The first thing you want to find out when searching for a good American accent training course is what the trainer's qualifications are: is he/she a certified speech and language pathologist, or trained as an ESL teacher? You will find both. You will want to look thoroughly for the instructor that you feel is best qualified to teach you, as well as the person with whom you feel a connection. In other words, you should really like working with your instructor, whoever it is.
Let's first begin by talking about what an ESL teacher is. ESL stands for "English as a second language", and this type of instructor is trained to teach the English language to anyone who is learning it as a second language. They should be certified to teach English by taking training courses, such as the TESOL, TEFL, or others. They do not require a college degree or master's degree to be an instructor. ESL instructors often teach individuals who have limited or no experience with English and work to develop vocabulary, oral grammar, and stressing and intonation patterns. They also instruct individuals who have a good foundation for English and focus on improving pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar skills.
A speech and language pathologist must have a master's degree and needs to be licensed and nationally certified to practice. They are trained to treat speech and language disorders of all types, although in the past ten years or so they have begun taking a much more active role in teaching accent reduction. They usually begin where ESL instruction ends and work to help individuals improve all aspects of communication, both oral and written. Please keep in mind that individuals who speak English as a second language do NOT have a speech or language disorder, but a language difference. This means that there is nothing physically wrong with them to cause the speech and language differences they have. These differences occur only as a result of not having the same sound system or grammar structure in their native language as we do in English. Because of the speech pathologist's extensive knowledge of the underlying aspects of communication, they have expertise in understanding just where the tongue is inside the mouth when forming sounds and can easily identify the changes a person needs to make to change an accented sound into the correct American English pronunciation. They also have extensive training in language development and are well-equipped to teach all aspects of grammar. There is no other professional who has this type of intensive training.
But what type of program is best when looking for an American accent training course? Look for an accent reduction program that addresses you as an individual, and your needs and choose an instructor you like! Even if you decide to choose the most well-known, established company to work with, if you don't relate well to your instructor, chances are you won't like your classes and won't learn much. Also, make sure your course is customized for you, based on your unique needs and goals. You should receive an in-depth speech assessment and have input as to what you would like to accomplish. For example, if you need to give presentations frequently at work, then delivering effective presentations should be on your list of goals, if you feel it is a weakness. Once the evaluation is completed, the instructor is ready to develop a program for you and classes can begin.
With the world at your fingertips on the internet, choosing the right accent reduction program can be tedious and time-consuming. Don't give up! Look at different websites to see what the different companies have to offer. You can tell a lot by the information they provide and you can get an idea about the methods they use to teach accent reduction. Once you have narrowed down your search, try contacting companies directly and speak to them in person. You should get a feel for which company and instructor best fits your needs and go from there.