How to make a career out of TEFL

One of the biggest misconceptions we hear time and time again here at i-to-i is that “TEFL is only suitable for young adults/students whilst they are travelling the world on a gap year”. Although many people on their gap year TEFL to fund their trip of a lifetime, there is so much more to TEFL than just that!

So, you’ve completed your TEFL Course, and now you are wondering where you can take your TEFL career? Or maybe you are wondering whether TEFL even can be a career? Our answer: you can absolutely make a life-long career out of TEFL, whether that’s abroad or Teaching English Online. Keep on reading for our top tips.


Online courses

  1. 1. Freelance teaching English online

    Online tutoring is an ideal way to make some extra cash without having to move abroad (if that’s not your bag) and build up experience on your CV. Plus, if you’re doing it freelance (sourcing your own students and setting your own working hours / rates) you can choose when you want to work and how long for. Dream job!

    woman on laptop smiling
  2. 2. Teaching English Abroad

    12-month contracts

    You’ll find loads of 12-month teaching jobs. If you’re planning on moving abroad, it’s likely that you’ll want to stay for a year or maybe more, so these roles are ideal for many travellers. Obviously, it also benefits the school/language centre as they’d ideally like to keep teachers for the full academic year. Once you’ve completed your 12-month contract, and you’ve made a great impression (like we know you will) there is a high chance you may be able to renew your contract! Win!


    TEFL can be an amazing career. You can start with a shorter contract if you want to test the waters. Or you can dive straight in with a longer-term contract and reap the benefits from the get-go. If you choose a 2-year+ contract, you’re more likely to get annual rewards such as, a completion bonus, flight refunds, visa or work permit reimbursements, accommodation… the list goes on. Or, you can stick with a 12-month contract and then move to a different TEFL destination each year. That’s the beauty of a career in TEFL: you’ve got tons of freedom. Yay!

    Aileen and her friends spelling out TEFL
  3. 3. Enhance your education

    TEFL doesn’t just stop at TEFL, there is a whole world of opportunities waiting for you. Alongside your TEFL qualification, there are tons of other specialist courses and TEFL PLUS courses that we offer that will help boost your skills, knowledge, and earning potential.

    Specialist Courses

    Want to jazz up your CV so you get access to the best possible TEFL jobs? Then you should consider taking a look at our specialist TEFL courses. You’ll learn specific in-depth TEFL skills around certain topics that will help you excel in the classroom, that will help improve your student’s learning experience, and that employers are going to love. Win!

    Check out some of the specialist courses we offer:


    TEFL PLUS courses

    If you are serious about boosting your TEFL freelance career and want to make a really successful career out of TEFL, then our TEFL PLUS courses are right up your street.

    TEFL PLUS Digital Skills – We have combined our most popular TEFL course with a Digital Skills for Teaching Online specialism so that if you want to teach English online (either as a freelancer or working for a company), then this course will guide you through the different technologies and platforms available. You’ll learn how to improve your TEFL lessons by using different technologies available to engage students and ensure all content is easily accessible.

    TEFL PLUS Digital Marketing – This course combines our most popular TEFL course with a Digital Marketing specialism, perfect if you are looking to freelance as an online TEFL teacher. You’ll learn how to market your TEFL services to grow a large customer base. You’ll learn a range of marketing skills, from how to create a digital marketing strategy, to how to use different marketing tools (SEO, Email, Paid Advertising, building a website). You’ll be marketing savvy with tons of students lining up for your TEFL services in no time!

    tefl students in china
  4. 4. Work your way up the TEFL Career Ladder

    After completing a few years as a TEFL teacher, you may be ready for your next challenge. Here are some of the next natural career progression roles in the TEFL industry.

    Apply for Senior TEFL Teacher or Academic Coordinator Roles

    One of the natural next steps in the TEFL career ladder is to apply for more senior TEFL roles, including both senior teaching positions and management roles. You could look at roles such as Head of Department, Young Learner Coordinator or Business English Coordinator. In these roles you’ll be expected to help junior TEFL teachers and get involved in the planning and management of more tailored classes, such as teaching Business English. Top Tip: If you’ve studied our Level 5 TEFL Diploma, you’ll get exclusive access to our 60 hour Teaching Business English Course!

    Apply for Director of Studies Roles

    If you have several years of TEFL experience, then to advance your TEFL career you could become a Director of Studies, where you could be earning mega-bucks! In this type of role your responsibilities would include looking after the academic side of the courses. Plus, you’d be getting involved in the students exams (testing and marking), and recruiting and managing other TEFL teachers.

    Open up your own language school

    If you’re settled in a particular location and have an entrepreneurial spirit, then you may want to consider setting up your own language school. You’ll get to be your own boss, set the rules and change the lives of many students and TEFL teachers. What a rewarding career!

    Inspired? Take a peek at our TEFL Courses to kick-start your TEFL career.

    teacher infront of blackboard

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