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English Language Teaching

English language teaching is often referred to as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language). These acronyms all mean the same thing: teaching English to non-native English speakers. This is when a person who is a fluent or native English speaker goes abroad to a non-native English speaking country to teach English.


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A group of TEFL teachers at the Great Wall of China

How can I start English language teaching?

To be an English language teacher, you need to be fluent in English and you’ll also usually need a TEFL / TESOL qualification to show that you have had proper training in the field. You also need to be willing and able to travel to another country (if you’re from a native English speaking country such as the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand).

When you’re choosing a TEFL / TESOL course, you’ll need to make sure that your qualification will be recognised around the world and that it’s going to give you the best training possible to prepare you for you new role.

To do this, your English language teaching course must:

Be accredited and / or regulated – this means that the course has been verified by an official body to show that it complies with their framework on suitable training and information. Essentially, this shows that the course is of good quality and that your certificate will be recognised internationally.

Offer at least 120 hours of training – this is the minimum number of hours you’ll need to train for to get a TEFL job. Most employers will ask for a TEFL/TESOL certificate for at least 120 hours. Most good TEFL course providers will offer courses for upwards of 120 hours to help you boost your employment potential.

Give you access to qualified tutors – this is to give you the best chance of passing your course and to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Most TEFL / TESOL courses take place online so you’ll need remote access either by phone / email / web chat.

English language teacher and students

What other qualifications do I need to do English language teaching?

To be an English language teacher, you’ll normally need a TEFL / TESOL qualification – that’s it! You don’t need any other qualifications or any teaching experience for most positions. However, for certain countries, you may be required to have a Bachelor’s Degree for visa purposes, but there are plenty of countries where you can work as an English language teacher without a degree.

A man travelling in Thailand

Where in the world can I do English language teaching?

If you hold a Bachelor’s Degree, here’s a list of some of the most popular countries for English language teachers:

– China

– Thailand

– Vietnam

– Japan

– Hong Kong

– South Korea

– The UAE

If you don’t hold a Bachelor’s Degree, here’s a list of some of the most popular countries to teach English in:

– Cambodia

– Spain

– Mexico

– Argentina

– Brazil

– Chile

– Peru

Please note: there are many more countries where there’s a high demand for English language teachers, the above is just an example of some of the most popular.

English teacher taking photo

Can I do English language teaching online?

Yes, English language teaching online is a fast-growing industry due to the rise of the ‘digital nomad’. This term refers to people who can work online from anywhere and use their online income to fund their travels around the world.

To teach English online, you’ll still need a TEFL / TESOL qualification and whether you need a Bachelor’s Degree depends on whether or not you’re working for an online language school and whether they require one.

If you choose to do English language teaching online, you’ll need to decide whether you want to work freelance or for a language school. If you choose to work freelance, you’ll need to create a website / advertise online, find your own clients, set your own rates and decide your own working hours. If you choose to work for a language school, you’ll save on website / advertising fees and they’ll find your clients but they’ll also set your rates and decide your working hours so there are pros and cons to both options.

ESOL teacher

How do I apply for an English language teaching job?

Once you’ve got your TEFL / TESOL qualification, the best way to find a job is online. As teachers are applying from all over the world, it’s easiest for employers to advertise vacancies on online platforms where you can submit an application. This is will then be reviewed and you may be invites for a Skype interview to further check your suitability for the role. If you are successful, often employers will ask to see a copy of your passport and / or degree to check your identity (this is due to previous fraud in this field).

Don’t be alarmed if you are asked to prove who you are as this is common practice. However, it’s advisable to research the organisation that you’re applying to to ensure that they are a known and legitimate employer before sending any documentation to them.

Some reputable TEFL job sites to search on are:

You may need to register as a job seeker (for free) and then you can filter your search by location. For expected salaries, please see below.

Girl in the sea on a beach in Thailand
Great Wall of China scene
English language teaching location

What can i expect to be paid for english language teaching?

TEFL teachers’ salaries can vary widely depending on location, employer, level of experience and what type of teaching you do.

If you choose to teach online, we would suggest that you can typically earn the following:

· General / conversational English – £8+ per lesson
· Business English – From £20+ per lesson
· Examination preparation – Approx. £20 per lesson
· Job interview coaching – Approx. £15 per lesson
· English lessons for specific nationalities – From £10+ per lesson

For expected salaries by location, please see the below links to popular English language teaching destinations:

Find Us

i-to-i TEFL
4th Floor, Wilson House, Lorne Park Road,
Bournemouth, England, BH1 1JN,
United Kingdom

i-to-i TEFL is a part of Teach and Travel Group Ltd.
Registered Company No. 7935847.