Differences among TESOL related Masters degrees

Determining which type of program to pursue for TESOL qualifications isn’t as simple as one might think.  English language teachers come from a variety of training backgrounds – all valid and useful for their specific purpose, but quite varied in actual training courses.  Before pursuing training, it’s important to determine what type of job you are most interested in to identify the type of degree you’ll seek.  Each of the degrees described below provides English teaching qualifications, but for different contexts and settings.

Applied Linguistics MATESOL M.Ed. / MAT
Audience

 

Those who want to use linguistics in a practical way Those who desire to specifically teach English around the world Those who seek teacher certification in the US
Sample Courses Linguistic theory:

 

Semantics

Morphology

Phonetics/phonology

Syntax

Language:

First language acquisition

Second language acquisition

Psycholinguistics

Teaching:

Bilingualism

Literacy

Methods

Materials

 

Linguistic Theory:

 

Sociolinguistics

Phonology

Language:

Second Language acquisition

Structure of English

Language analysis

Teaching:

Assessment

Curriculum design

Methods

Materials

Assessment

Teaching pronunciation

 

Linguistic Theory:

 

Linguistics for ESL teachers

Intro to linguistics

Language:

Bilingualism

Second Language acquisition

Teaching:

Multicultural education

Methods

Materials

Assessment of language learners

Literacy for language learners

Technology in the classroom

Specializations Language teaching 

 

Bilingualism/multilingualism

Literacy

Language acquisition

Language planning and policy

Pragmatics

Translation

 

English for specific purposes 

 

English for academic purposes

Elementary 

 

Secondary

Content  based (e.g. math, science)

Professional Organizations Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) 

 

American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL)

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 

 

International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 

 

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA)

 

The rundown Masters in Applied Linguistics are best suited for those who want to study linguistics as well as teach English in a non-public education (US) setting.  The degree can also be used in other types of linguistic careers. MATESOL degrees are best suited for those who want to teach English as a career.  Typically, jobs in intensive English programs at the university level and the better international jobs hire only candidates with an MATESOL. M.Ed./ESL degrees are specifically for certification to teach ESL in American public schools.  Regardless of degree/experience, if a candidate does not have ESL certification of some sort, a school system will not hire them as a full teacher (though in high need areas, provisional licensures may be given.) 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Differences among TESOL related Masters degrees

  1. This information is really helpful, but I have a different question related to the subject: Which is better if I want to teach at the university level–a M.A. in English with a concentration in TESOL, or a M.A. in TESL?
    Thanks for any help you might provide–I’m trying to decide between 2 graduate programs.

    1. Lots of jobs advertise for an MATESOL or related degree, so both would probably be acceptable. That being said, you’ll want to compare the type of courses the program offers to determine what they’re preparing you for. You’ll want to choose the course that focuses most intensely on TESOL itself.

  2. great article. I myself plan to follow a tesol course, but still wonder what kind of tesol course I should choose. my friends suggested me to take Tesol course in Bali to get the pleasure and inconvenience while learning, coz Bali is full of interesting places to visit. They said tesolindo.com is the best for me.

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