What types of English teaching jobs are there?

If you don’t know a lot about the TEFL industry you could be forgiven for having quite a narrow idea of the opportunities available to EFL teachers. Maybe you think that most people who TEFL are young university graduates who go abroad to teach children in schools, but this is far from the whole picture!

In fact, there are a wide range of different jobs you can get with a TEFL qualification. There are lots of reasons why someone might be learning English and there are lots of different types of jobs you can find teaching them. TEFL really is what you make it: you might just want to travel and experience living abroad for a while, or you might have the aim of making teaching your career and working your way up the ladder. Either way, there are opportunities out there for all, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Types of teaching jobs abroad

One of the best things about a TEFL qualification is the way it can really open up the world to you. There are about 1.5 billion English language learners worldwide, and where there are language learners there are opportunities for qualified EFL teachers!

Below are some of the most common types of teaching jobs abroad, but it’s by no means a definitive list.

Public schools

If you’re new to TEFL and keen to work with children or teenagers then consider working in a public school. Jobs in these schools are often run through government-run schemes – such as JET in Japan, and EPIK in South Korea, for example – and offer a lot of security and benefits. Ideal for new teachers moving abroad for the first time.

Private language schools

Many newly-qualified EFL teachers find their first job with a private language schools. Within language schools you can find jobs teaching a range of learners, from kindergarten to adults, who are learning English for a variety of reasons. Expect to work mornings and evenings as a teacher at a language school, with classes being held outside of typical work and school hours.

Teaching within companies

If you have a business background and/or experience teaching business English then working within companies is an option. Teaching business English can be very lucrative and in-house jobs can come with both great rates of pay and benefits.

International schools

Offering good rates of pay, a job at an international school is a good gig to get. But, in addition to a TEFL qualification, most will expect you to have a teaching degree, so these jobs aren’t within reach for everyone. If you’re qualified teacher looking to work abroad then get yourself a TEFL certificate and apply for jobs with international schools.


University positions are sought after for a reason – they’re amongst the best-paying TEFL jobs out there. But you’ll need plenty of experience and, in most cases, further qualifications to land yourself a job at a university. Most of these positions look for teachers with extensive EFL teaching experience and may even require a DELTA or masters degree.

Summer schools

Summer schools and language camps are a great way to get started teaching English. Contracts can last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, meaning you can try out teaching before committing to a full year-long contract. Accommodation and meals are typically included, so while wages aren’t high you won’t be needing to spend much while you’re working.

An older teacher leading a class

Teaching English in an English-speaking country

If you’re from an English-speaking country, like the UK or USA, there are opportunities for you to teach English at home. The TEFL market in all English-speaking countries can be very competitive, and with lots of qualified and experienced native English speakers to choose from there’s no need to hire from abroad. So, if you were thinking about moving to an English-speaking country to TEFL we’re sorry to dash your hopes! Here are some of the options for those looking to teach English at home.

Language schools

You’ll find the best-paid positions for TEFL in English-speaking countries within language schools. But with high competition don’t expect to get your 120-hour TEFL qualification and be able to find yourself a job straight away. Language schools look for EFL teachers with extensive experience, so  most of these jobs go to teachers who have returned from abroad.

Volunteering with refugees

Put your TEFL certificate to good use by working with refugees. This is a great way of gaining some initial teaching experience – look up organisations and charities in your area that work with refugees and enquire about ESOL programmes they run.

One-to-one tuition

Tutoring jobs are an option for anyone with a TEFL qualification based in an English-speaking country. Students may be looking for a teacher skilled in particular areas, such as business English, academic English or English for hospitality, for example.

A woman writing on a whiteboard

Teaching English online jobs

The online teaching market is booming and growing every single year. Teaching English online offers a lot of flexibility and allows you to work from anywhere in the world – whether that’s at home or on the road as a digital nomad.

You can find jobs teaching a wide variety of learners online, just as you can in person. Below are the main types of online teaching jobs.

Working for an online teaching company

One of the best ways of getting started teaching English online is to work for an online teaching company. These companies source the students for you, often provide a curriculum, and deal with a lot of the admin side of things. There are a huge number online teaching companies out there catering to a wide range of learners and many don’t require previous teaching experience, just a TEFL qualification!

Online teaching marketplaces

Online teaching marketplaces connect you with students and allow you to set your own rates. You’ll be responsible for lesson planning and developing materials and the marketplace will take a commission. This can be a good way to start gaining initial experience if you’re struggling to get hired by an online teaching company, but it’s also possible to work your way up and earn even more than than these companies pay!

Freelance teaching

Cut out the middleman and keep 100% of what the student is charged as a freelance English teacher. Working for yourself means you’re responsible for everything from marketing yourself to creating lessons. There’s a lot more work and responsibility involved in teaching freelance compared to working for a company or on marketplace, but the earning potential is much higher.

Check out our TEFL Jobs Centre for current TEFL jobs worldwide and let us know in the comments where you’d like to teach! 

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