The pandemic may be firmly in the rear-view mirror, but the impact is still lasting. The world of work has changed radically, and as everyone considered their futures over that dark period, a crack of light came through. People realised that their careers weren’t iron-clad in a particular way, that remote working was possible, and that far more doors are open than you might think.
Talking of doors, a career teaching English as a foreign language blasts them open worldwide, regardless of your age, what you’ve done before, or even if you’ve never been on a plane. There are countless reasons why 2023 is your year to TEFL, but we’ve limited it to 5. Otherwise, 2024 would come and you’d still be reading this as they sing “Auld Lang Syne” at your neighbour’s house.
So, why TEFL in 2023?
2023: Time for something different
Yes, fine: Covid-19 restrictions are last year’s news, maybe even the year before. However, while that forced many into different careers or a gap in employment, it’s never a bad idea to see what else is out there.
Maybe you’re back in the office at last, and it’s just not quite how you remember it. The commute feels like a chore, the weather is grim and you’re not getting that same job satisfaction. Or, your plans after university or college – that once felt like grand ideas – just aren’t cutting it any more.
Let’s face it: the prospect of travelling to sunnier climes (or even colder, if that’s your preferred option) and teaching engaged, switched-on students who appreciate you is a major selling point from a TEFL perspective. The excitement of new cities, new languages, new people; the chance to be someone completely different in a far-off land, indulging your wanderlust – does it not sound better than sticking it out somewhere you don’t love?
Read Irene’s story on our blog, about moving from the corporate life to a constant TEFL adventure. It can be done!
It’s not just about teaching, either. A TEFL certificate can open a variety of doors, career-wise. It’s a new year ahead – time for a new you.
Get out there and experience the world
Have a TEFL certificate on your CV? That’s a ticket to the rest of the planet. Take our course tutors and staff here at The TEFL Org HQ, for example. They’ve taught English all over, in countries such as Spain, China, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, South Korea, and many, many more. The TEFL Org staff spreads from St Lucia to Madrid to the USA and beyond.
There are now more opportunities than ever. Take, for example, the Thailand Teaching Programme, Spain’s new digital nomad visas, and our Jobs Centre, which is advertising jobs as far-flung as Sri Lanka and Romania.
Need some encouragement or ideas? You can listen to our brand new podcast, ‘I Taught English Abroad’, and hear stories from Cambodia, China and Vietnam, amongst plenty of other fascinating locations. The world’s only as big as you make it, and our guests will inspire you to get out there and experience something new.
Still not sure where to go? Find some inspiration with The TEFL Org Guide to the World, featuring over 70 TEFL destinations worldwide!
Live like a local
Why is TEFL one of the best ways to experience the world? Simple; it’s about community building. You have the opportunity to live like a local and immerse yourself in a new culture.
How you choose to do that is your call entirely. You’ll find ex-pat communities in most cities, but stepping outside of the ex-pat bubble and making local friends can open you up to even more experiences. If you’re desperate for a conversation in English, you’ll find kinship in other TEFL teachers, no matter where you are (although if you find yourself teaching English in the foothills of the Andes, for example, it might be harder to create a mini-society of TEFL teachers, just saying!).
Time abroad teaching English is really what you make it. Sure, some home comforts can be a necessity (every gets homesick), but it’s by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and pursuing new experiences that can make for a truly special TEFL adventure.
There’s a considerable and constant demand for qualified TEFL teachers
According to the British Council, there are over 1.5 billion English language learners in the world. That’s roughly one in five people on Planet Earth. Guess what? All those learners need teachers.
Given that demand, there are thousands of TEFL jobs available at any given time. Demand is particularly high across Asia, but there are also plenty of entry-level jobs to be found in Europe and South America.
For teachers with a few years of experience under their belt, the Middle East offers the most lucrative salaries in the industry. Check out our guide to TEFL salaries around the world to find where you can save the most money.
If you have the wherewithal, the TEFL qualification (and possibly more, depending on where you teach) and the desire, you will never struggle for employment as a TEFL teacher.
Becoming a TEFL teacher is easier – and more affordable – than you think
Let’s not sugarcoat it – of course, there are costs involved with becoming a TEFL teacher and exploring the world. You might, however, be surprised by how easy it can be to get started and, especially in comparison to the cost of retraining for other careers, how affordable it truly is.
Let’s break it down into steps.
Step 1: Get TEFL qualified
To teach English abroad you need at least a 120-hour TEFL qualification. A quality TEFL qualification can range anywhere from £150/$200 to over £1,200/$1,500. Fully online and self-paced courses are cheaper options – like our best-selling 120-hour Premier Online TEFL course – and at the upper end are courses like the CELTA, which is studied in person and full-time over the course of a month.
What course is best for you really depends on your circumstances and budget, but as long as it consists of at least 120 hours of study and is completed with a properly accredited provider, it’ll be enough to secure your first teaching job.
You can find budget TEFL courses online for under £100/$135, but we would advise you to exercise caution when it comes to these courses. There can be a whole host of issues with cheap TEFL courses and at worst they can be a complete scam. For more information read our posts about budget TEFL courses and TEFL scams.
Step 2: Start applying for jobs
Not to labour the point, but as we’ve said, there’s huge demand all across the world for qualified TEFL teachers. This means that once you’re TEFL qualified you’ll find no shortage of jobs to apply for, and once you’ve got a job, you’ll find the opportunities don’t dry up.
All of our students get lifetime access to our TEFL Jobs Centre, as well as advice from our friendly TEFL advisors and a free CV-checking service. Wherever you see yourself teaching in 2023 and beyond, there are job boards out there to help you find your dream position.
Step 3: accept a job offer and get your visa sorted
“I can’t wait to fill out and provide documentation for my visa!” is something nobody has ever said, ever. It’s a laborious and rather dry task to complete. However, it’s something that a lot of employers will provide assistance with (and may even cover the costs of) – so make sure to ask! Equally, once you’ve done it, and it’s been accepted, you can relax – you won’t need to do that again for a while!
The time it takes to secure a visa depends on the country, and processes can vary hugely. For some countries, you must apply for your visa in advance, while in others it’s possible to get it after arrival. We always recommend that you research visas at the beginning of your TEFL journey to ensure you understand what to expect. Some countries have stricter requirements than others and may require a degree or a passport from specific English-speaking countries. It’s worth getting friendly with the relevant Embassy, as they’re going to come in very handy when all this is happening.
Find out more about teaching abroad without a degree and teaching as a non-native English speaker.
Step 4: away you go!
TEFL qualification? Completed it, mate. Job offer: you bet, fighting them off with a stick. Visa: done – at last. Now it’s time to book your flight and pack your bags!
The sooner you get TEFL qualified, the sooner you could be stepping on that flight and jetting off on your very own TEFL adventure, so what’s holding you back?
For more information about the start-up costs involved with teaching English abroad, see our guide! Apart from that, all we can say is that a career in TEFL, with adventure in spades, chances to meet life-changing people and the route to inspiring a generation of English learners is waiting for you!
Make 2023 your year of adventure with TEFL! Get in touch with our experienced TEFL advisors to discuss what course is best for you and the opportunities available with TEFL. Contact us on live chat, send us an email, or give us a call on +44 (0) 1349 800 600 / +353 19 011 793