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Help Wanted: ESL Teachers in Louisiana

Certain areas of the state of Louisiana have seen a steady rise in the number of open ESL teaching jobs over the past 10 years. That is good news for current or aspiring ESL teachers. However, it may come as a surprise to most, since Louisiana has the fourth-lowest percentage of EL (English language) students in the country (1.2 percent).

The key element here is growth. According to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition data, the number of EL students in the state grew by 44.1 percent from 2000 to 2010. Another key element in the ESL job outlook for Louisiana is proportions. The state's total EL population declined after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but now exceeds pre-Katrina levels. This means strong job prospects for those who want to devote their careers to teaching ELL students.

ESL teachers are needed in Louisiana

ESL teaching jobs are plentiful in Louisiana

One area in particular is New Orleans, where despite a sharp drop-off in total enrollment, the proportion of EL students has grown at a steady clip since 2005. In New Orleans, the rise in numbers of these populations is partly due to the economic recovery that slowly took place after the devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina.

Another area of the state where EL teachers are in demand is Lafayette Parish. Reflecting a statewide trend in urban areas, the Lafayette Parish school district has seen a sharp rise in the number of Hispanic students over the past 10 years. Growth in the number of English language students is explosive, at rates far exceeding state averages. Since the year 2000, the Lafayette Parish School System has witnessed an eye-popping 296.8 percent growth (as far as the data takes us, which is up to 2010).

Here too, a strong economy draws people who seek jobs and hope for opportunity. In the case of the Lafayette Parish, Hispanics are flocking to the area. In fact, 73 percent of the Lafayette Parish ESL students are Hispanic.

From the school district’s point of view, anyone with expertise in teaching ELL students is welcome to flock to the area as well. That is because they are in strong demand, especially in the past two years. Spanish-speaking students with language barriers enter the school system at such a pace that the district has issued a “critical need” to fill ESL teaching jobs. One way for teachers to prepare for an ESL teaching job in Louisiana is to enroll in an online Master of Education program that specializes in ESL.

If you have the proper teacher preparation (or you seek it) and will be embarking upon a job hunt soon, Louisiana might just be the place to be.

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