, 4-9, or 7-12.
The Nevada Department of Education required the following coursework for an ESL endorsement in 2013:
- Assessment and evaluation of English language learners (ELLs)
- Cross-cultural communication
- English language/linguistics
- Methods/curriculum design in English as a second language
- Second language acquisition
You must also complete a 45 hour practicum working with ELLs at your certification grade level.
You will need to take 12 hours of ESL courses to get your endorsement. Some of the educational program endorsement programs include:
- Supplemental Endorsement: English as a Second Language PK-12
- Supplemental Endorsement: English as a Second Language K-12
- K-12 ELL Certification
- English as a Second Language Teaching Endorsement
ESL Master’s Degrees for Teachers
Three Nebraska ESL master’s programs are designed for certified teachers and provide ESL endorsements. If you have a bachelor’s degree to teach a subject area at the middle or secondary school level, you can take your ESL courses in an M.A.T. program during evenings and Saturdays while you continue teaching.
The M.Ed. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) will provide you with PK-12 TESOL certification. You will also meet the standards of the TESOL International Association, so you will be well prepared if you want to teach ESL in another country.
You can also get a Master of Curriculum and Instruction that is designed for public school teachers seeking K-12 ESL certification. You will have to take 12 hours of core requirements and an additional 24 hours of ESL courses.
Step 3. Add Your ESL Endorsement to Your Teaching License
To add your ESL endorsement to your teaching license, complete the Nebraska Department of Education’s online application located on its homepage and pay the fee. You have two choices of endorsement:
- Full endorsement
- Provisional endorsement (completion of at least 50% of the program)
In both cases, you will need to have the Certification Officer of your educational institution fill out a form. You need an Institutional Verification form to get your full endorsement.
If you are applying for a provisional endorsement, you will need to complete the Added Provisional Endorsement. You will also need to have your school send official transcripts to the NDE.
Step 4. Fulfill Your Professional Development Requirements to Renew Your Nebraska License
In addition to meeting Nebraska’s requirements to renew your license, staying abreast of developments in ESL teaching will help your professionally. The Nebraska Department of Education provides a list of resources to help you plan your curriculum and assess your students. You can also join MIDTESOL—the TESOL professional organization for teachers in the Mid-West, including Nebraska.
Your options to renew your endorsement vary, depending on the type. If you have a Provisional Endorsement, you must complete your ESL coursework with three years. You cannot renew this type of endorsement.
If you have a full ESL endorsement, your renewal options vary depending on the status of your teaching certificate. If you have a license that is less than five years old, you will need either college credit hours or recent teaching experience.
You can submit a Verification of Experience form that shows that you taught at least half-time for one year within the past five years. Another option is to complete six semester hours that were recommended by an approved teacher’s school.
If your license expired over 5 years ago, you need to take 15 specific semester hours that includes a practicum of at least 100 clock hours in the classroom setting.
Nebraska ESL Endorsement Salary Bonus Incentives
States with large rural areas like Nebraska have experienced a dramatic influx of immigrants since 1998, significantly increasing the need for ESL teachers. According to the Migration Policy Institute, Nebraska’s immigrant population grew 172 percent between 1998 and 2008. By the end of that decade Nebraska had over 20,000 English language learners (ELL) in grades K-12 which was almost seven percent of the total school population.
A number of colleges/universities in Nebraska have ESL endorsement programs that generally consist of 21-24 semester hours of course work and 45 hours work experience in a bilingual education program. ESL teachers must have a deep understanding of the English language and the ability to effectively share this understanding.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average annual wages of Nebraska teachers as:
- Elementary School – $50,150.00
- Secondary School – $48,080.00
This is lower than the national average for ESL teachers:
- Elementary School – $52,240.00
- Middle School – $52,570.00
- High School – $53.390.00
According to a spokesperson with the Nebraska Department of Education, the state currently offers no financial incentive to teachers who earn their ESL endorsement. However, individual cities like Omaha might apply for grant money for their ESL program. In general, teachers with a master’s degree earn more than those with just a bachelor’s degree.
The table below shows salary information for Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers in Nebraska as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013. The Bureau classifies ESL teachers within this broader category.