There are so many things to think about when searching for a TEFL job. From visas, to TEFL certification, to the application process, and more – we know it can be a lot to take in. You don’t want to get information wrong, end up in a country you don’t like, or be unhappy with your contract.
That’s why we’ve put together these top 10 tips to help you at this early stage in your TEFL journey so you can start it off on the best foot possible!
1. Decide where you want to teach
The first step in finding your perfect TEFL job is to decide where you want to teach English. With TEFL you can work in countries all over the world or even teach English online from the comfort of your own home – there are a wide range of options!
Deciding where you want to teach will be influenced by a number of factors, from climate and culture, to salaries and benefits. If you don’t have a degree then this will narrow your options, but don’t fear, there are still plenty of opportunities out there for you – see our post about how to TEFL without a degree for more information.
The TEFL Org blog is full of helpful information to help you decide where you want to teach and you can read student stories for first-hand accounts of what it’s really like to TEFL!
2. Research TEFL in your chosen country
You can find out so much online about your chosen country. Sites such as Lonely Planet and Rough Guides will give you an insight into the exciting experiences that await, Numbeo will help you work out living costs, and our Country Guides will give you detailed information about teaching in specific countries.
It’s important to research the kinds of jobs available and establish the level of demand there is for English teachers. In some countries the market is more competitive than others. The type of work available can vary as well – language schools are common in many countries, but there are also opportunities to be found teaching Business English, working within state schools, and much more.
3. Find out about visas
Typically, employers will help in arranging visas, but it’s very important beforehand to know if you’re eligible to work in your chosen country before you start your TEFL adventure. If you don’t meet the visa requirements for a work visa in a country then you won’t legally be able to work there – there is no flexibility when it comes to this.
In some countries it’s common to find work after arriving so you will initially be on a tourist visa. You should know how long you can stay on a tourist visa – some countries allow for unlimited extensions, some have none, so make sure you know the rules and costs involved. If you enter on a tourist visa, you need to find out if you can convert the tourist visa to a work visa or if you have to leave the country. For further information about visas, you should get in touch with the embassy for your chosen country or with the Foreign Office.
4. Decide which type of teacher you want you to be
You have to consider many questions when you think about the type of English teacher you want to be. Would you prefer to teach English to children or adults? Would you like to teach intensive 1-on-1 or full classes? What is your ideal number of students for a class? Would you like to teach business classes or teach English online? Job postings, such as those over on our Jobs Centre, will give you information on what is available.
5. Get your TEFL certification
A TEFL qualification from a reputable provider is essential for finding your perfect teaching job. Some employers have different requirements so it is important you find out what you need, but typically a 120-hour qualification is what employers look for.
It’s important to get TEFL certified with an accredited provider. TEFL Org is the most accredited TEFL course provider in the UK, which means our courses go through strict external assessment and monitoring to ensure quality. Don’t be tempted to sign up for a budget course through sites like Groupon – they lack accreditation, quality, and many employers won’t accept them.
6. Make sure your CV is up to a high standard
Your CV is the first chance you get to make a good impression. A high-quality CV will boost your chances of getting an interview. Remember, your employer may not be a native English speaker and using confusing technical jargon can put employers off, so keep your CV simple and concise! If you are new to teaching mention any training, mentoring experience, and time spent working or living abroad – all of which are attractive to TEFL employers.
Check out our TEFL CV Guide for more information.
7. Know where to find TEFL jobs
All TEFL Org students get free lifetime access to our TEFL Jobs Centre, where you can find positions across the globe. There are many other TEFL job sites, such as TEFL.com and Dave’s ESL café, where recruiters and schools advertise new jobs around the world. Directly contacting individual schools and recruiters can be a good move, especially if you have a very specific location in mind.
Take a look at our list of best places to find TEFL Jobs online.
8. Visit the country
A lot of jobs can be applied for online, but in some countries the most effective way to find TEFL jobs is on the ground. By visiting schools and handing your CV in personally, employers can judge you better face-to-face and see how well you can speak English. Also, you will be more likely hear about other schools and TEFL jobs on offer if you are in the area.
9. Ace your TEFL interview.
To stand out from other applicants, you need to get across your enthusiasm for the country and the job. Remember, you’re applying for a job as a teacher so you need to demonstrate in the interview that you’re a confident and clear communicator. See our tips for preparing for a TEFL interview, which features insight from real TEFL employers!
Keep in mind that an interview goes both ways as well – it’s an opportunity for you to ask questions and establish if the job is the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to ask about the experiences of other teachers and if you can be put in touch with them. Any good employer will be happy to let you talk to their other employees about what it’s like to work there.
10. Check out the school and your contract carefully
There are bad employers out there and we occasionally hear bad reports, so it’s important to keep safe, do your research, and don’t sign a contract you’re not happy with. Researching what other teachers think of an employer is always a good idea. This can easily be done by searching for posts about the employer online or asking to speak to a current teacher – a good employer will do their best to accommodate this.
Read your contract carefully and make sure it doesn’t include anything unexpected or very different conditions than what you were lead to believe. To make sure you have the best TEFL experience possible and avoid the sharks out there trying to exploit newly-qualified teacher make sure to read our guide to avoiding TEFL scams and bad employers.
Packing up shop and setting off to a far-away land might not actually be everyone’s cup of tea. If it doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry – you can teach English from the comfort of your own home. How, you ask? Well, online teaching is one of – if not the most – popular ways of TEFL in the modern day. Thousands of our students have gone on to land roles as online tutors, rather than working in schools. With the benefits of less spending and more time-saving, you might find it suits you better too.
Interested? Check out our definitive guide on online TEFL.