Searching for a realistic way to get paid to live overseas?
Have you heard of teaching English abroad?
With 1.7 billion people learning and using English worldwide, the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) represents one of the most viable ways that English-speakers from almost any background can get a job and make a positive impact while living abroad. From Costa Rica to China, people from all walks of life seek to learn English as a path to enhanced educational and employment opportunities and this has created hundreds of thousands of English teaching jobs worldwide. And what’s great is that you don’t have to possess a background in education or professional teaching experience to get a great job teaching abroad.
So What is TEFL Certification?
While you don’t need teaching experience to get started, schools abroad still want to hire teachers with a sufficient amount of training and a grasp of fundamental teaching skill in the field of teaching English as a foreign language. This is where TEFL certification comes into play. By taking an accredited TEFL class you can gain the training, skills and qualification you need to both get hired by a reputable school and to successfully provide your students with a quality educational experience in the classroom.
What Kind of TEFL Certification Do I Need?
Spend two minutes Googling “TEFL certification” or “teaching English abroad” and your head will probably start spinning from all of the various classes, programs and schools that you will encounter. While some training is usually better than no training, it’s important to note that not all TEFL certification courses are the same & there are certain standards that you should look for in an accredited TEFL class that will be recognized by reputable schools worldwide that you may want to teach for, and that will also enable you to gain the skills you need.
Key elements for an accredited TEFL certification course:
- at least 100 hours of coursework (the equivalent of a 4-week full-time in-person class or the equivalent online);
- At least 6-20 hours of practicum (live practice teaching with actual non-native English speaking students);
- An accredited curriculum that is externally monitored and assessed by a recognized,
- independent organization within the TEFL field;
- Instruction provided by a qualified and experienced instructor (who has the equivalent
- to a Master’s Degree in teaching English as a second language or a related field);
- It is also recommended that you take your TEFL certification course from an
- organization that provides comprehensive job placement assistance.
Should You Avoid Online TEFL Courses?
No! Whether looking at online classes or in-person TEFL classes, the key is to make sure the classes meet international standards and are accredited. This 170-hour Online TEFL Class from International TEFL Academy, for example, not only meets those standards but exceeds them and is accredited at the same level by government bodies in the UK at the same level as top in-person TEFL classes.
A quality accredited TEFL Certification will typically start at $1200 for an online class ant around $1500 for an in-person class. When looking at options, ask yourself, “will this class realistically provide me with the training and guidance I need to become a professional English teacher abroad?” Also, if an offer seems too good to be true, avoid it and remember that TEFL classes are like anything else – you’re going to get what you pay.
Where Are the Best Job Markets for Teaching English Abroad?
In the globalized economy of the 21 st century, the demand for English language instruction is truly global and a native English speaker with a college degree and a TEFL certification can realistically get hired to teach English professionally in up to 100 countries worldwide. Even without a college degree, a native, or fluent English speaker can hired in more than 50 countries. That said, certain countries have higher demand and represent better job markets than others. Here are some top options to consider:
ASIA: From the tropical climes of Thailand & Vietnam to the dynamic cities of China, Japan & South Korea, there are hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs throughout Asia. In countries like South Korea, English teachers receive free housing and/or free airfare & most English English teachers can save $500 – $12,000 a month after expenses.
EUROPE: From Spain to Russia, demand for English language instruction is booming. Top job markets include Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey & Russia (to name a few!).
LATIN AMERICA: Top South American job markets include Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru & Ecuador. If you seek the tropical splendors of Central America, check out Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Mexico.
MIDDLE EAST: Persian Gulf destinations like Dubai, Oman & Saudi Arabia offers some of the most lucrative English teaching jobs in the world, while such nations as Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia & Morocco also offer great opportunities to teach while exploring the local culture & history. There are opportunities to teach English in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia but they are much fewer compared to the countries listed above and in Africa particularly, more opportunities are likely to be volunteer rather than paid.
How to Get Started? Research!
Like any major endeavor in life, teaching English abroad takes planning & research to do it. For researching country destination for teaching, a great resource is this Country Chart, which compares hiring requirements, visa info, salaries, salaries, & start-up costs for teaching English abroad in more than 50 countries worldwide.
You should also check out firsthand accounts of people who are teaching English abroad to get their perspective and advice. With a quick search on Google you find loads of blogs, articles and Youtube videos from folks teaching all over the world. When looking at TEFL certification course options, make sure that you actually call and speak to schools to learn about their accreditation, job placement assistance and whether they are actually knowledgeable about important matters like visas.
The most important factor is to have confidence in yourself and to take the plunge. You will likely be one of the best decisions you ever make.