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Become A Language Instructor

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Working As A Language 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

  • $57,050

    Average Salary

What Does A Language Instructor Do

A Language Instructor may be hired by a variety of organizations to provide education services. They are responsible for helping students improve their foreign language skills.

How To Become A Language 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.


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.


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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Language Instructor jobs

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Language Instructor Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Asian

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Japanese

  • Arabic

  • Italian

  • Chinese

  • Russian

  • German

  • Portuguese

  • Korean

  • Mandarin

  • Dari

  • Urdu

  • Turkish

  • Greek

  • Hindi

  • Thai

  • Czech

  • Persian

  • Vietnamese

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Language Instructor

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Language Instructor Education

Language Instructor

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Real Language Instructor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chinese Language Instructor Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA Aug 01, 2014 $177,645
Turkish Language Instructor Hudson Turkish American Cultural Association, Inc. Ridgefield, NJ Feb 15, 2011 $104,350
Japanese Language Instructor Language House LLC New York, NY Apr 02, 2011 $104,350
Arabic Language Instructor The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Monterey, CA Jun 07, 2012 $90,826
Japanese Language Instructor SOKO Gakuen Japanese Language School San Francisco, CA Jun 27, 2015 $88,572
Spanish Language Instructor University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI Jul 01, 2013 $88,176
Japanese Language Instructor Woodside International School Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 01, 2011 $87,654
Chinese Instructor, Custom Language Services The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Monterey, CA Aug 29, 2011 $87,654
Chinese Language Instructor The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Monterey, CA Jun 07, 2012 $84,357
Language Instructor-Arabic The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Monterey, CA Jun 09, 2015 $81,393
Spanish Language Instructor University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI Jul 01, 2013 $80,746
Chinese Language Instructor The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Monterey, CA Jun 13, 2013 $79,995
Language Instructor-German and Mandarin Valor Christian Schools Highlands Ranch, CO Jul 01, 2013 $55,400
Lecturer In Korean Language Instruction Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA Oct 13, 2011 $55,000
Lecturer In Korean Language Instruction Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA May 08, 2012 $54,769
English Language Instructor Metropolitan Learning Institute, Inc. NY Nov 15, 2014 $52,500
World Language Instructor Washington Academy of Languages Seattle, WA Jan 17, 2011 $52,175 -
Japanese Language Instructor Lingua Science Corporation Ann Arbor, MI Sep 10, 2013 $44,000
Instructor of Arabic Language University of Oregon Eugene, OR May 03, 2012 $44,000
Instructor of Arabic Language University of Oregon Eugene, OR Jun 16, 2012 $44,000
Instructor of Modern Languages University of Louisville Louisville, KY Jul 01, 2012 $43,652
French & Japanese Languages Instructor Saluga, LLC Lantana, TX Oct 01, 2012 $43,534
Instructor of Arabic Language University of Oregon Eugene, OR Sep 16, 2012 $43,380

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Top Skills for A Language Instructor


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Top Language Instructor Skills

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Weekly Lesson Plans
  3. Curriculum Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Instituted positive classroom management strategies and disciplinary programs that handled challenging behavior issues.
  • General administrative duties including weekly lesson plans, student evaluations, parent/student counseling and participation in weekly staff meetings.
  • Contributed to curriculum development, evaluation process improvement, and revision of course materials and instructional methods.
  • Skilled at teaching grammar and natural conversation at all levels to both adults and children.
  • Teach ESL classes and support the Vocational Trainers for job training classes.

Top Language Instructor Employers

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