The Most Crucial Questions About Teaching English Abroad

Most Crucial Questions About Teaching English Abroad

Traveling has been a dream of mankind since ancient times. And we have always tried to find out more and more ways to achieve this dream. In ancient times, it was the lack of suitable transport. Nowadays, many of us just don’t have enough money to achieve our dreams.

One of the best ways for you to live your dream and enjoy your work is by teaching English abroad. But this one is slightly different from everything else. Because teaching is a very noble profession. 

We have talked to you before about how teaching English as a second language may be one of the best ways to get paid while traveling. Teaching English abroad offers free room and board at the very least. But not everyone knows all the little details about being an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

So we decided that we were going to answer a few of the most common questions.

What does Teaching English Abroad comprise of?

It’s a profession that allows you to travel to the countries that you dream about, and work there. There are many programs that allow you to get into this highly desired and yet highly available job. So if travel’s your thing, you’ve definitely got to have a look at more of the Teaching English Abroad programs.

Many of these organizations that hire you, also offer you the chance to take a TEFL course along with a guarantee of a job at the end of the course. As long as you get into an accredited institution, you’re good to go.

A general overview of the field is as follows:

Typical contract lengthMost Common Hiring ProceduresMost common area of learningMonthly salaryPeak SeasonVisa RequiredTop ESL markets
Mostly between 6 to 12 monthsPersonal interview after acceptance of the applicationGeneral EnglishVaries according to living expenses in the country and exchange rates. It can be as low as $300 and go up to $1500 per monthFrom late August to early Jan (although holidays are generally not a good time for hiring)Most places do need a work visa although sometimes, your agency takes care of that. So make sure to ask.South Asia, China, and the Middle East 

What type of College Degree would you need for becoming an ESL teacher?

4-year college degree definitely has its pros. In places such as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and in some parts of Asia, you definitely need a bachelor’s degree to be considered. No specificity. A 4-year degree in anything would be accepted.

There are also differences based on what type of school you’re aiming at. The requirements for government, public and private schools may differ

When you consider teaching English abroad, having just an associate’s degree might also come in handy. With that and a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) certification, you can teach English in more than 50 countries. That’s a lot of options of course. 

It’s always better to be fully aware of the job requirements in the country you’re aiming at. Start planning at least a year before so that you have time to arrange for everything. 

Can you teach English abroad if you don’t have a college degree? 

Yup, it’s still possible. Most programs offer jobs if you have a native fluency as well as a TEFL certification. It is becoming less common and it is always better if you have some degree certification. You don’t need to have any specific degree but yes, a degree is always of help. 

What is the TEFL certification?

TEFL certification is the minimum requirement to teach English abroad in most countries. TEFL certification is a sign that you have the basic qualifications to be a teacher, at least at entry-level positions. They especially focus on vocabulary and grammar learning, along with effective methods to keep your students interested. A TEFL course would generally take up to 120 hours online.

Most affordable courses cost between $150 to $200. However, it can cost up to $2000 because of all the benefits that these courses promise. There are also 180-hour and 300-hour courses that ensure that your grammar is fluent and your teaching is top-notch. 

Oh did I mention how there are companies that are willing to take TEFL courses for you as long as you apply to teach instead? They train you and offer you jobs. That’s definitely worth a shot. 

What are the other alternatives to the TEFL certification?

And now, considering the rising ESL markets, there are higher-level qualifications available. These courses like CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are also good alternatives to TEFL and will guarantee you a job.

CELTA is considered the most prestigious among all courses that enable you to teach English. It’s a certification that’s personally handled by Cambridge. It’s also a 120-hour course with about 6 hours of real teaching experience. You can take it full time and finish it within four weeks.

You can also take it part-time and slowly finish it within three months. The coursework for CELTA is quite heavy, even if you’re a part-timer. And CELTA courses cost anywhere between $1500 to $4000, depending on the institution you’re aiming at.

Any CELTA course is well recognized by employers but in the case of TEFL, you need to pay more attention to the institution. That’s also the case with TESOL. TESOL is best attained with accreditation from well-established bodies. For a good quality online 120-hour TESOL course, you would need to at least pay between $200 to $500.

Like I mentioned before, these are higher-level courses and unless you’re aiming for permanent positions, TEFL is just good enough.

Can you teach English abroad without a TEFL certification as well?

To teach and get paid, you would definitely need at least your bachelor’s degree if you don’t have TEFL certification. Or some prior classroom experience to stand out among other applicants with TEFL certification. Another option is to become an au pair. You can go to other countries and stay with families in return for room, board and a certain amount of pay.

Most of these families put up with au pairs to enable their children to learn English from native speakers. Based on the families and the contract you entered into, you might also have to do some light housework. This would include some simple cooking, driving, and light shopping.

But there are so many other benefits to being an au pair too. And if you’re interested, look into our detailed post on everything you need to know about being an au pair.

Another option is for you to travel while teaching English online. There are platforms such as Cambly and ITalki that don’t require any degree for you to sign up and it gives a decent wage as well

If you are willing to teach abroad just for the experience, then you certainly have some more options in front of you.

1. Volunteering Teaching

This is a great way for you to gain experience, live with locals, and know more about other cultures. Locations like Thailand and Tanzania are great for such opportunities. This is a highly informal way of teaching. Most of the time, you’re also required to stay with a family and that offers you a great deal of flexibility with your schedules.

You are not paid but you do receive free room and board.

There’s also an educational program called the Peace Corps. They send volunteers to different countries across the world. Some of the benefits included are opportunities to attain TEFL certification, a stipend, and free accommodation. But to enter the Peace Corps, you need a bachelor’s degree.

2. Language exchange

This is a temporary job. One that could be perfect for you if your travel goals are short-termed. In these programs, you teach English to a local family at your destination in return for room and board. You don’t receive any form of salary but all amenities are guaranteed and free. In fact, these programs are highly similar to that of au pair programs. 

What are the special criteria for teaching English abroad?

1. Non-native Speakers

There are many countries that only prefer native English speakers. These include countries in the Middle East (like the UAE and Saudi Arabia) and Asia. But many countries in South America couldn’t care less. So go ahead and try wherever you would want to go. But if you aren’t a native speaker, you would have to make sure that your fluency, accent, and accuracy is perfect.

If you have a bachelor’s degree and/or TEFL certification to show your qualification, then the fact that you aren’t a native speaker shouldn’t affect you much.

2. Age

No, age is just a number here. You would have to be above the legal age. But in most countries, they do not enquire more than this. 

3. Country specific

There are other criteria, specific to different countries. Visa requirements differ. Your passport matters. For example, in western Europe, it’s hard to get an English teaching position because most teachers in the European Union can work without work permits.

But all that depends on the destination you choose and you would have to check those little details further. Make sure that you talk with your advisor or recruiter before you jump into anything. 

A few examples?

The countries with the highest rate of ESL jobsCountries you can work without TEFLCountries you can work without a college degree
South Korea
Saudi Arabia
South Korea
Central America
Costa Rica

There’s more to Teaching

You might not immediately start making millions. But at the end of the day, you wouldn’t have chosen this career for the money. There are a plethora of experiences that are waiting for you. You not only get to enjoy the beauty of this world in more ways than you could possibly imagine but also get to see how so many others view this world.

Also, you get to impart the wisdom that you have, to others. Honestly, this is the best way to travel the world.

This is a way to change more lives than just yours. We really hope you have found our post, well-tuned to your needs. 

And if you have loved our post and have found it useful or if you know anything more about being able to teach English abroad that you’d like to recommend to us, feel free to tell us through email or the comment section below. We would love to interact and know more about you.