Do I Need Experience to Teach English Abroad?

If you are pondering going abroad, taking a gap year, or just taking a vacation, you may be asking yourselves questions like “Shall I stay in my job? Is this right for me?”.  Although we might not have all the answers to all your questions, we can certainly answer one that we get asked a lot:

Do I need experience to teach English abroad?

The short and simple answer is NO.  All you need is enthusiasm, a plane ticket, a passport and a TEFL certificate – so there’s really no excuse for not getting out there and doing it.

A slightly longer answer

The slightly longer and more accurate answer is that, as with all careers, if you have experience and qualifications you’ll be able to get a better job and better pay.  But everyone has to start somewhere, don’t they?  In fact, you may be able to just jump on a plane tomorrow and find yourself a TEFL job somewhere without even having a TEFL certificate: but you probably wouldn’t be working for a very good school, and you’d have very low pay.  You also wouldnt be very confident without having done any TEFL training.

Better opportunities with a TEFL certificate

If you’ve got a TEFL certificate, you’ll be able to find better paid work and work in better schools with better facilities.  As a rule of thumb, the more hours you’ve studied, the more your TEFL qualification is worth; so our Professional TEFL courses for 120 and 140 hours are more valuable that our 20 hour one for instance, if you have no previous teaching experience.  However, any of these will certainly stand you in better stead than if you step off the plane with no training at all!

Gain experience with volunteer teaching

Another way to increase your TEFL employability is to get involved with volunteer teaching, and it’s a great way to gain experience and get a feel for teaching English as a foreign language.  Whether you have a basic 20 hour weekend course or a more comprehensive 120 hour TEFL qualification, you should be able to find work in the voluntary sector.  Most opportunities for volunteering as a TEFL teacher are overseas, but if you contact charities and local government organisations, you may be able to get involved with language and literacy projects here in the UK.  If the idea of volunteering overseas appeals to you, you should check out volunteer teaching projects over at – you’ll get TEFL training and the support of our in-country teams.

No experience?  No worries!  We can help you find a job…

If you fancy getting full TEFL training, invaluable experience and a proper teaching job overseas all in one go, take a look at our TEFL jobs abroad.  As long as you’ve done the 120 hour TEFL course, we’ll be able to help you find a job abroad. We’ll sort out all the fiddly bits for you too. We’re currently looking for people to teach in



South Korea




The Czech Republic

Or you might want to take a look at the internship programmes, taking place in China, Thailand and Vietnam – you get 120 hours of TEFL training, full support, 5 months living and teaching overseas, FREE accommodation and a monthly living expenses allowance: all of this with a group of interns just like you!

So what are you waiting for?  Visit our website to get started on your TEFL adventure today.


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