Here are some answers to questions we’ve received about teaching English in the Tampa Bay area.

I am interested in obtaining my TESOL certificate. Can you recommend a place to study for it? I already have a bachelor’s degree.

First of all, a “TESOL certificate” could be one of several different types of qualifications:

an ESOL endorsement for K-12

a graduate certificate in applied linguistics/TESOL

a stand-alone TESOL certificate (like Oxford Seminars, the Cambridge CELTA/DELTA, etc.)

For a K-12 ESOL endorsement in the Tampa Bay area, St. Leo, and SPC, and USF all offer this as part of their K-12 teacher prep programs. The Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas school boards also provide training for this endorsement to teachers employed in their district.

For a graduate certificate, USF’s Applied Linguistics Program offers a TESL graduate certificate. USF also offers an MA in applied linguistics / ESL.

For a stand-alone certificate, Oxford seminars offers one in St. Pete.

Before doing any of these programs, it is important to figure out what sort of qualification is required for the job you are trying to get. For example, the ESOL endorsement is necessary in K-12, but won’t really apply elsewhere. Similarly, a stand-alone certificate may be helpful overseas, but doesn’t carry much weight here in the US. Most college and university jobs in the US will require a master’s degree. This is true of many colleges and universities overseas as well. And, in my experience, most of the overseas jobs that don’t require a master’s degree will accept a bachelor’s degree with no additional certification.

What type of teaching work is available in the Tampa Bay Area?

If you are interested in working in Florida, most jobs are one of two kinds: 1) ESOL in the public school system or 2) EAP at a community college or Intensive English Program at a University. The former usually requires a B.A. and ESOL certification, while the latter tends to require a Master’s degree. There are also a few private language schools in the area, as well as private tutoring opportunities.

USF, SPC, and HCC are the major employers at the college level, as all have robust IEP/ EAP programs. All three require an MA in ESL / Applied Linguistics or a related field. The continuing education / lifelong learning departments at these schools may offer ESL classes as well, and they don’t always require instructors to have an MA.

The Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough school systems are where the rest of us TESOLers tend to get jobs outside of the 3 colleges mentioned above. They have both adult education and K-12 ESOL programs.

Major employers (K-12)

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Pasco County Schools

Pinellas County Schools

Major employers (College and University)

Eckerd College (ELS)

Hillsborough Community College (EAP / Continuing Education)

St. Petersburg College (EAP / Lifelong Learning)

University of South Florida (IEP / Continuing Education)

University of Tampa (ELS)

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