English Language Learner Specialist

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

An English Language Learner Specialist job description involves working in the Education industry to provide support to students who are still learning English as a second language. The primary role of an ELL Specialist is to help students communicate effectively in English and become full participants in their school community. These professionals work closely with teachers to develop programs that are tailored to meet the needs of each student. They also assess students' linguistic skills and provide guidance on how to improve them. They may also offer cultural support to students and families new to the country. Additionally, ELL Specialists may collaborate with other professionals such as school psychologists and speech therapists to provide comprehensive support to students. They may also participate in parent-teacher conferences and help parents navigate the education system. Overall, this job requires strong communication, organizational, and analytical skills, as well as a passion for helping students succeed despite language barriers.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Help English language learners (ELLs) improve their communication and comprehension skills.
  • Develop customized lesson plans and teaching strategies to address individual learning needs of ELLs.
  • Use cultural sensitivity and empathy to create a supportive learning environment for ELLs.
  • Work closely with classroom teachers to incorporate ELL-friendly materials and activities into the curriculum.
  • Administer assessments to gauge progress and identify areas needing improvement.
  • Train teachers on ELL-specific teaching methods and techniques.
  • Communicate with parents to share updates on student progress and provide tips for supporting their child's language growth at home.
  • Coordinate with other education professionals, such as speech therapists and school psychologists, to provide a comprehensive support system for ELLs.
  • Advocate for ELLs and their unique needs within the school and district.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become an English Language Learner Specialist in schools, you typically need a bachelor's degree in education, linguistics or a related field. Additionally, you may require a teaching certification or endorsement. A Master's degree in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) or a related field can also be helpful. You should have practical teaching experience working with multicultural students, including English language learners. Knowledge of language acquisition theories and strategies will also be useful. In addition, experience with educational technology and innovative instructional practices is highly valued. Being fluent in at least one language other than English can also be an advantage in this field.

Salary Range

English Language Learner Specialists are professionals who work in the Education industry and support students whose native language is not English to develop their English language skills. The expected salary range for this role in the United States is around $45,000 to $70,000 per year, depending on experience, qualifications, and location. According to Payscale, the average salary for an English Language Learner Specialist in the US is $53,437 per year. In Canada, the average salary is around CAD 61,000 per year. This is a rewarding career for those with a passion for education and working with diverse populations.


  • Payscale: https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=EnglishLanguageLearner(ELL)Specialist/Salary
  • Indeed: https://www.indeed.com/salaries/english-language-learner-specialist-Salaries
  • Glassdoor: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/english-language-learner-specialist-salary-SRCH_KO0,34.htm

Career Outlook

If you're considering a career as an English Language Learner (ELL) Specialist in the education industry, you'll be happy to know that the job outlook is positive over the next 5 years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. ELL specialists work with students whose first language is not English to improve their language skills and help them succeed academically. The demand for these specialists is expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations, thanks to the increasing number of students whose first language is not English. The job prospects for ELL Specialists are good, as they continue to be in high demand, especially in areas with large concentrations of non-English-speaking students. 

Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is an English Language Learner Specialist in education?

A: An ELL Specialist is someone who helps students whose first language is not English to learn, speak and understand the language so they can succeed academically.

Q: What are some common duties of an ELL Specialist?

A: An ELL Specialist's key responsibilities include assessing student language proficiency, developing and implementing curriculum, and providing accommodations for ELL students.

Q: What qualifications do I need to become an ELL Specialist?

A: Typically, a bachelor's degree in education, linguistics or a related field, along with training or experience specifically in teaching English as a second language is required for this position. 

Q: How does an ELL Specialist differ from a regular teacher?

A: While all teachers teach students, an ELL Specialist has specialized skills and training to teach students who are learning English as a second language. Their focus is on helping ELL students to comprehend English before diving into other core content areas.

Q: What is the expected earning for an ELL Specialist?

A: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a language specialist in education in May 2020 was $63,930. However, pay may vary depending on the location, education level, and experience of the ELL Specialist.

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