What Are the Different Types of English Qualifications?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A person interested in pursuing a career in the field of English has several options, many of which focus on teaching. English qualifications include bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and PhDs in English, English education, and writing. Other English qualifications include certificates or degrees in English as a Second language, or ESL; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, or TESOL; Teaching of English as a Foreign Language, or TEFL; and English Language Learner, or ELL, certification. The particular qualifications one will need will depend on that person's career goals.

If a student does not intend to get into teaching, he or she may earn English qualifications such as a bachelor's or master's degree, and then seek out employment in other areas. Earning a minor or concentration while in college can help a student enhance his or her credentials; a technical writing concentration, for example, may make the student a more valuable job candidate for companies or businesses looking to fill a position that requires technical writing.


Teaching English qualifications can vary more significantly. A student may earn an English degree and then work toward earning a teaching credential, thereby qualifying him or her to teach in primary or secondary schools. While the teacher is employed by a school, he or she may be required to advance his or her English qualifications to serve a more diverse student population. In many parts of the United States, for example, English teachers may be required to earn an ELL endorsement so he or she will be qualified to teach non-native English speakers in the regular classroom. This certification requires the teacher to complete coursework and certification exams, and upon successful completion, the English teacher will be within compliance of state or federal laws concerning the teaching of English.

Some teachers choose to go to countries in which English is not the primary language. In this case, a TEFL certificate must be earned. Some teachers will work toward this certification while they teach, while others may earn the credential before getting hired. Teaching English as a Second Language, or TESL, is another commonly earned certificate for the same purposes. The TESOL endorsement encompasses topics covered in both TEFL and TESL certification, so it is a much broader qualification that makes the teacher an even more attractive job candidate. These certificates and endorsements are valuable for teachers instructing in non-English speaking countries, as well as with non-native populations in English-speaking countries.


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