Within the professional field of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), it is not unusual for highly qualified instructors to teach several part-time jobs in order to support themselves. Despite advocacy efforts carried out by the international TESOL organization, finding rewarding full-time employment in the United States can be very challenging. In addition, with the current state of the economy and high unemployment, TESOL professionals like others in various fields are seeking stable employment. Although this research will not solve the lack of full-time jobs, the intention is to help job seekers better prepare themselves for today's job market by knowing the skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics that employers are looking for in potential hires. To identify this information, a 12-month review was conducted of three well-established employment websites in an effort to capture advertisements seeking to hire TESOL professionals full-time for ESL related positions in the U.S. A total of 169 job advertisements were collected and reviewed to identify the skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics employers were seeking in qualified individuals. Data from the advertisements were organized into a 42-category coding scheme in an effort to delineate the skills, knowledge, and job characteristics mentioned previously. In addition, a second coding scheme containing 12 categories was created for analyzing the personal characteristics listed in the advertisements Results from this data revealed that employers seek applicants who have knowledge and experience in curriculum development, teacher education, and program administration. Top skills include written and oral communication and basic computer skills. With regards to personal characteristics, employers are most interested in individuals possessing strong interpersonal and teamwork skills. In addition to these skills and qualifications, the data provide important insights concerning the distribution of jobs by job type, degree, institution type, and salary across five regions of the United States.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




TESOL, employment, full-time, employers, profession, career, jobs



Included in

Linguistics Commons