While Alabama has a relatively low number of students classified as ELLs – 19,500 as of 2007-2008, according to data collected by the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), its immigrant population is growing at an impressive rate. In the decade following 1997-1998, the immigrant population increased by 239 percent. The most common non-English home languages are Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and French.
Alabama’s TESOL Career Outlook
The Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listing, compiled by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, does not list English as a Second Language or Bilingual/Bicultural Education as areas of need. However, the related subject areas of English, Language Arts, and Foreign Languages have all appeared on the list of areas of critical need, and for the past several academic years.
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, gathered in 2012, shows a somewhat positive outlook in regard to teaching ESL in Alabama. The information shows Alabama as slightly above average in the number of literacy teachers it hires (ESL educators are grouped under this category). This is about average for the state’s indicated level of need. The annual mean salary for literacy educators is $40,520, below the U.S. average of $52,130. However, this salary is higher than the mean wage in the neighboring states of Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Overall, Alabama’s TESOL career outlook is not outstanding, but could improve if immigration rates continue to increase.
Alabama TESOL Job Boards
Teach in Alabama is the official teacher recruitment website of ALSDE. Candidates must create an account before applying for a teaching job. However, they do not need an account to browse certified, substitute, and classified openings using the site’s search tools.
The University of Northern Alabama’s Career Links Web page has resources and leads for educators.
Resources and Professional Groups for Alabama ESL Educators
- AMTESOL (Alabama-Mississippi TESOL) is the state affiliate of the international TESOL organization, representing professionals in the fields of ESL, bilingual education, and multicultural programming.
- Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers, or AAFLT, hosts an annual conference and offers resources, dissemination of information, and leadership opportunities to Alabama’s foreign language and bilingual educators.
- ALSDE maintains the Alabama ELL Resources Website with information about state policies and procedures, professional development, and regional resources.