When is the best time to apply for a job teaching English abroad?

When is the best time to apply for a job teaching English abroad?

In most cases, applying for positions teaching English abroad can be done at any time of the year, but some parts of the world - and specific types of jobs - have strict hiring seasons. To help you understand more about the hiring times around the world, we’ve compiled this guide! 

With demand high for qualified TEFL teachers across the globe, you can find plenty of positions to apply for throughout the year. But, generally, public schools will hire teachers at specific times of year, while private language schools can recruit year-round. Depending on where you want to teach and what sort of TEFL job you want, having an understanding of hiring seasons and school terms can help you plan and approach applying for jobs in the most efficient and effective way.


Peak hiring season: late summer/just before September, also in January

In line with most European countries’ term times, the most common time for hiring new teaching staff is just before the start of the new school year in September. Prospective teachers should check for job listings in the months leading up to September in case of a lengthier application and hiring process.

Many teachers will leave at the end of a school year, so schools are often seeking new staff anywhere from the beginning of summer.

In addition, some schools also hire additional staff in January or just after winter holidays, so keep an eye out for positions around this time.

In general, the countries with the highest demand for English teachers are in Southern Europe, notably Spain and Italy. In these countries you’ll find language centres hiring year-round, so if you miss the peak hiring season for public schools there are still plenty of jobs you can apply for.

A Japanese street lit up with neon lights


Peak hiring season: all year round, specific months for public schools

Asia has the highest demand for English teachers worldwide. Not only is this due to the massive population, but also due to the increasing value of speaking English.

In most countries, new teachers are hired all year round. However, if you’re looking to apply for positions in public schools you’ll need to apply at certain times of the year. The start of term can vary a lot across Asia, so see our table below to discover the start of term for each country.

Teachers interested in working in Japan may have come across the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) programme. Designed to increase English teachers in Japan, the hiring process can take up to 6 months and is initiated in one of two hiring seasons. Teachers start applying in April to June, and also in October to January.

A similar programme is found in Korea. EPIK (English Programme in Korea) was also created to encourage English teachers to travel to and work in Korea. The 3-month hiring process begins in either August or March.

Latin America

Peak hiring season: after summer (around February to April)

In most countries in Latin America, the summer term ends in February, allowing for the first hiring season to begin. After a mid-year break, the second hiring season begins in August.

Although this may not be the first place you think of when considering TEFL destinations, South America is becoming more and more of a hotspot for English language teachers. Many countries in this part of the world don’t require a degree, so if you’re a TEFL teacher without a degree it’s a part of the world to consider.

The highest demand for qualified EFL teachers can  be found in countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Colombia. Wages might not seem high, but teachers can enjoy a good standard of living in these countries due to low living costs.

Keep in mind that the easiest way to find work in Latin America is on the ground, so teachers should be prepared to travel there first and then search for work. Only a minority of employers advertise positions online and recruit from abroad.

Middle East

Peak hiring season: all year round

Applying to teach English in the Middle East is common across the entire year. There are many teaching positions available across schools in the Middle East, including countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar .

Teaching positions are available in both public and private schools year-round, as well as opportunities to work in universities and vocation-specific establishments.

Applying for these positions is incredibly competitive, so prospective teachers should make sure to research their opportunities further as well as considering what is required in terms of a TEFL qualification. Typically, the minimum employers will ask for in this part of the world is a 120-hour TEFL qualification, a bachelor’s degree, and at least two years of teaching experience.

Although the hiring season may take place all year, there is a slight increase in the number of teachers hired across spring and summer when students are more likely to be preparing for and taking formal exams.

A mosque in Abu Dhabi

How long does it take to complete a TEFL course?

The courses we offer here at The TEFL Org are named in accordance with the number of hours it takes to complete them.

For example, our 120-hour Premier Online TEFL course will take 120 hours – but this can be hard to conceptualise. How many days or weeks is this?

On average, it takes 10-12 weeks to complete this course, but as it’s entirely self paced it might take you more or less time. You’re given 6 months to complete the 120-hour course, but if life gets in the way there’s always the option to extend it. And for our Level 5 courses, which offer more comprehensive training, you’re given 7 months.

We always recommend that you take your time with the course and don’t rush your studies. While it’s possible to complete with a week or two, progressing through the course over a longer time frame allows for more knowledge acquisition and greater understanding of the techniques and methodologies covered.

As an example, if you’re aiming to teach English in a public in China, you should look at beginning a TEFL course near the beginning of the year. This would give you time to work through the course and complete the visa process in time for the start of term in September.

Bear in mind that many employers will accept a qualification-in-progress if you can prove that you are studying at the time, meaning you can get the ball rolling with visa processes.

So, when is the best time to apply?

When looking at teaching English worldwide, the best time to apply depends on the country you want to work in. As this article has shown, every region of the world has different requirements and hiring seasons, and many offer year-round teaching opportunities.

The English language is the most popular language to learn in the modern world, with demand increasing every year at a rate that shows no sign of slowing. See our TEFL Jobs Centre to discover the latest teaching positions waiting for your application!

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