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Can I teach abroad as an NQT?

As an NQT, you’ll have recently finished your PGCE and will be looking to start your induction period of teaching in a state school, where you will be formally assessed, with the process lasting a total of 3 terms (one school year).  Whilst thousands of NQTs will be starting their induction period in September, a lot also review their options; and as a TEFL provider we often get asked: can I teach abroad as an NQT?

If you’re one of the NQTs wondering exactly the same thing, read on to find out more…

The law states in England and Wales that once you’ve been granted Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you’ll need to undergo an induction period lasting one school year.  To do this, you’ll already have your PGCE, where you’ll have learnt the theory of teaching, whilst applying this with school placements.

In our previous article, we answered the question of whether you can teach abroad with a PGCE.  The answer was that ultimately, you would still need a TEFL qualification; but a PGCE would certainly be of benefit and put you ahead of the competition.

One thing to make clear is that teaching English as a Foreign Language in a school overseas won’t qualify as an induction period for an NQT.  You could TEFL overseas for a couple of years before moving back to the UK, and you’d still be an NQT; the reason being that the induction must be completed in a “relevant school” in England or Wales.  There are some schools overseas where you can teach during your induction period, but they must be a British school overseas, and a member of the Department for Education (DfE) accredited association – you can find out more information here. Therefore, schools in which you would TEFL do not qualify.

However, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from teaching abroad as an NQT.  There is no time frame to complete your induction period, so you can go overseas and teach for as long as you want.  Many NQTs find that it’s a great break from training – whilst they gain invaluable teaching experience, it’s in a totally different environment… not to mention the travel and cultural benefits!  You may decide to TEFL for a year and then find that you enjoy it so much, you want to make it your long term career!

As an NQT, you’ll already have much more teaching experience than many others who wish to teach overseas; and this will put you one step ahead of the competition.  Places like South Korea, Western Europe and the Middle East are all extremely competitive and like candidates who can bring something extra: perfect if you’re an NQT!  In these areas, you’ll enjoy higher salaries, longer holidays and extra benefits.  Take Saudi Arabia for instance: with an average monthly salary of £1,950 (tax free!) for a TEFL teacher, it’s much higher than a typical NQT’s salary in the UK of £1,617 (not including student loan repayments).  In addition to this, Saudi Arabian employers will often offer hugely discounted (if not free) accommodation, and free airfare – so there’s no need to worry about your pay packet or standard of living!

Ultimately, teaching English as a foreign language is a great way of gaining relevant experience for your CV, whilst earning money abroad and living as a local.  You can definitely teach abroad as an NQT, and will most likely find it easier to secure positions… so what’s stopping you from joining the thousands of others NQTs to embark on a TEFL adventure overseas?


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  1. Trevor Lynch

    If I have a TEFL certifiacte can I apply for jobs abroad that ask for Qualified Teachers Only?

  2. Johng907

    Hello! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy

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