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Become a Language Educator

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Accompanying students on the journey from discovery to proficiency in another language is an incredibly rewarding process. Interested in making an impact on the world with a career in education? Explore paths to credentialing, scholarships, and resources for future language teachers.

Why Become a Language Teacher?

Whether introducing early childhood learners to unknown lands or discussing cultural complexities with high school students in a second language, teachers shape the ways in which their classes engage with the world around them.

Consider these reasons why becoming a language educator could be the right choice for you!

  • You’re passionate about language and culture: The language classroom is an exciting, dynamic environment, filled with authentic materials, interaction, collaboration, and community engagement—a far cry from the formal recitations and memorization of years gone by. This is your opportunity to share what you love with others.
  • You’re innovative: Language students no longer have to board an airplane to speak with their peers a world away. Educators draw upon their digital savvy and an international network of colleagues to reach beyond the textbooks, integrating the latest technology into their lessons—including video chatting, social media platforms, online pen-pal collaborations, blogs, games, and interactive message-board apps.
  • You’re a team builder: Language educators are leaders who create and sustain meaningful connections between their students, at their institutions, in their communities, and in the profession by celebrating languages and cultures and sharing resources.
  • Your skills are in demand: Language teacher shortages exist in nearly all U.S. states, making the current demand for qualified educators paramount. It’s truly a job seeker’s market for new teachers no matter where they aspire to teach, with some districts adding bonuses and other hiring incentives to the package.
  • You’ve dreamt of this: It’s never too late to make your dream a reality. Language educators come to the profession from countless backgrounds, each of which gives their classes a unique depth and perspective. Some teachers take a traditional route and receive their credentials upon graduating from college with a degree in education or in their target language. Others acquire teaching credentials after beginning their career in another field.

Meet a Future Teacher of Arabic

A current participant of the Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship Program, in this post, Cody reflects on serving as a summer teaching assistant: “After this experience, I am certain that teaching is my future.”

Credentialing and Teacher Preparation Programs

With assistance from STARTALK, a government program based at the University of Maryland’s National Foreign Language Center, LangCred, an online tool for identifying language credential routes and/or teacher preparation programs by state, has been created.

The extensive database provides a succinct overview of all relevant details needed for choosing the perfect program to suit your needs, including: program website and contact information; program type and degree/credentialing outcome; whether online classes are available; and application schedule and fees, if applicable.

To get started, select your state on the LangCred interactive map or search by keyword.

Explore the LangCred Map

While choosing a degree program, consider if you prefer majoring in Education or in the language you will be teaching. Your university’s education and language departments will be excellent resources for understanding the various pathways open to you which lead to certification.

National Scholarships and Grants

You’ve found the right program, but you’re unsure about tuition and/or certification costs? Fortunately, there are many opportunities to secure additional funding for your teacher preparation experience.

Start locally, inquiring about financial assistance at your university and looking into scholarships specific to your state. Regional language teachers’ associations, ethnic organizations, and local honor societies are excellent places to begin. You’ll also want to review nationally available opportunities, such as the selection of scholarships for future teachers listed below.

Explore Funding Opportunities

See also these guides to Scholarships for Future Teachers and Financial Aid for Future Teachers created by to explore additional funding opportunities.

There are students in critical need of your passion, expertise, and drive. Your path to becoming a language educator could begin as soon as today.

To view current job listings for teachers, visit ACTFL’s board, Job Central.

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