2022 Best Online Masters in TESOL Programs

Ready to start your journey?

If you’re interested in working with students who want to learn English, then you might consider a TESOL masters degree.

Best Online Masters in TESOL Programs

TESOL, or teaching English to speakers of other languages, is a field that is growing increasingly important as the English language becomes more prevalent around the world.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

But, with so many programs available online, how do you know which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn more about TESOL masters degrees and to discover which type of program is best for your needs.

Online TESOL Masters Programs

Woman completing her TESOL Masters online

An online TESOL master’s program lets you specialize in teaching English to speakers of other languages. The degree is useful for those who want to pursue a career in teaching English as a second language.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You may hear a teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) master degree referred to by other names as well, including:

  • EFL: English as a Foreign Language
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language

TESOL programs encompass both TEFL and TESL, equipping you to teach English both locally and abroad.

The subjects studied as part of the degree program often include:

  • Linguistics
  • Language acquisition
  • Pedagogy
  • ESL grammar
  • Theory and history of ESL
  • Discourse analysis

The program provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively teach English to speakers of other languages. With an online TESOL masters program, you can often tailor your studies to your specific interests and career goals.

For example, if you’re interested in working primarily with young children, you might take pedagogy courses that are specifically geared toward working with students of that unique age group. With this credential, many graduates end up teaching English in a foreign country, working as an ESL coordinator or program director, or even teaching at the college level.

In addition, a TESOL master degree can help you acquire the tools and knowledge you need to develop materials for ESL learners or to conduct research in the field of language acquisition. Whether you’re looking to work abroad or to pursue a career in ESL education, a master’s degree in TESOL could help you work toward your goals.

TESOL Careers & Salaries

TESOL Careers & Salaries

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the demand for English teachers is on the rise. A degree in TESOL can open up a world of opportunities. The most common career pathway, of course, is becoming a TESOL teacher.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some potential careers related to the TESOL field.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Top Executives $98,980
Postsecondary Teachers $79,640
Curriculum Specialists $63,740
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers — Elementary and Secondary Schools $62,420
Training and Development Specialists $61,570
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers — Junior Colleges $50,540
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers — Other Schools and Instruction $50,530
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers — Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $48,930
Tutors $36,470

TESOL graduates can find work teaching English in a wide variety of settings, from traditional classrooms to corporate training programs. Salaries can vary depending on factors like experience and location.

TESOL MA Curriculum & Courses

People taking Masters in TESOL

Here are some courses that students in a TESOL MA program might take:

  • Linguistics for Language Teachers: This course provides an introduction to the study of language, with a focus on how linguistic knowledge can be applied to language teaching.
  • Second Language Acquisition: This course examines the process of second language acquisition, including the role of motivation, learning strategies, and input frequency in second language learning.
  • Language and Culture: This course explores the relationship between language and culture and how cultural awareness can enrich language teaching.
  • Principles of Language Teaching: This course covers the major theories and approaches to language teaching, including task-based learning and communicative approach.
  • Classroom Management for ESL Teachers: This course covers effective strategies for managing an ESL classroom, such as creating a positive learning environment and dealing with disruptive behavior.
  • Teaching Methods for ESL Students: This course covers effective methods for teaching ESL students of all levels.
  • Foundations of Linguistics: In this course, you’ll learn about the structure of language and how it is used, along with basic theories of language acquisition.
  • Sociolinguistics: This course will examine the relationships between language and society along with the different ways that language can be used to represent social identity.
  • Language Teaching Methodology: In this course, you’ll learn about different approaches, methods, and adaptations to teaching language.
  • Language Testing and Assessment: In this course, you’ll learn how to design and administer language tests as well as how to use assessment data to improve your teaching.

The TESOL MA curriculum is designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need to become an effective ESL teacher. It typically includes a myriad of courses on linguistics, education, and pedagogy as well as a practicum component that allows you to gain hands-on experience in the classroom.

How to Choose an Online MA in TESOL Program

Woman choosing for an Online MA in TESOL Program

When it comes to choosing an online TESOL masters program, here are some factors you may want to keep in mind:

  • Accreditation. This is an essential factor because it ensures that the program meets certain standards and will be recognized by employers
  • Degree type. Master of Arts (MA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education (MEd) programs are similar but may have different prerequisites and required courses.
  • Curriculum. You may want to take a look at each program’s curriculum to make sure it aligns with your career goals.
  • Faculty. You can check out prospective schools’ faculty to see if they have the research experience and teaching expertise you’re looking for.
  • Program length. Most programs require 30 to 40 credit hours of study, but this can vary.
  • Part-time vs. full-time study. If you have a busy schedule, you may want to look for a degree program that allows you to take classes part-time.

You may also want to consider factors like financial aid, reputation, and professional networking opportunities.

TESOL Online Masters Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Online MA in TESOL

Schools can differ in terms of their admission requirements, but here are a few basic admissions requirements for TESOL online masters programs:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE or GMAT scores (only required by some schools)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

You can check with your prospective school’s admissions department to find out which of these requirements you’ll be required to submit when you complete your application.

TESOL Master Programs Accreditation

University offering TESOL Master Programs

It’s beneficial to choose a master’s programs in TESOL that comes from a regionally accredited school. Regional accreditation is a voluntary evaluation process that is overseen by accrediting bodies that each covers a specific geographic region.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

In order to receive accreditation, schools must meet certain standards to ensure that they offer a high-quality education and services. Regionally accredited schools are recognized by employers and other institutions. In addition, credits from a regionally accredited school are more likely to transfer to another accredited institution.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for TESOL Masters

There are a number of financial aid options you can explore to help finance your TESOL master’s degree. Federal aid—such student loans and work study programs—is available to eligible students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). State aid may also be an option, depending on your state of residence.

Employer programs, such as tuition reimbursement, may also help offset the cost of your degree. There are also a number of scholarships specifically for TESOL students. For instance, the TESOL International Association offers a number of scholarships for both pre-service and in-service teachers.

What Is a Masters in TESOL Degree?

A masters in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) degree is an advanced academic degree focused on equipping students to teach English to non-native speakers.

Individuals who pursue a TESOL degree often have a passion for language and linguistics. TESOL professionals can help others learn English so they can improve their career prospects, access educational opportunities, or simply communicate more effectively with loved ones.

In addition to coursework, many TESOL masters programs also include a practicum component in which students gain hands-on experience teaching English to non-native speakers.

What Can You Do with a Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages?

ESL Teacher and students discussing in class

A masters degree in TESOL is a program that can open up a wide variety of career opportunities. Most graduates work as an English language teacher in the United States or abroad. Others work as ESL program coordinators or developers, designing and overseeing programs that help non-native speakers learn English.

You could also use your MA TESOL to pursue a doctoral degree and become a researcher or professor in the field. Ultimately, an MA TESOL can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skill sets for a wide range of career paths in the field of English language education.

What’s the Difference Between a TEFL vs. TESOL Master’s Program?

Two of the most common types of ESL programs are TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Here are the key differences between the two:

  • TEFL program: TEFL typically focuses on teaching methods and strategies specifically for those who will be teaching English to non-native English speakers in a foreign country.
  • TESOL program: TESOL is geared toward those who will be teaching English to speakers of other languages in any setting, whether it’s in a foreign country or right here in the United States.

Both types of programs provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to teach English effectively. TESOL programs, though, tend to be more comprehensive in nature, covering a wider range of topics.

How Long Does It Take to Get a TESOL Masters Online?

Woman getting TESOL Masters degree online

It depends on the program, but most masters degree in education online programs take 1 to 2 years to complete. Programs that only consist of 36 credit hours and don’t require a thesis may be completed in 1 year with full-time, year-round enrollment. This includes classes during the summer.

If a program requires a thesis, it will likely take longer to complete. Part-time enrollment can also add to a degree program’s overall completion time.

Is an Online Masters in TESOL Worth It?

Yes, an online masters in TESOL is worth it for many students. A masters degree in TESOL provides you with the opportunity to learn the theory and practice of teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Masters programs in TESOL are designed for those who wish to pursue careers in teaching English as a second or foreign language in a variety of settings. Common settings include community colleges, adult education programs, and international schools.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Positions for TESOL professionals are found in a range of countries, cities, and states. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10% job growth for education, training, and library occupations over the next ten years.

Universities Offering Online Masters in TESOL Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Eastern University

Eastern University campus

Eastern University’s MEd in TESOL can be earned fully online. The degree can typically be completed in 12 to 18 months, and there are four start dates each year. Eastern provides small class sizes and individualized programs of study. Classes include both synchronous and asynchronous elements and are taught by faculty with extensive international and multicultural experiences.

Eastern University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

George Mason University

George Mason University

George Mason University offers a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in TESOL.

The program requires the completion of 30 credits, which can be done 100% online. Classes are asynchronous but designed to still provide students with faculty attention and mentorship. Coursework includes Human Development and Learning, TESOL Methodology, Linguistics for TESOL Professionals, and more.

George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Middlebury Institute of International Studies campus

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies offers an online program for a Master of Arts in TESOL. The program is highly flexible and includes no set class meeting times but is designed so that students still have opportunities for interaction with teachers and classmates. Students start in the summer and usually take 2 years to graduate.

The Middlebury Institute of International Studies is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University campus

Southeast Missouri State University offers an online program for a TESOL MA. Coursework includes Sociolinguistics, Approaches to the Teaching of Grammar, Materials Development and Assessment Tools for TESOL, Developing Intercultural Awareness and Competence, and more. In addition to academic learning, students can also receive guidance in their job search.

SEMO is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

St. John’s University

St Johns University campus

St. John’s University offers a Master of Science in TESOL that prepares students to work as English as a New Language teachers in New York state schools. The degree can be earned online through high-quality courses that include virtual lectures and classroom discussions. The program requires the completion of 33 credits.

St. John’s University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Kansas

University of Kansas campus

The University of Kansas offers an MSE in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in TESOL. The program can typically be completed in 2 years. It consists of 10 courses that are each 8 weeks long. Students must also participate in a practicum. Coursework includes Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction, Multicultural Education, and Methods of TESOL.

The University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota offers a Master of Education in TESOL. This online degree program requires the completion of 35 credit hours, which can usually be done in 2 years. Students in the program are required to complete an independent study or a final project instead of a thesis and participate in 90 hours of practicum experience.

UND is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado campus

The University of Northern Colorado offers a Multilingual Education MA with a concentration in TESOL. Accepted students can start this online program any term, and it usually takes 5 terms to complete. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework and pass a comprehensive exam.

UNCO is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California campus

The University of Southern California offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Teaching—Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Full-time students can typically complete the program in 1.5 years, and part-time students can typically complete it in 3 years. Students in the program participate in live online classes and local field experiences.

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission.

University of Southern Maine

University of Southern Maine campus

The University of Southern Maine offers an MSE in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours of coursework, which can potentially be done in just 10 months. Previous graduates have had a 100% pass rate on the Maine Praxis ESOL Exam.

The University of Southern Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Masters in TESOL Online

Man pursuing Masters in TESOL Online

When you’re ready to take your career in teaching English to speakers of other languages to the next level, you might consider getting your master’s in TESOL online.

Not only does online programming allow you to learn from the comfort of your own home, but you may also be able to tailor your studies to fit your schedule. Plus, with an accredited online program, whether it’s an online educational studies degree or an online master’s degree in TESOL, you can be confident that you’re getting a high-quality education.

So, what are you waiting for? You can start this next step in your educational journey today by exploring accredited universities that offer online TESOL masters programs.

Ready to start your journey?
Rebekah Pierce
WRITTEN BY
Rebekah Pierce
Rebekah has a Master of Education in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh and a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Lawrence University. Her writing interests focus on a wide range of educational topics, including higher education, special education, and more.