One of the challenges of seeking a change in career fields is how to do so while maintaining full-time employment. Southern Oregon University’s online MSEd program with a Concentration in Adult Education, ESL makes it possible for working professionals to level up their expertise and answer the demands of a growing group of adult second-language learners ready to succeed in their own careers. The most exciting prospect of this online degree program is the range of jobs and opportunities that come with having a skill set in high demand.
The assumption that these jobs are limited to the field of education is outdated. A professional with this credential can achieve a position in human resources, as a program director or trainer for a corporation, as a consultant and even for a government agency. In addition, there are myriad options within the broader curricular fields of education that align with the mission of SOU’s program.
1. Junior and Community Colleges
There are quite a few professional options at community colleges for an SOU graduate. Choices include an adjunct instructor in bilingual education, a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) instructor or a community college adult ESL educator.
Because these positions are on a higher education campus, there are opportunities for part-time work, evening hours, work from home and even weekend classes. This flexibility is an added convenience for those seeking a career change based on how many hours they can work each week or when they can work.
2. Curriculum Specialist for Government Institutions
ESL Curriculum Specialist salaries range from the average figure of $54K to a high of $102K per year, as of March 2022. In a government agency, the opportunity to rise in rank or receive raises each year and excellent benefits are ways these institutions garner talent. U.S. citizens with a master’s degree in ESL-focused adult education, like that provided by SOU, have the required skills and experience institutions like the U.S. Department of State’s English Language Specialist Program are looking for in the name of “promoting mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries.”
As part of the English Language Fellow Program, participants receive “a generous benefits package for the valuable role they play in U.S. Embassy programming and in achieving U.S. Department of State public diplomacy goals.” This program recruits trained and experienced U.S. TESOL professionals for full-time, 10-month, in-country EFL teaching fellowships abroad. The online degree from SOU provides this requirement and prepares any applicant for this opportunity.
3. K-12 Family Literacy Program Director
“Instructors in family literacy programs create safe, supportive spaces for parents to manage the positive and negative forces that can delay academic success.” The National Center for Families Learning points out that systemic inequities create a barrier to mastering English as a second language for many families and their students.
The focus on family literacy is a program director’s priority and there are many employers, both governmental and nonprofit, that need professionals certified in this field. Because this organization represents best practices, it is a helpful resource for graduates of SOU’s program with enthusiasm and a willingness to elicit institutional change.
4. Corporate ESL Trainer
The 21st century has presented firms with a new challenge: Corporations now employ a global workforce. With this diversity comes the added need for business English and communication skills, and companies like ProActive English are answering this demand. Moreover, since remote training is an option, the opportunities are limitless for a professional with a degree like SOU’s MSEd in Adult Education, ESL. Organizations like ProActive English could provide work in other countries or from home.
5. English Instructors Abroad
The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is optimal for graduates of SOU’s online program. JET educators work in “schools, boards of education, and government offices throughout Japan.” It is the only teaching exchange program managed by the government of Japan but based in Washington, D.C. Such an opportunity is only available to those who hold a degree specialized in adult education, ESL.
SOU’s MSEd in Adult Education, ESL online program prepares educators to recognize how adults mastered their native language and synthesize those skills into a second or third language option depending on the student’s needs. Concurrently, the program also focuses on the cultural and diverse experiences that non-native speakers bring to the classroom and eventually to their occupations. Employers that prioritize diversity value the resulting boost in human capital, and SOU’s online program provides the pedagogical skills required to fulfill adult second-language learners’ expectations.