Teaching Business English

Teaching Business English

English is the language of international business and as globalisation continues to grow so does the demand for Business English teachers. Many companies require employees to have a certain level of English so there are jobs to be found teaching English for Business worldwide within companies, at language schools, private tutoring, and online.

Jobs teaching Business English are often some of the most highly paid positions in the TEFL industry. Keep reading to find out what you need to get started in this rewarding line of work and learn what’s involved in teaching English for Business.

Hands on a table with business documents and laptops

What do you need to teach Business English?

A TEFL Qualification

Most employers look for teachers with at least a 120-hour TEFL qualification, but if you’re aiming to find work teaching Business English then it’s a very good idea to gain a specialist qualification as well. This is why we’ve developed our Teaching Business English course , which will teach you how to assess your students’ needs and create and deliver lessons tailored to them.

As we’ve already mentioned, Teaching Business English can be a very lucrative area of TEFL, which means - depending on where you want to teach - it’s often a competitive market. Because of this there’s even more reason to make your CV stand out with specialist training.

A degree

Realistically, there are very few Business English jobs out there that won’t require you to hold a degree. This is often a requirement because of visa restrictions (see our post about how to TEFL without a degree ) but even when one isn’t necessary for a visa most employers will ask for one.


It isn’t impossible to complete your TEFL training and immediately jump into a job teaching Business English, but it won’t be easy. Many employers will look for teachers who already have experience teaching adults – some may even ask for previous experience working within a business setting outside of teaching. You will find that most Business English teachers moved into it after a couple of years of experience teaching generally.

As with all areas of TEFL, salaries depend on experience and many jobs teaching Business English go to teachers with experience. Everyone has to start somewhere, though!

Top tip : if you’re struggling to find entry-level jobs abroad you can build up your experience teaching Business English online. The online teaching industry is rapidly growing and you can find plenty of opportunities to teach Business English there

Business people talking

How to teach Business English

It is a common misconception that teaching business English is more difficult than teaching English generally. Business English is a specific type of EFL teaching, just like English for Academic Purposes or English for Occupational Purposes. All these types of EFL teaching fall under the category of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). While it isn’t necessarily more difficult to teach it is important to understand how you would approach teaching English for a specific purpose, such as business.

We’ve put together a short guide on how to teach Business English to give you a taste of what you will cover in our Teaching Business English specialist TEFL course.

Step one: Conduct a needs analysis

It is highly recommended to do this in the first lesson. The purpose of a needs analysis is to find out  why  your students want to learn English and what their goals are. In some cases, teachers may be forced by their company to learn English and, as a result, lack the motivation to learn or attend classes regularly, so you will need to find ways to be engaging.

Conducting a needs assessment will also help you decide which areas to focus on in class. For example, secretaries and administration staff might want to focus solely on telephone skills and email writing. Remember that you don’t need to stick rigidly to a textbook. Instead, you should tailor the lessons to the personal needs of the students. During the classes note down areas that need extra work and get regular feedback from the students in order to form an idea of how they are progressing.

Step two: Teaching Business English

Depending on the results of your needs analysis, your teaching will vary correspondingly. Here are some common areas for a business English teacher to focus on:

  • Business language:  It will be useful to teach your students common phrases and vocabulary used in the business world. Researching the business sector they work in is key so that you can ensure you’re teaching them vocabulary that is specifically valuable.
  • Business interaction:  Quite a lot of business language learners will want to gain speaking skills to use at work. Speaking over the phone, introductions, meetings, and negotiations are typical examples of how English is used in a business setting. Role play activities are an excellent way to practice common business situations. You should aim to make this as relevant to your students’ real job as possible.
  • Business correspondence:  Writing letters, memos, and proposals is another common area to focus on. Again, try and use authentic business materials to make your classes relevant.
Business people looking at post-it notes

Step three: Be professional

By its very nature, teaching Business English will require you to have a more professional approach than some other TEFL jobs - such as teaching young learners in summer camps, for example.

There are simple things you can do to ensure professionalism, such as dressing smartly, creating business cards, developing unique and smart resources, and referring to activities instead of games in the classroom. Remember your audience and think of activities and ice breakers that would be suitable for adults. Some TEFL games created for children will likely not go down well in a business English setting!

What’s next?

Interested in reaping the benefits of one the most lucrative areas of TEFL? Have a look at our  TEFL Jobs Centre  to find jobs teaching Business English, take a look at our range of TEFL courses , and check out our specialist Teaching Business English Course .

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