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Become An English Instructor

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Working As An English Instructor

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $45,284

    Average Salary

What Does An English Instructor Do

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

Duties

Postsecondary teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach courses in their subject area
  • Work with students who are taking classes to improve their knowledge or career skills
  • Develop an instructional plan (known as a course outline or syllabus) for the course(s) they teach and ensure that it meets college and department standards
  • Plan lessons and assignments
  • Work with colleagues to develop or modify the curriculum for a degree or certificate program involving a series of courses
  • Assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work
  • Advise students about which classes to take and how to achieve their goals
  • Stay informed about changes and innovations in their field
  • Conduct research and experiments to advance knowledge in their field
  • Supervise graduate students who are working toward doctoral degrees
  • Publish original research and analysis in books and academic journals
  • Serve on academic and administrative committees that review and recommend policies, make budget decisions, or advise on hiring and promotions within their department

Postsecondary teachers, often referred to as professors or faculty, specialize in a variety of subjects and fields. Some teach academic subjects, such as English or philosophy. Others focus on career-related subjects, such as law, nursing, or culinary arts.

At colleges and universities, professors are organized into departments that specialize in a subject, such as history, science, business, or music. A professor may teach one or more courses within that department. For example, a mathematics professor may teach calculus, statistics, and a graduate seminar in a very specific area of mathematics.

Postsecondary teachers’ duties vary with their positions in a university or college. In large colleges or universities, they may spend their time teaching, conducting research or experiments, applying for grants to fund their research, or supervising graduate teaching assistants who are teaching classes.

Postsecondary teachers who work in small colleges and universities or in community colleges often spend more time teaching classes and working with students. They may spend some time conducting research, but they do not have as much time to devote to it.

Full-time professors, particularly those who have tenure (a professor who cannot be fired without just cause), often are expected to spend more time on their research. They also may be expected to serve on more college and university committees.

Part-time professors, often known as adjunct professors, spend most of their time teaching students.

Professors may teach large classes of several hundred students (often with the help of graduate teaching assistants), smaller classes of about 40 to 50 students, seminars with just a few students, or laboratories where students practice the subject matter. They work with an increasingly varied student population as more part-time, older, and culturally diverse students are going to postsecondary schools.

Professors need to keep up with developments in their field by reading scholarly articles, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences. A tenured professor must do original research, such as experiments, document analysis, or critical reviews, and publish their findings.

Some postsecondary teachers work for online universities or teach online classes. They use websites to present lessons and information, to assign and accept students’ work, and to participate in course discussions. Online professors communicate with students by email and by phone and might never meet their students in person.

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How To Become An English Instructor

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.

Education

Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.

Advancement

A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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English Instructor jobs

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English Instructor Career Paths

English Instructor
Adjunct Faculty Assistant Professor Associate Dean
Academic Affairs Dean
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Education Director
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Language Instructor ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Program Manager Adjunct Instructor
Associate Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Associate Director Director Of Admissions
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Educator Career Coordinator Career Services Director
College Director
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Faculty Chairperson
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Research Associate Instructor
Director Of Instruction
6 Yearsyrs
Language Instructor Instructor Training Manager
Director Of Training
7 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Communications Manager Program Manager
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Educator Education Coordinator
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Department Chairperson Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
ESL Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Research Fellow Instructor
Online Instructor
10 Yearsyrs
ESL Teacher Instructor Assistant Director
Owner/Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Department Chairperson Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Director Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
French Instructor 3.5 years
English Professor 3.4 years
Adjunct Instructor 3.1 years
Literature Teacher 3.1 years
English Instructor 3.0 years
Art Instructor 2.9 years
Instructor 2.8 years
ESL Instructor 2.6 years
Writing Instructor 2.5 years
Reading Instructor 2.3 years
English Tutor 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Teacher 21.2%
Instructor 10.6%
Internship 7.3%
Tutor 4.0%
Editor 3.2%
Volunteer 2.8%
Lecturer 2.8%
Top Employers After
Teacher 17.0%
Instructor 12.7%
Internship 4.9%
Lecturer 4.3%
Tutor 3.6%
Volunteer 3.4%
Editor 3.1%
Consultant 2.9%

English Instructor Demographics

Gender

Female

54.5%

Male

41.5%

Unknown

4.0%
Ethnicity

White

75.3%

Asian

11.5%

Hispanic or Latino

9.9%

Unknown

2.7%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.8%

French

11.3%

Japanese

10.9%

Chinese

8.4%

Korean

7.8%

Mandarin

6.6%

German

4.9%

Portuguese

4.5%

Italian

3.4%

Russian

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Turkish

1.1%

Hebrew

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Czech

0.5%

Hindi

0.5%

Greek

0.5%

Persian

0.5%

Thai

0.4%

Hungarian

0.4%
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English Instructor Education

Schools

Walden University

6.3%

Northern Arizona University

5.9%

University of Phoenix

5.8%

Michigan State University

5.6%

George Washington University

5.2%

San Francisco State University

5.2%

Georgia State University

5.0%

University of Iowa

5.0%

University of Oregon

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Florida State University

4.9%

Grand Canyon University

4.9%

University of California - Berkeley

4.7%

University of Central Florida

4.7%

University of Arizona

4.7%

New York University

4.5%

University of Washington

4.5%

Florida International University

4.5%

Liberty University

4.5%

Purdue University

4.3%
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Majors

English

28.9%

Writing

8.1%

Education

7.4%

Business

6.4%

Linguistics

5.4%

Elementary Education

5.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.3%

Teaching English As A Second Language

4.1%

Educational Leadership

3.8%

Communication

3.4%

Psychology

3.1%

Political Science

2.9%

Law

2.8%

History

2.6%

Area Studies

2.4%

Global Studies

2.0%

Curriculum And Instruction

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Secondary Education And Teaching

1.8%

International Relations

1.8%
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Degrees

Masters

45.5%

Bachelors

28.1%

Other

11.6%

Doctorate

8.1%

Certificate

4.1%

Associate

1.8%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real English Instructor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Instructor Cy/English Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ Feb 16, 2012 $82,090
English Instructor Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI Sep 27, 2015 $81,881
English Instructor Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI Sep 27, 2014 $81,881
English Instructor Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI Sep 28, 2011 $74,116
Instructor of English Phillips Academy Andover, MA Aug 30, 2010 $67,810
Instructor-Intensive English Program Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI Jul 22, 2013 $57,000
Instructor of English Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Scien Boston, MA Jun 17, 2011 $52,868
English Instructor Mashdots College Glendale, CA Feb 22, 2010 $52,150
Remedial Math and English Coordinator/Instructor Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV Jan 07, 2016 $50,713
Remedial Math and English Coordinator/Instructor Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV Jun 14, 2016 $50,713
English Instructor Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids, IA Aug 13, 2010 $49,674
Instructor-English Dept (Elementary English Education) Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI Mar 26, 2010 $48,000
English Instructor Twashakarris, Inc. Edmond, OK Aug 19, 2014 $45,914
Instructor English Literature Stonehill College, Inc. Easton, MA Jul 01, 2011 $45,284
Instructor English Literature Stonehill College Inc. Easton, MA Jul 01, 2011 $45,284
English Instructor (Educational Teacher) Fortuna Education, LLC Santa Ana, CA Feb 11, 2015 $45,000
English Instructor (Education Teacher) Fortuna Education, LLC Santa Ana, CA Feb 01, 2012 $45,000
English Instructor (Education Teacher) Fortuna Education, LLC Santa Ana, CA Feb 10, 2012 $45,000
English Instructor The Ohio University Athens, OH Jun 28, 2012 $43,636
English Instructor Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS Jan 01, 2016 $42,193
Instructor English Literature Stonehill College, Inc. Easton, MA Jan 01, 2010 $42,000

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Top Skills for An English Instructor

ClassroomManagementForeignLanguageCurriculumDevelopmentWeeklyLessonPlansGrammarLiteratureCoursesOnlineTaughtESLToeflSpeechProfessionalDevelopmentCommunicationSkillsPoetryFreshmanCompositionCourseMaterialsAdvisorBlackboardENGSmallGroupLearningEnvironment

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Top English Instructor Skills

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Foreign Language
  3. Curriculum Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted seminars and training workshops on classroom management skills.
  • Participated with the Student Union in the School of Foreign Languages in Chinese cultural activities such as calligraphy and paper cutting.
  • Participated in staff development and curriculum development programs MATERIAL CREATION & DEVELOPMENT.
  • Created weekly lesson plans and presented weekly lectures.
  • Instructed student representatives for service in Beijing Olympic in proper English grammar and pronunciation.

Top English Instructor Employers

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English Instructor Videos

Online English Teacher (ESL tutor) Job Position

Bill Gates: How Do You Make a Teacher Great?" Part 1"

True Life: I'm a College Professor

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