Teach English abroad | Prospects.ac.uk (2023)

TEFL certification provides you with a globally-recognised teaching qualification, while equipping you with the skills and confidence to teach English to students in another country

Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?

The short answer is no. In China, South America and some parts of South East Asia, a good grasp of the English language is enough. If you're looking at teaching English abroad without a degree, a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) qualification or volunteering in a school is a great way to build your experience.

However, TEFL is an increasingly competitive jobs market, so a degree in English, modern languages, linguistics or education may help you to secure a teaching post. In some countries, such as Japan and South Korea, you'll need a degree to get your visa.

Each country has different entry requirements for its TEFL teachers, so carry out some in-depth research to ascertain what you'll need. A proficiency for English, good organisation skills and the ability to communicate effectively are just some of the skills you'll need to be successful.

You'll need a visa to work as TEFL teacher, but the type will differ between countries - so you'll need to do some research to find out if you're eligible. According to TEFLonline.net:

  • for popular TEFL locations like Italy and Spain you'll need a tourist visa that lasts for 90 days
  • the Middle East is typically organised and your permit will be sorted by your employer
  • TEFL jobs in major locations in Asia will usually come with a work permit.

You can learn more about teaching English as a foreign language in individual countries by viewing our working abroad profiles.

(Video) Teaching English Abroad is a trap...

Do I need a TEFL qualification?

You don't need a TEFL qualification for all teaching jobs but finding employment will be much easier if you have it. This is because many other positions aren't as well paid and they're not always with the most reputable employers.

In order to get a TEFL qualification, you'll need to successfully complete a TEFL course, after which you'll be awarded TEFL certification. This gives you the skills and confidence to stand up in front of a class of students and teach effectively, so it's definitely worth considering, especially if you don't already have any teaching experience.

Those with a TEFL qualification can expect to earn on average between £7.50 and £15 per hour, but this will vary depending on the country and the work you're doing. Whether you're a native speaker or have additional qualifications or a specific degree - this can also enhance your wage.

You can find a global directory of TEFL courses at DoTEFL.

Discover what to expect as an English as a foreign language teacher.

Which TEFL course is right for me?

Deciding which course to take will depend on whether you envisage a career in teaching, or if you just want to use your TEFL qualification to gain experience and see the world.

The most commonly accepted TEFL courses include:

(Video) The Teacher Trap - Teaching English Abroad Pros and Cons

  • Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Adults) - Part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Assessment English offers the trusted CELTA qualification at level 5 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), enabling you to teach adults. The 120-hour minimum course is available to study full time or part time from around 90 approved centres across the UK. To be eligible, you'll need to be 18 or over, have reached a standard of education equivalent for entry into higher education (A-levels) and your written and spoken English will need to be at the required level. If you study the course full time, it will usually take you four to five weeks to complete, while part time can take from a few months up to a year. It costs around £1,400 (typically including the Cambridge Assessment Fee). There's also an online blended learning option, with hands-on-teaching practice complementing the online study.
  • Trinity College London CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) - This is an equivalent to the CELTA certificate, with almost identical entry criteria and course structure. The level 5 CertTESOL course involves a minimum of 130 hours of training and 70 hours of additional study. As with the CELTA qualification, the cost varies depending on the course provider, but you can expect to pay about £1,000.
  • Online courses - Make sure it's at least 120 hours in length and includes a classroom-based teaching component of six hours minimum. While online courses may seem like a flexible option, it's important to note that a large proportion of employers require class-based qualifications. Online and classroom course provider The TEFL Org now offers level 5 TEFL certification.
  • Masters degrees - You can also choose to do a Masters degree specialising in TEFL. Many higher education institutions provide this type of course. Search for TEFL and TESOL Masters courses.

What will I learn on a TEFL course?

The course content will depend on the individual provider, but you'll usually be taught:

  • how to work out what level a student is at and the best way to approach the different levels
  • the basics of English including phonology, lexis and grammar
  • lesson planning
  • how to organise your classroom and use the board
  • how to create tests and oversee assessments
  • techniques to improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills to identify and adapt to different learning styles.

How much is a TEFL course?

As mentioned in the detail for both CELTA and CertTESOL qualifications, it's the course provider that sets the price, but they typically range between £700 and £1,400, including the examination fees.

Are my English language skills good enough?

For most courses, you only need to be a native-level speaker of English and have the enthusiasm to learn something new.

A TEFL course will teach you the basics, but if you feel that your skills might not be up to scratch then many providers offer grammar courses, covering everything from nouns to adjectives and adverbs.

Do I need to speak the local language?

No, in fact it's often preferred that you only speak English in the classroom to help the students learn. Many TEFL courses teach you techniques to overcome the language barrier including drawing pictures and using props.

Where are the best places to teach English abroad?

There's high demand for teachers in the following countries:

  • China
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South America (Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica)
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Thailand.

Look for TEFL jobs and placements, and also find information on courses at:

(Video) Teaching English Abroad: What You Need to Know

What about volunteering opportunities in teaching?

In your TEFL job search, you may come across opportunities to volunteer overseas to help support schools that can't afford to employ international teachers. You can also help to break the poverty cycle by improving other people's English skills to help them get a job in the future.

There's the possibility of volunteering for two weeks or more, so it's an ideal way to see if you'd like to commit to a longer permanent teaching job.

You can find out about volunteering opportunities abroad with Pod Volunteer.

Can I teach English to students online?

It's not just about teaching overseas - as well as taking the TEFL course at home, many providers are now giving teachers the chance to teach English online too. All you need to teach English online is a recognised 120-hour TEFL qualification, a webcam, plus a reliable Wi-Fi network. Bear in mind that some restrictions may apply for certain online teaching platforms, but see the individual provider for their eligibility requirements.

You can explore how it works, get qualified and find opportunities at:

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Is TEFL enough to teach abroad? ›

In many countries, having a TEFL certificate and being a native-English speaker are enough to get a job teaching English abroad, no degree required. You do not need professional teaching experience, a teaching license, a degree in education or even a college degree to teach English abroad.

Is 120 hour TEFL enough? ›

120 hours is the bare minimum that most ESL employers will ask you to complete. Of those 120 hours, many ESL companies will ask that you have some classroom experience. There are several TEFL courses that include a number of hours that are classroom-based and can be perfect for applications that require experience.

Is 35 too old to teach English abroad? ›

Generally speaking, there are no age limits to teach English abroad as long as you are over 21. Although many teach abroad programs target recent college graduates and people in their twenties, older adults can leverage their maturity and experience to secure jobs teaching abroad well beyond their sixties.

Is 40 too old to teach English abroad? ›

Although most program's target people fresh out of college or in their twenties, there are no age restrictions for teaching English overseas.

Which country pays TEFL teachers the most? ›

Generally speaking, the highest paid TEFL jobs can be found in these countries:
  • UAE. Average salaries: US$3,500 – 5,000 per month. ...
  • Japan. Average salaries: US$2,000 – 4,000 per month. ...
  • Saudi Arabia. Average salaries: US$3,000 – 4,000 per month. ...
  • Hong Kong. ...
  • Kuwait. ...
  • Oman. ...
  • South Korea. ...
  • Taiwan.

How hard is it to teach English abroad? ›

Teaching Requires a Lot of Preparation

The first few weeks of teaching abroad are going to be the toughest, not only because you're getting to know a million kids and learning the layout of the school, but also because you're pretty much going to be thrown head first into the class syllabi.

Can I finish TEFL in a week? ›

Getting a basic grasp of TEFL can take as little as 20 hours (in the case of a short classroom course), but getting qualified enough to confidently and effectively teach abroad can take much longer depending on the depth of learning you want to achieve.

Can you fail TEFL? ›

It is possible to fail a TEFL course. If you have a degree already and are a native English speaker, you will absolutely be able to handle the course load.

Is it hard to pass TEFL? ›

Generally speaking TEFL is not hard to pass. Face-to-face courses generally have interviews and strict admission requirements so if it is not likely to complete or pass the course, they will not be admitted in the first place.

Which country needs more English teachers? ›

In Asia, China is among the countries with the largest demand for teachers. It is attracting more English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. If you are considering Asia, countries such as Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea can be your destination.

Can you make a living teaching English abroad? ›

As a teacher abroad, it's perfectly reasonable and attainable to earn a decent wage. Depending on the country or region, and your prior teaching experience and qualifications, you can be earning anywhere from $2,000 to over $6,000 per month!

Where are English teachers most needed? ›

There are many countries with high demand for English teachers. Non-native English students are likely to have learned, are learning, or will learn to speak English at a school or academy.
9 countries looking for English teachers
  1. Brazil. ...
  2. Cambodia. ...
  3. China. ...
  4. Colombia. ...
  5. Mexico. ...
  6. Morocco. ...
  7. Russia. ...
  8. South Korea.
3 Mar 2021

Which country does not require teaching English? ›

Here are just a few amazing countries where you can teach English without a degree:
  • Cambodia. Cambodia is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia thanks to its ancient temples, such as Angkor Wat, and its incredible beaches in the South. ...
  • Mexico. ...
  • Costa Rica. ...
  • Nicaragua. ...
  • Argentina. ...
  • Russia. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • Romania.

Can you make a living teaching English in Europe? ›

Salaries range from 700 to 1,000 euro per month depending on location. As the pay is quite modest by European standards, many teachers choose to top up their income by working as private language tutors in their spare time.

Can you teach English abroad for 3 months? ›

Teaching English abroad is a fantastic opportunity to travel, learn about a new culture and get paid while you're doing it. With few exceptions, anybody who is a fluent English speaker and has a degree can find an ESL job overseas. However, most language schools only hire teachers for a minimum of one-year contracts.

Is a TEFL certificate worth it? ›

Is TEFL Certification Worth It? Yes. If you want to get a good teaching job and be an effective teacher for your students, then it is definitely worth it. Remember, most schools worldwide require a TEFL certification; and once you're certified you can the ball rolling on applying and interviewing for jobs.

What is the highest paying ESL company? ›

14 highest paid teaching jobs online
  • Cambly. ...
  • Italki. ...
  • Synthesis School. ...
  • English First. ...
  • Englishhunt. ...
  • Palfish. ...
  • Oakary. Oakary is unique in that this platform actually connects you with a number of teaching jobs. ...
  • iTutor. For qualified teachers, iTutor offers highly competitive wages with a pretty flexible schedule.
18 Oct 2022

Are TEFL teachers in demand? ›

With estimates of up to two billion people using and learning English worldwide, the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) represents one of the largest and fastest-growing fields of international education in recent decades.

Is TEFL enough to teach English? ›

Yes, you can teach English in the United States with your TEFL certification. There are millions of non-native English speakers living, working and studying in the United States and the demand for English language instruction is huge.

Can you teach English abroad without experience? ›

Just check out local tutoring centers or services offered to those learning English as a second language. This is a great way to build your experience and find out if you're ready for the classroom abroad! So, long story short, you don't need teaching experience to get a job teaching abroad.

What is the best qualification to teach English abroad? ›

To teach English abroad, you will need an ESL teaching qualification like a TEFL certificate and a valid passport. Though some programs require a bachelor's degree, many countries hire English teachers without a degree or teaching experience as long as they speak English fluently and have a TEFL certification.

Is TEFL a lifetime? ›

A TEFL certification does not expire. Once earned, a TEFL certificate is valid for life. A TEFL certificate doesn't require any additional training or coursework to renew it, and it does not have an expiration date. You can start work immediately after receiving your TEFL certificate.

How much does a 120-hour TEFL cost? ›

You'll see a range of prices when you browse online TEFL/TESOL courses – from $150 to as much as $1,500. The average 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL course with a tutor typically falls in the middle range of this, at around $300-$600.

How long do TEFL jobs last? ›

Long-term Contracts

A TEFL placement is considered long-term if the length is 3-6 months or more. Long-term contracts cover all types of jobs; language schools, private schools, universities… the list goes on.

Which one is better TEFL or CELTA? ›

CELTA is certainly a widely recognized and respected type of TEFL certification. However, that doesn't mean it's the best TEFL certification for you. If you're interested in teaching children, for example, a TEFL certification is better since CELTA is specific to adults.

What is the pass mark for TEFL? ›

The pass mark is 80%. There are nine tests in total. The two assignments are both individually graded as Pass or Fail.

Is TEFL Level 5 hard? ›

The Level 5 is more challenging than a Level 3 Course, and this means you'll struggle if you aren't a native English speaker. If you're not a native English speaker but your English is near native, you can enrol onto the course. We must stress that for Level 5, native English is best.

How do I pass my TEFL interview? ›

7 Tips: How to Prepare For a TEFL Interview
  1. Sell yourself. Like any other interview you'll need to be prepared to talk about yourself! ...
  2. A Smile Goes a Long Way! … ...
  3. Present Yourself Well. ...
  4. Speak Clearly. ...
  5. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! ...
  6. Show an Interest. ...
  7. Ask Questions!

How long does a 120 hour TEFL course take? ›

Depending on how the course is structured, a 120-hour TEFL course can take anywhere from one month to six months. Shorter courses are more intensive and require full-time study.

Is TEFL or Ielts better? ›


Many people compare IELTS to TEFL. However, the two English teaching certificates are not mutually exclusive. To put it simply, having an IELTS does not mean you shouldn't get a TEFL and vice versa. In my experience, holding both a TEFL and IELTS is a powerful combination to get hired and find students.

Do TEFL jobs pay well? ›

The pay to teach English abroad varies, but you can expect to earn a decent salary. In top-paying countries, teachers can get paid a salary of anywhere from $2,000 to over $5,000 USD per month. Your TEFL salary will depend on your position, qualifications and the country you teach in.

Which European country pays English teachers the most? ›

Which European country offers the highest salary for English teachers? The highest-paying ESL jobs tend to be in the Western destinations with higher rates of economic development. France and Germany tend to pay the most.

What type of teacher is most in demand? ›

Types of teachers in highest demand by 2030.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL). ESL educators are some of the most in demand teachers. ...
  • Math Teaching. Another teacher subject in demand is mathematics. ...
  • Science Teaching. What about science teachers? ...
  • Social Studies Teaching. ...
  • Special Education Teaching.
18 Dec 2020

Which country pays teachers the most? ›

Luxembourg. According to an OECD report, Luxembourg (a European country) has the highest-paid teachers in the world. Another source indicates that a bachelor's degree holder is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career.

How much do Celta teachers get paid? ›

Qualified teachers receive a minimum of £415 per week including board and lodgings at our summer site for 15 Contact hours per week…

What country is the highest paid teachers salary? ›

Top 11 Countries Where Teachers Are Paid the Highest Salary 2022
  • Switzerland: The Swiss educational system is governed by the cantonal governments rather than the central government. ...
  • Luxembourg: Luxembourg is regarded for having excellent educational standards.
21 May 2022

Which country is easiest to teach English? ›

Germany. One of the easiest countries to teach English also just so happens to have the best beer and pretzels around. While Germany is sometimes mocked for its rule-following and seriousness, these are great pros when speaking about classroom teaching.

Which European country pays teachers the most? ›

Annual gross starting salaries of teachers (2020/2021)

Leaving aside Luxembourg, the annual starting salary was above €50,000 in just two countries, namely Switzerland (€66,972) and Germany (€54,129). The annual salary in France and Italy was less than half the German figure.

What countries in Europe need English teachers? ›

Popular Destinations to Teach English in Europe
  • Spain: A very popular destination within the ESL community, Spain is always looking for teachers to fill positions in English language schools. ...
  • Italy: ...
  • Czech Republic: ...
  • France: ...
  • Austria:

Which country has lowest English proficiency? ›

These include China, The Gambia, Malawi, Colombia, Swaziland, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Algeria, Uganda, Yemen, Chile and Tanzania. We also used the EF English Proficiency Index, which ranks countries according to their English language proficiency.

How long does it take to get a TEFL Certificate? ›

Note: We commonly get questions about how long a TEFL course lasts. Typically, a fully accredited TEFL certification course will last anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Shorter, 4-week long courses will generally run full-time (30-40 hours per week) and are very demanding.

Can I get a TEFL certificate without a degree? ›

Yes, you can teach English online without a degree! While some of the major online teaching companies require a degree, there are many that don't. A TEFL certification can provide you with the training and qualifications that you need to get a job teaching English online.

Are English teachers paid well in Germany? ›

On average, English teachers in Germany can expect to make anywhere between $1,000 - $2,200 USD per month from working at a private language school with the option to earn additional income through private tutoring (€15-€30 / $17-$35 USD per hour) and teaching English online ($10-$20 USD per hour).

How much does Germany pay English teachers? ›

Types of English teaching jobs in Germany (+ salaries) On average, you can expect to pull in $1,400–2,250/month ($14-22/hr). Some job types tend to pay more than others – for example, higher education and international schools. Here we feature some of the most common types of ESL work available in Germany.

Is teaching abroad worth it? ›

If you seek to get paid to live overseas in a foreign country while making a difference in the lives of others, then teaching English abroad is definitely worth it. You will challenge yourself, and grow as a person, while seeing and doings thing you never would have experienced otherwise.

Is 30 too old to teach English abroad? ›

Are there any age restrictions for teaching English overseas? In general, there isn't an age limit for teacher job opportunities abroad. Even if you've never been in a classroom since your college days, that doesn't mean you can't consider teaching English abroad in your thirties.

Is TEFL course Recognised internationally? ›

Some universities and colleges offer TEFL certification courses. You can have peace of mind knowing that these courses will always be high quality and recognized by language schools worldwide.

What level of TEFL do I need to teach abroad? ›

A TEFL certification (at least 100 hours in length) is the minimum ESL qualification normally required for a teaching job with ESL/language schools around the world.

How many hours of TEFL do I need to teach abroad? ›

The vast majority of reputable employers worldwide will require a 120-hour TEFL qualification from a properly accredited TEFL course provider.

What TEFL do I need to teach abroad? ›

To teach abroad, you will only need your TEFL certificate for most countries. Some countries such as Japan and South Korea only give a work visa to teachers who have a degree, so you would need to be a graduate and be TEFL qualified to work there.

Can you fail a TEFL course? ›

It is possible to fail a TEFL course. If you have a degree already and are a native English speaker, you will absolutely be able to handle the course load.

Which is better CELTA or TEFL? ›

CELTA is certainly a widely recognized and respected type of TEFL certification. However, that doesn't mean it's the best TEFL certification for you. If you're interested in teaching children, for example, a TEFL certification is better since CELTA is specific to adults.

Can I get I visa with TEFL certificate? ›

Visa Service. If you are a non-EU TEFL student, you can apply for a 3 month tourist visa, and you are free to study during this period. For candidates from the United States, the 90 day tourist visa is automatic and there is no need for paperwork.

Is TEFL Level 3 enough? ›

What is a Level 3 qualification? A Level 3 TEFL qualification is equivalent to an A Level in the UK. This course is perfect for getting a good TEFL job whether you want to work online, work abroad in non-native English speaking countries or volunteer around the world.

Can you teach abroad without experience? ›

This is a great way to build your experience and find out if you're ready for the classroom abroad! So, long story short, you don't need teaching experience to get a job teaching abroad. But the more training and experience you have, the better your teaching contract will be.

Is it hard to get a TEFL job? ›

Landing your first TEFL job is the hardest. Once you've got a year or more of teaching experience under your belt, things become easier. But in this sense the TEFL industry is no different to any other. And the advantage of the TEFL industry is the sheer demand for learning English.

Does a TEFL certificate expire? ›

Not only does a TEFL certification not expire, it's also accepted worldwide.

Does teaching English abroad pay well? ›

The pay to teach English abroad varies, but you can expect to earn a decent salary. In top-paying countries, teachers can get paid a salary of anywhere from $2,000 to over $5,000 USD per month. Your TEFL salary will depend on your position, qualifications and the country you teach in.

Can I teach English abroad without a TEFL certificate? ›

CONCLUSION. Even without a TEFL certificate, you can still apply for a teaching job abroad. However, you will probably need to complete a TEFL course before you complete your visa application, and for most counties, you will need a degree.

What countries are in most need for English teachers? ›

The best places to teach English abroad to make money are South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Gulf Arab States and Vietnam. Being an English teacher in these countries will have you earning enough money to save anywhere from $500 - $1,500 USD per month.


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