TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, is the growing industry of fluent or native English speakers travelling around the globe to teach the English language to non-native English speakers. There is a consistently high demand for English teachers and plenty of countries to choose from if you want to teach. TEFL is a great way of being able to travel the globe without having limitless funds and also benefits work experience for those wanting to teach as a career or even use the transferrable skills involved with TEFL teaching for other careers.
In order to teach English anywhere, you must first complete a TEFL course and these are also conducted in multiple locations around the globe.
The majority of TEFL courses are online-based making it easier and more convenient for students in terms of access and flexibility of learning hours. However, classroom experience contributes greatly towards student learning as it allows them to practice their theory and gain confidence in their newfound teaching skills. These days, there are many classroom course locations all around the globe to choose from, so budding TEFLers in most countries have the opportunity to attend one.
To teach English abroad, you’ll need a TEFL qualification (as mentioned above) and for most countries, that’s all you’ll need. However, some countries now require a bachelor’s degree for visa purposes, so it’s worth doing your research and being flexible about which countries you’d be willing to go and teach in.
You don’t need any prior teaching experience – although, it does help – or a second language to get an English teaching job or to do a TEFL course. On the other hand, some countries/schools may ask for a certain amount of prior teaching experience for certain roles but this is something that would be specified in the job advert.
There are a few factors to bear in mind when purchasing a TEFL course:
If you want to get global TEFL jobs, your TEFL qualification will need to be accredited or regulated by an official body in order for it to be recognised by international employers, so that you can apply for jobs. Accreditation just means that the course has been meticulously checked to ensure that it gives you the best, most suitable training for you to start teaching English. All qualifications, not just TEFL, must be accredited or regulated for them to be legitimate and worth your while. Regulation is similar to accreditation but it’s more in-depth and therefore, more desirable. If you were to complete a TEFL course that wasn’t accredited or regulated, you’d struggle to find work with it as most employers will check this.
The minimum number of hours you’d need to complete is 120 as employers won’t accept anything less than this. Most good TEFL course providers will offer courses starting at 120 hours, increasing to 300-320. Completing a higher number of hours is beneficial as it can help boost your earning potential and it also prepares you for specific aspects of teaching such as teaching teenagers or teaching grammar.
Another important factor is having remote or even direct access to professional tutor support. As most TEFL courses are online, you can expect to contact tutors either via email, over the phone or via a webchat service. If you do take a classroom course, you can obviously speak to your tutor face-to-face to get your questions answered. Having access to a tutor means that you have the best chance of passing your TEFL course and teaching globally.
Depending on your current location, you have the option to take an online, classroom or combined TEFL course. Generally, the most desirable of these is a combined TEFL course as this is a mix of flexible online learning at your own pace and a classroom course on a fixed weekend of your choice and most employers will look on the classroom training favourably. However, online TEFL courses are the most popular and you won’t have any trouble finding work with this type of qualification.
The final factor to check for when you’re looking to purchase a TEFL course is the user reviews. This can give an insight into any potential issues with the course in terms of usability, customer service and difficulty levels. Unbiased websites such as www.reviews.co.uk are useful and worth checking before you make a purchase.
There are a multitude of TEFL jobs around the globe and they are almost all advertised on online TEFL jobs boards, such as the below:
You’ll just need to enter your details and then you can view and apply for relevant positions. You’ll also need to do research into which countries you’ll be able to obtain a visa in with your passport and qualifications before you start applying.
Your salary will depend on a few factors including, your qualification level, which country you’re teaching in, your experience, the type of school you’re teaching in and your visa. If you want to earn more money, you can expect to be working in a private school, full-time hours and have a higher expectation of your teaching ability.
Most new TEFL teachers will earn between £500-£1500 per month and this may increase if you stay at a school for longer. If salary is an important factor for you when applying for global TEFL jobs, click here for a list of some popular TEFL countries and their average salaries.