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The number of non-native English speakers around the globe is constantly growing. English is quickly becoming the language of business, especially as it is the primary language used in tech fields and on the internet. As such, many people are quite motivated to learn it. Not only that, but the steady influx of immigrants in the United States continues to add non-native English speakers to the public school system.

Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) certification is a tool today’s teachers can use to prepare themselves to teach these individuals. TELL programs teach how to teach English as a second language to various age groups. The learning requirements change as students’ ages change. These programs address everyone from young learners to adults, so you will be well-equipped to teach ELL no matter the age.

What Is an ELL Teacher?

ELL stands for English Language Learners while TELL stands for Teaching English Language Learners. Both terms refer to the same type of instructor. These teachers work with non-native students who are learning English. However, they do not only focus on teaching language arts. They also teach math, science, history, and other courses according to their student grade levels. These teachers must constantly work on teaching English even while working on other subjects, so they do need specialized training in how to reach these students.

What Is the Difference Between ELL and ESL?

Some programs will interchange the terms ELL with ESL (English as a Second Language), while others hold these as distinct programs. ESL usually refers to teaching non-native English speakers how to read, write and speak English. Their primary focus is language instruction, including vocabulary, grammar, and syntax with no instruction in other areas. The goal of an ESL teacher is to teach language learners so that they can write and speak English clearly, not necessarily to help them in other subject areas. ELL teachers will do this as well, but it is not their only focus, as they also teach other subjects. ELL programs teach educators how to effectively teach ELL students, but not necessarily how to teach them English alone.

Why Teach ELL?

Teaching non-native English speakers can be highly rewarding. These bright students have an amazing capability to learn more than one language, and in the early years, their ability to learn English is quite high. Teaching ELL students is emotionally rewarding as you prepare them to live in America with a firm grasp of English.

Another reason to consider TELL instruction is because of the high demand for teachers in this field. Though specific statistics about the number of ELL students are not available, the number of non-native English speakers in the world is quite telling. There are currently around 7.8 billion people in the world, 1.3 billion of them speak English, and 360 million are native English speakers. Speakers who fall into the first group need trained teachers to help them grow and develop without allowing language barriers to hold them back.

Finally, ELL teachers have many job opportunities available to them as demand continues to grow. These job opportunities are not just in the traditional classroom, either. Today, around 750 million people are trying to learn English as a foreign language, and 375 million as a second language. Teachers also find they have online opportunities to tutor and teach English as a second language. All of these facts mean ELL teaching instruction will open the door to a large number of potential job options.

How to Become an ELL Teacher?

If you are inspired to become an ELL teacher, there are several steps to take. Many states require certification for this role, and you will need the right training to receive that certificate. With the right education and certification, you can position yourself for one of these roles. Here is what you need to do:


The English language is complex, and people who have spoken and written it for their entire lives are not always aware of its complexities. In order to teach non-native speakers, you must receive instruction in English language learning to increase your awareness of the unique challenges your students face. These programs also provide specific learning strategies that work well for ESL students, giving insight into teaching grammar and syntax in addition to specific learning theories and strategies that apply to all learners.

If you already have a teaching degree or undergraduate degree in another field, then a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners could be a good fit. Post University has a fully online program that provides this additional training, so you can get credentialed as an ELL teacher. Please note that Post’s Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners is not designed to fulfill the educational requirements for any educational credential, such as a state teacher’s license or TESOL certification.

TESOL/TESL Certification

After completing the necessary education, consider pursuing a TESOL/TESL certification in your state. TEFL Certification can be helpful for teachers that have a knowledge of other languages and want to teach abroad or online students living outside of the US. Certification requirements vary by state, but generally you can expect to have a background check, provide examples of your education, take any necessary examinations, and submit examples of your teaching experience. After fulfilling your state requirements, you can earn your certificate and position yourself to seek ELL jobs in your area. Always check your state’s department of education to see what the local requirements are for ELL certification.

Get Started on TELL Training with Post University

With so many benefits to English Language Learner instruction, this is a graduate program worth pursuing. Post University’s Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners is a good starting point for your career in ELL. The completely online format makes it convenient to fit in around your current career responsibilities, and the instruction will provide valuable insight into teaching in this world. The certificate is a non-degreed program containing five courses that offer the opportunity to understand how race, culture, and ethnicity affect learning. Students will evaluate, design, and adapt best practices to promote their understanding of strategies and resources that support teaching the English Language Learner in a multiple of settings from school to the business world. If you are looking for professional development that may open the door to teaching ELL students, consider this program.

Reach out to an admissions counselor at Post University today to learn more about the Post University Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Language Learners, and take the next step in adding this ability to your teaching skills.

Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.