Want to see the world in 2014?
Can you see yourself living and working in Spain, Japan or Brazil?
Do you want to kick off you career by gaining international work experience in Shanghai, Istanbul or Buenos Aires?
An English speaker, especially with a TEFL certification (an accredited training course for teaching English as a foreign language), you may pursue a
teaching English abroad in more than 50 nations around the globe, even without prior teaching English experience or an education degree. If you want to get back overseas – and maybe get paid to do it – here are some
great tips to help you get started.
Earn Your TEFL Certification
You might not need prior teaching experience or a degree in education to teach English abroad, but
you may need to take a TEFL certification course
that helps provide you with the skills you might need to be able to manage a classroom and provide professional level instruction to your students. In
addition, language schools and institutes around the world looking to hire foreign English teachers may require an accredited 120-hour TEFL certification
for employment consideration. It’s also worth noting that quality TEFL training programs may also provide good career services assistance to help you find
jobs and navigate the hiring process.
Consider East Asia or the Middle East
Europe and Latin America first-time English teachers may earn enough to support themselves, live comfortably and enjoy a fantastic international experience, but
they typically “break even” financially meaning that they make enough to cover the bills, but maybe not enough to put money in the bank at the end of the
month. On the other hand in
East Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc.) and the Persian Gulf countries of the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, United Arab
Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.), many first-time English teachers may
make enough to save 30%-50% of their income after expenses, which may range from $500 -$1,000 a month in the bank. This may be great for making student loan payments and funding extra travel.
Be aware of hiring seasons and interview procedures
Most schools in Asia, the Middle East, and some European nations like Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine will interview you in advance from your home country
by phone and Skype, so you could potentially line up a job before departing for the country where you plan to teach. While there are some exceptions – in
nations like Chile and Mexico, for example – most schools in Latin America and Western Europe interview and hire locally face-to-face, so if you want to
teach in Italy or Argentina, count on going there to interview and begin teaching.
Also, be aware of hiring seasons! Most language schools and institutes in Europe interview and hire in September and again in January, while schools in
South America tend to hire in March and again in July-August. In Central America, top hiring seasons are January and June, and in Asia, and some other
nations like Mexico, Russia and Turkey, demand is so high that schools are recruiting and hiring year-round.
Be financially prepared
One of the great aspects of teaching English abroad is that it could provide you with sustainable income while you live and travel abroad, however, you
will incur some start-up costs. TEFL certification may typically cost $1,200-$2,000 and in many cases you will need another $1,000-$2,000 to get yourself
to your destination country and to support yourself while you get settled until you start getting paid. You could lower start-up costs by interviewing in
advance for positions in East Asia, where many schools may also provide free airfare and housing.
What are some top countries for teaching English abroad in 2014?
Major Asian nations
China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam represent the largest and potentially higher paying job markets.
Top European job markets
include Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Turkey.
may also be a huge job market for teaching English overseas. Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica are all great places
to teach. Latin America may be a particularly a good job market for those without a college degree and also for non-native English speakers.
In the Middle East, Persian Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E., including Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Kuwait,
Qatar and Oman may be some of the fastest growing job markets for teaching English abroad and they potentially pay well. However, they are also competitive
job markets and many schools prefer to hire those with a professional teaching background and/or an education degree. Morocco and Tunisia may also be
Be flexible and open minded and do your research!
An English speaker with a TEFL certification may viably pursue teaching professionally in 50 countries or more, even without a background in teaching or a
college degree. But to make it happen, you need to be prepared and do your homework. To get started, here are
6 great resources to help you research opportunities for teaching English abroad.
John Bentley is a Senior Admissions Advisor and at the
International TEFL Academy, which trains and certifies 1,500 people a year to teach English abroad and provides lifetime job search guidance to all students and graduates.