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Advance Your Career

Attain a New Level of Professionalism

Whether you are relatively new to the field or a seasoned professional, TESOL can help you bring a new level of professionalism to your career at any stage.

In this section, you can investigate funding opportunities, learn how to share what you know, find out how to publish with TESOL Press, or present at a TESOL event.

TESOL professionals have numerous opportunities to present their work at TESOL events, including the annual convention and various workshops. If you are interested in:

  • Presenting at or suggesting a topic for an online class or webinar, please contact TESOL Education.
  • Presenting at a specific TESOL event, including the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo and/or the pre- or postconvention institutes, please contact TESOL Events.
  • Writing for TESOL, please visit our bookstore to review our latest publications, as well as visit our information for authors page. You can also email staff at TESOL Press.

Additional Resources

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Guide to Professional Advancement in TESOL

TESOL professionals enhance their careers by:

Lead. All around the world, qualified professionals are needed to lead English language programs. Be it a language school, a primary/secondary school, or a university, administrators with EAL expertise are needed. You can see some of these types of positions listed at the TESOL Career Center.

Share. Share your ideas with your colleagues, and look for opportunities to learn from your colleagues' ideas. Share lesson plans; write materials for your institution; give talks to other teachers on campus; and write articles or give interviews for professional and scholarly journals, school-based publications, and local, regional, or national media.

Become a TESOL member and enjoy all the benefits. 

Join your local affiliate.
 TESOL affiliates are autonomous, regionally based professional organizations that complement the work and services of TESOL. Membership in an affiliate is separate from membership in TESOL, and TESOL recommends joining both to maximize opportunities for learning and networking.

Connect with TESOL. Choose from a variety of professional councils and member communities, located in myTESOL, and put your expertise to work.

Learn to become a leader in TESOL. TESOL offers the Leadership Development Certificate Program (LDCP) to meet the specific needs of TESOL members who have asked for opportunities to learn more about the association and to develop their skills as leaders of the association and its affiliates.

Participate in decision-making processes. Serve as a volunteer, officer of an interest section or affiliate, or officer of TESOL International and help facilitate change in the association.

Become involved in advocacy efforts. TESOL underwrites programs and undertakes a variety of projects to increase respect for the profession, for its practitioners, and for its student constituency. Visit TESOL's Advocacy Resources to stay informed about the issues that matter to you and the profession

Apply for a grant, fellowship, or award. TESOL offers several awards and grants in the field of English language teaching. Receiving an award, grant, or fellowship makes your professional development more financially feasible while giving you added recognition in the profession.

Present a paper, poster, workshop, or demonstration. Present at TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo or affiliate conferences. This activity has a dual purpose: helping you become more involved with TESOL and its affiliates and helping you gain recognition in the field as a whole.

Write an article for a TESOL publication. Submit articles to TESOL's serial publications, interest section newsletters, or affiliate newsletters. This activity, along with presenting at a conference, helps you become a resource for others' professional development. These are the first steps in giving back to those from whom you have learned so much.

Depending on your career goals, you may need an additional degree. After earning an inaugural degree, follow up with a Specialist license, a masters degree, or a doctorate in one of the many ELT areas of expertise.

Attend or present at the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. TESOL convention participants have access to hundreds of presentations, keynote addresses by leaders in the field, an exhibit hall full of publications and products, pre- and postconvention institutes, and countless leadership opportunities.

Attend or present at an affiliate convention. Use TESOL's worldwide calendar of events to find your local affiliate's next conference, workshop, or professional development event. Participation in affiliate events helps you learn more about local news, issues, developments, and concerns in the profession in your part of the world.

Participate in TESOL's education programs. Update skills, learn new skills, focus on topics of special interest, and possibly earn continuing education credits by participating in TESOL’s in-person or online education offerings, which may include self-study courses, facilitated courses, workshops, and certificate programs.

Network. Share your successes and learn from your colleagues in myTESOL.

Read TESOL publications. Receive TESOL Connections monthly and the English Language Bulletin weekly, read TESOL Journal, subscribe to TESOL Quarterly, browse the online bookstore.

Invest personal time and money as needed. Spend time outside of class helping students with problems or developing ideas and materials. Consider spending your own money on professional development activities if your institution is too underfunded to help. Spending personal time and money on your profession is an investment in yourself.

Focus on your responsibility to your institution. Always attend required meetings. Focus on the task at hand and make suggestions; don't just offer criticism, offer solutions. Prepare required materials and turn them in on time or early. Help your program be the best it can be by mentoring new teachers, leading teacher and student organizations, and developing new organizations where needed.

Focus on your responsibility to your students. Part of the role of the professional in the classroom is to model the dedication and behavior you wish to see in your students.  Make a commitment to miss class as infrequently as possible, always arrive on time, never leave early, and always be prepared.

Focus on your responsibility to yourself. Be honest with yourself and realistic about your time. You cannot grow as a professional or fulfill your obligations to your students, your institution, or the profession as a whole if you are overextended. Set priorities and stick to them. Focus on your priorities. You are more obligated to fulfill a responsibility that you have already taken on than to take on an additional responsibility.

Want to Learn More about TESOL Careers?

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