When you’ve become qualified to teach English as a foreign language, you emerge bright-eyed and certified into a world that’s jam-packed with opportunities to teach English overseas.
At the risk of dropping a cliché almost the size of the planet itself, the world is your oyster. It’s natural to have myriad questions, though: where can I earn the best living teaching English abroad? Which country is best suited to my needs? Where can I party? Where will I get peace and quiet, and stunning rural landscapes? Where needs English teachers the most? Simply put, where are the best places to teach?
There are plenty of ways to quantify these kinds of things. Salary rankings online and the English Proficiency Index are pretty good guides for knowing how much you can earn, and where teachers are most in-demand. Or, if you’re choosing based on ‘feel’, looking up cities on Lonely Planet, or even idly Googling places to TEFL, is as good a route to finding out the “best countries” as any.
However, for your ease, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of great countries to kick-start your TEFL adventure. Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America – you name it, we’ve got it here.
Until English schools open up in Antarctica, and foreign English teachers get to teach private lessons to penguins, you can be safe in the knowledge that all of this info is up-to-date and extremely relevant to helping you pick out where to TEFL.
Let’s dive in, and help you make the best TEFL decision you can, based on preference, salary, need for teachers and other factors that matter.
Before you pick your TEFL destination, you want to be sure that you’re TEFL qualified and trained for the job by a reputable, internationally-recognised provider. 120 hours remains the industry standard, and it’s what employers want to see before they consider taking you on. A free or heavily discounted Groupon TEFL certificate is unlikely to land you a job with a good employer.
As we say, 120 hours is the base level and should be enough for a whole host of opportunities. However, if you want to expand your knowledge of TEFL, and be equipped for specific challenges facing students, you might want to consider Advanced TEFL courses.
These kinds of courses tend to focus on specialist areas of TEFL, for example teaching young students, exam preparation, teaching Business English and a range of other potentially specific challenges in a TEFL career.
Any teacher, in any subject, will tell you that preparation is everything. You just don’t know what each crop of students will bring to the table, whether you’re in a teaching job at any number of public schools, language schools or wherever.
Either way, you’ll need to be TEFL certified to get the most from a career in teaching English abroad.
The Best Places to Teach English in Asia
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Asia is an incredibly popular TEFL destination.
From the bright neon lights of Japan’s sprawling city centres to the rural majesty of Vietnam’s countryside, Asia offers a whole host of opportunities for English teachers. Whether it’s tropical climes, revolutionary political history or modern, booming economies, Asia is full of unique landscapes and challenges.
Which is best to teach in? Well, that’s up to you!
In what’ll be a shock to nobody reading, Japan is a massively popular TEFL destination.
Stereotypes dictate that Japan is a land of stunning, futuristic technology, bright lights and karaoke. That’s far from the whole picture though – and to reduce Japan to a snapshot from a film doesn’t tell its incredible story.
What’s it like to teach English in Japan, though? For a start, Japan is one of the trickier places to get in. The country has strict immigration rules, which means a TEFL teacher will need a degree to get a work visa.
There are ways around this, but for most well-paid and sustainable jobs, employers will be looking for a bachelor’s degree. Naturally, a TEFL certificate is also a requirement for teaching jobs in Japan.
When you’re there, expect a basic monthly salary – for full-time positions – to be in the region of 220,000 – 280,000 Yen (£1,600 – £2,000 / $2,100 – $2,675) per month, with 250,000 Yen (£1,820 / $2,390) being a common average salary for English teachers. Much of this, though, depends on where you teach. That’s in regards to the locale, so either a city or somewhere more rural, and the type of school you work in.
It’s not just the splendour and history of Japan that draws TEFL teachers in, though. The JET Programme has seen many aspiring English teachers come to Japan and placed in schools right across the country. Given the country’s surprisingly low ranking for English proficiency, correcting the shortfall in English speakers is a priority.
So, there is a range of opportunities, despite the comparatively strict requirements. Japan, as a place, speaks for itself. As a TEFL destination, again – you’d expect it to be popular. It very much is.
See our post about teaching English in Japan!
There are 1.9 billion people in China, and a pretty substantial number of those Chinese citizens are learning English – 400 million, in 2020. It almost goes without saying, then, that there’s a substantial market for English teaching in China.
China’s schools and English learning businesses are big on quality. It’s about hiring the right candidate, especially those who won’t encounter any working visa issues. Like Japan, China is strict from an immigration standpoint, so the requirements for both native and non-native English teachers are understandably strict.
However, if you’re under 55, hold a Bachelor’s degree and 120 hours of TEFL certification, China is immensely rewarding. In terms of finances English teachers can earn around 9,000 – 18,000 RMB (£1,000 – £2,000 / $1,300 – $2,575) per month, with an average teacher salary of approximately 13,000 RMB (£1,450 / $1,860) per month.
Beyond the monetary aspect though, Chinese schools and businesses can be fantastic places to work. Some will offer accommodation, travel expenses and even Mandarin classes, so you can speak one of the local languages!
From the buzzing metropolitan areas like Beijing and Shanghai to the vast countryside, there are hundreds of millions of learners across 9.6 million square kilometres of land who are desperate to increase their vocabulary and fluency in English.
Find out everything you need about teaching English in China
Over recent decades, Thailand has established itself as a hotbed for international tourism, from backpackers on gap years to families and solo travellers alike. In the first quarter of 2022, Thailand generated 332 billion Bhat (7.5 billion GBP/9 billion USD) in tourism income, and it’s more than likely we’ll see those numbers continue to skyrocket.
With that kind of demand from tourists, it stands to reason that Thailand would open its arms to English teachers. The government of Thailand has a dedicated educational programme geared towards English proficiency, and it’s a great proving ground for TEFL teachers young and old.
The average income at an international school is 30,000 THB – 40,000 THB (£740 – £980 / $1,000 – $1,280) per month, but that can double or triple for experienced teachers who spend the long-term in Thailand.
Naturally, the capital city of Bangkok is the most popular destination, but other areas including Chiang Mai, Phuket and Kora are increasingly in-demand locales for English teachers abroad.
If you like the sound of Thailand, check our guide on teaching English in Thailand!
Much like Thailand, Vietnam has established itself as a premier TEFL destination over recent years. Packed full of UNESCO heritage sites, buzzing city-scapes and a surge in English learners, Vietnam is a name on the lips of numerous new TEFL teachers, and it’s not hard to see why.
Nestled in the Southeast of Asia, Vietnam is warm year-round, with friendly students and teachers providing a welcoming teaching atmosphere. Expats love the street food culture, as well as the gigantic stretches of beaches and the thud of the city’s nightclubs partying until the wee hours.
You’ll need a TEFL certificate, as well as a degree, to get started in the majority of cases, as well as a clean criminal background check. For teachers who meet the criteria to teach abroad in Vietnam, there’s a really healthy enthusiasm for English learning, as well as a robust educational system in place.
For getting into Vietnam, you’ll be rewarded with a more than decent salary – 27,700,000 VND – 46,171,000 VND (£920 – £1,500/$1,200 to $2,000 USD) per month is the average. Given Vietnam’s cheap cost of living, it’s more than enough to get by, and travel around the country is relatively inexpensive.
See our full guide on teaching abroad in Vietnam.
Perhaps one of the most coveted TEFL destinations in recent years, South Korea is a bucket list country for countless English teachers.
Similar to Japan, it can be tough getting into South Korea to teach English abroad. The Land of Morning Calm is actually anything but once you get involved in teaching there. Schools and students are demanding, but it’s a more than welcome test for the more fearless English teachers emerging from a TEFL course.
In terms of basic salary, TEFL teachers in South Korea can expect around 2 million – 2.5 million Won (£1,280 – £1,600 / $1,670 – $2,000) per month. The demand for English in South Korea is enormous, as an outwardly-looking and upwardly-mobile economy. Check out the government-run EPIK programme, which is a popular route to teaching in the country.
As stated, the entry requirements for South Korea are pretty strict. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, a TEFL certification, citizenship from an English speaking country such as the US, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, or South Africa, a background check showing a national-level criminal record without any charges or convictions and a clear health check and drug test.
So, there are hoops to jump through for English teaching positions. However, if you make the landing, South Korea is a fantastic TEFL destination and well worth the effort; eminently affordable, constantly fascinating, and brilliantly challenging.
For more on Teaching Abroad in South Korea, read our guide!
Taiwan might not strike as the most obvious or attractive destination for TEFL certified teachers, but that’s only because it doesn’t have the big-name appeal of Japan, South Korea or China.
Given time, though, more and more people will realise the splendour of the island. Taiwan has the financial opportunities of Japan and South Korea combined with the cost of living of China – meaning there’s real financial imperative to head out there.
Beyond recompense, though, Taiwan is an alluring place to teach English abroad. The country’s government is keen to make Taiwan a “bilingual nation” by 2030, so the opportunities are abundant for new and experienced English teachers alike.
The salaries on offer are more than decent – teachers earn NT$50,000 – NT$65,000 (£1,335 – £1,735 / $1,700 – $2,220) per month – but you’ll need a degree and, of course, at least 120 hours of TEFL certification under your belt before heading over.
A great place to get started for TEFL teachers looking to try their luck in a foreign country for the first time, Taiwan represents a jewel of Asia, a country that remains truly underrated.
The Best Places to Teach English in the Middle East
With its burgeoning, oil-rich economies, it’s little surprise that the Middle East has become a favoured destination for workers of all kinds. Whether it’s infrastructure, energy, technology or almost anything else, the Middle East has seen enormous growth in recent decades.
That extends to those who want to teach English abroad. The Middle East has become an extremely attractive proposition with ample job opportunities, but it’s not just about the money on offer. If you can adapt to the Middle Eastern lifestyle, there’s a smorgasbord of breathtaking modern architecture, stunning views and historical sites.
The requirements are strict, but if you’re eligible, the Middle East is a fantastic choice.
The United Arab Emirates, made up of 7 distinct principalities, including Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and, of course, Dubai.
Arabic is the official language of the Emirates – unsurprisingly – but the UAE was occupied by the British until 1971. As such, English is the lingua fraca, and as the unofficial language of business worldwide, it’s in the UAE’s education system’s interest to teach English far and wide.
Let’s get it out of the way – the wages are excellent. The average salary for an English teacher in the UAE is 8,000 – 15,000 dirhams (£1,575 – £3,000 / $2,200 – $4,000) per month. The best wages top out around 22,000 dirhams (£4,300 / $6,000) per month. Not to mention, salaries in the UAE are tax-free.
Additionally, a lot of English teaching jobs will come with free accommodation and travel expenses, so you can save money away if that’s your prerogative. For any English teacher overseas who’s conscious about financial independence in the future, the UAE is one of the best countries to teach in.
The demands are high though, and the standard of teaching reflects that. As well as a degree, you might well need a Master’s degree to land the top jobs. Of course, you’ll need TEFL qualifications, and most often, a couple of years of teaching experience is a must.
Read more about teaching abroad in the UAE.
Just like the UAE, Saudi Arabia is a lucrative place to work as a TEFL teacher, with an excellent public school system. Another of the Middle East’s booming economies, the wages on offer and the teaching facilities in Saudi Arabia are considerable, and guess what? They’re hiring English teachers.
Starting wages tend to be 96,000 – 180,000 riyals (£18,160 – £34,000 / $25,000 – $48,000), working on average 20 to 30 hours a week. Hardly bad going, and Saudi Arabia is a surprisingly cheap place to live – the 3rd cheapest in the Middle East. These wages, then, translate into a pretty good lifestyle. Provided, that is, you can adjust to the very strict culture in the Middle East.
You’ll need a degree and, of course, a TEFL certificate, and also a few years’ experience under your belt. But you’ll find lucrative opportunities as well as the likelihood of travel and accommodation thrown in.
For more information, check out our guide to teaching abroad in Saudi Arabia!
A lot of TEFL teachers might not consider Kuwait as a good destination to teach English, but Kuwait’s underrated status means there are opportunities if you know where to look.
The requirements are strict, granted – you’ll need a British QTS or equivalent, or a degree and TEFL certification at the minimum. Either way, you’re unlikely to get into a teaching position in Kuwait without considerable experience. You also need to be under 60 to be considered for a teaching job in Kuwait. Requirements are strict – as is the case for most countries in the Middle East.
For your efforts, though, Kuwait offers a pretty decent salary and standard of living. The wages are good – 750 – 1,200 Dinar (£1,800 – £2,900 / $2,500 – $4,000) per month – and you don’t have to be a native English speaker to apply.
Accommodation and travel expenses also tend to be covered, while the educational system boasts incredible facilities.
The Best Places to Teach English in Europe
That doesn’t mean there aren’t job opportunities, though. With English being the lingua fraca of international business, and more than useful across multiple markets, there’s a great deal of importance placed on English across Europe. In Scandinavian nations, as well as the likes of the Netherlands – number 1 in the English Proficiency Index – English is taught as a second language from an early age.
Either maintaining or building those English abilities is a prerogative across a number of nations. Let’s have a look at the top places to TEFL in Europe.
Historic Germany has a robust educational system and one of the most consistently performing economies in the world.
But while the German schooling set-up is one of the best-performing, it’s not in the schools that TEFL teachers are most wanted. Instead, it’s commercial institutes with freelance teachers where the TEFL action is in Germany.
Extra TEFL certification really is a boost in Germany. If you have training in teaching Business English, for example, or English for IT, you’ll more likely to have schools clamouring after you. TEFL teachers, then, work largely for companies who assign teachers to different schools.
If you do land a full-time teaching position, you’re looking at an average salary of €1,200 to €2,000 (£1,1123-£1,872/$1,297-$2,162), but it’s more likely that a freelance gig, you’ll be earning €12-€16 (£11-£15/$13-17) for 45-minute lessons.
Living in Germany has many benefits. A very decent healthcare system, some of the most robust tenants rights in Europe, and a fascinating culture, whether you’re into techno, history, football, philosophy or both. If it’s getting into Berghain or tucking into some Jürgen Habermas, Germany has it all.
See our post about teaching abroad in Germany.
If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ll know some clichés are absolutely true. The food? Divine. The coffee? Just as good. You want sights? There’s the Colosseum, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Vatican, the Sicilian coast and plenty more. Fashion? Well, Milan, obviously. World-class sport? Serie A, my friend.
You probably don’t know it as well, though, as a potential destination for TEFL teachers. Though English is taught in school, Italy ranks 35th of 112 nations in the EPI, 26th out of 35 European nations. That’s not particularly benne.
It’s something the nation is working on, and it means that there are plenty of opportunities for teachers hoping to teach English abroad. You’ll need a sense of humour and a strong sense of self for Italian classes, where full-time jobs (like Germany) are fiercely competitive. An average full-time salary is around €1,200 to €1,400 (£1,054 – £1,229 / $1,312 – $1,531) per month, but there are lots more opportunities to be made in private tutoring.
Many jobs prefer degree-holders, and a TEFL certification is an absolute must. If you have 120-hours of TEFL training in the bag, you should be absolutely fine. The private sector – i.e. tutoring for businesses – is the best way to get started in Italy, where the cost of living is surprisingly cheap.
It’s beautiful, it’s eccentric and it’s idiosyncratic – there’s nowhere like Italy.
Which country is the most visited, worldwide? The USA? The United Kingdom? Italy, Germany or Spain?
Non! It’s France. France very much speaks for itself – a country with glamour, landscapes captured in breathtaking art from coast to coast, music pouring from every venue and a unique way of thinking and living.
France lands just outside the top 30 for English Proficiency, only just above Italy. Though French people have a reputation of being “snooty”, they’re a proud people, especially when it comes to the language. French is widely spoken worldwide, and knowing more than a couple of phrases in the native language is mighty helpful for any TEFL teacher.
English, though, is being increasingly seen as a bridge to much of the rest of the world. As such, TEFL teachers are in demand, specifically those with a degree, some experience and TEFL certification. The salaries are decent: on average, a TEFL teacher can earn €1,000 – €2,000 (£926 – £1,852/$1,082 – $2,164) per month, though there are programmes where you can earn even more teaching English.
Breaking into the world of TEFL in France can be tricky, due to the high demands placed on applicants. If you can do it, though, you’ll be the envy of your pals – there’s just something cool about France.
For more information, check out our guide to teaching English in France.
With a very high ranking on the English Proficiency Index (16th of 122 at the time of writing), Poland’s polyglottal abilities are little surprise. The country is nestled into a linguistically fascinating part of the world, with Russia and former USSR states on the right, Slavic languages below, and German to the left.
What’s it like to teach English in? Pretty outstanding, actually. The quality of life is very decent, with eye-catching architecture, a real community spirit and a love of winter sport that’s easy to get to grips with. Compared to Western Europe, the living is cheap but high-quality, with decent wages, ample accommodation and inexpensive public transport, meaning that whether you base yourself in Poznan or Warsaw, it’s easy to get out and explore.
If you want to pursue business as a school pupil in Poland, you’re required to take an English proficiency exam. Therein lies the key to how important the Polish education system places the English language, and it’s also reflected in what’s on offer to teachers. The wages may not be particularly high, but free accommodation, Polish lessons, visa assistance and paid holidays only help.
There are many clichés about Spain, but it’s a hugely diverse and culturally divergent nation nestled in the south-west of Europe.
Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s two biggest cities, are vastly different. Politically, linguistically, culturally, no two cities in Spain are alike. You could find yourself in the vastly self-reliant and proud Basque region, speaking an entirely different dialect to one you might find in Andalusia, for example.
One thing’s for sure, though, Spain is ever-improving its English skills. Teaching jobs are plentiful, and the wages are good in comparison to living costs – on average, a full-time position offers €1,200 – €1,500 (£1,053 – £1,317 / $1,300 – $1,623).
It’s also a great landing spot for first-time and non-native English teachers, given that you don’t necessarily need experience or to have English as your first language to teach there. The weather’s great, there’s a huge amount to explore, and it’s crying out for teachers; Spain is a great choice.
The Best Places to Teach English in Latin America
Maybe it’s us, but we can’t help but feel that Latin America is a hugely underrated destination for TEFL teachers.
As a continent, it’s more than welcoming to first-time English teachers. TEFL teachers, in fact, often don’t need a degree to get going in Central and South America. As long as you have demonstrable skills and – crucially – a TEFL certificate, you’re largely good to go.
Despite its colossal size, Latin America flies under the radar as a destination for English teachers. It really shouldn’t, and it doesn’t feel like it’ll be too long before the potential of the region is truly realised.
With its challenging climate and interesting geopolitics, Brazil isn’t a destination for the faint of heart. For an experienced and battle-worn TEFL teacher though, the Terra do Brasil is an endlessly fascinating and hugely rewarding place to work.
For many Brazilians, just like in other parts of the world, English ability is a key part of improving personal circumstances and developing an international career. You’ll be teaching for around 20-25 hours a week, with an average salary of £400 – £650 / $550 – $920 a month more than amply covering expenses.
You don’t need a degree, nor do you need to be a native English speaker. A 120-hour TEFL certificate will ensure interest from employers, while there are plenty of opportunities for outside tutoring to top up your finances.
Read more about teaching English in Brazil
Wetlands to highlands, jungles to deserts; does anywhere sum up the vast geological diversity of South America quite like Argentina?
A genuinely fascinating place to live, Argentina is emphatically proficient in English. The country ranks 30th worldwide on the EPI, and is South America’s most fluent English-speaking nation.
The turnover for teachers is high, and contracts are short. However, the more organised qualified teachers reading this will be heartened to know that freelance teachers tend to do best. The wages aren’t particularly high in Argentina – £465 – £930 / $600 – $1,200) per month – but if you’re willing to set up your own path in English teaching, you’ll far surpass the full-time averages.
For most positions, you’ll need a BA degree. Certainly, like everywhere else, you’ll need a TEFL certificate, but a lack of teaching experience isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.
Check our full guide to teach in Argentina.
The Colombia of today is a very different place from the nation we all grew up with. Since striking a peace agreement in 2016, Colombia has significantly shaken off a reputation of violence that would’ve stopped many TEFL teachers from arriving in El Dorado International Airport.
Now, it’s an increasingly popular venue to teach English abroad. From the Parque Arqueológico to the Piedra del Peñol, Colombia is full of fantastic sights to entice any tourist or teacher alike.
The wages aren’t incredible – £300 – £400/ $400 – $520 per month – but again, it’s all about context. Colombia’s cost of living remains cheap, and there are loads of opportunities with the country’s government making bilingualism a real focus in schools.
With miles and miles of beach, ancient jungle ruins, coral reefs, incredible festivals and food to die for, Mexico is one of the more popular tourist destinations of recent years. To make your stay permanent though, you could do far worse than teaching abroad in Mexico.
There are approximately 24 million English students in Mexico, which makes sense given its proximity to the USA. It means there are a glut of opportunities for English teachers, with no upper age limit on who can apply. If you have designs on being an ESL teacher after retirement, Mexico is a real option.
Employers might be picky, but a degree isn’t a necessity for a work visa. You will, however, definitely need 120 hours of TEFL training to be considered for jobs. The wages are more than enough to get by, with an average of £300 – £730/ $400 – $1,000 per month.
Full of brilliantly preserved history and sights, but with a modern, outward look, Mexico is a fantastic TEFL option.
If views alone were enough to encourage people to teach abroad, Chile would be the number 1 location for English teachers.
Its passion for football and food are also incredibly enticing, while its English teaching apparatus is considerable. There’s real demand for ESL teachers in Chile, and while the wages aren’t spectacular, they meet the cost of living in such a way that you won’t be out pocket.
Lessons are a bit more laid-back – don’t get cross if you find people turning up late for class – but the culture, the weather and the enthusiasm for English mean Chile is a real find.
Read more about teaching in Chile.
The Best Places to Teach English in Africa
Africa, from both a general and an English-speaking view, is a fascinating continent.
Much of Africa during the 1700 and 1800s was colonised by nations like Britain, France and the Netherlands, amongst others. This has left the continent as probably the most linguistically diverse on the continent.
From a teaching English abroad point of view, it also represents interesting and specific challenges. In the main, paid TEFL opportunities exist in the north of Africa, as we’ll get to, but there are other unique scenarios where English teachers are very much in-demand.
South Africa, the self-styled ‘Rainbow Nation’ after 1994, is as diverse in its languages as it is in its demographics. There are 11 national languages, including English, with 10% of the country using the language as their mother tongue.
That said, because it’s a national language, it’s mainly South Africans themselves who are hired for English teaching jobs. That’s not to say there aren’t jobs going though, especially if you happen to be bilingual. Conversational French will go a long way in South Africa.
To work as a teacher in South Africa, you’re best looking for online platforms, which have a high take-up rate. Alternatively, there are specific programmes for budding English teachers, including the Getting To Know English Centre, International House Johannesburg and the Lycée Jules Verne, which is primarily geared towards French and English speakers.
It can be tricky, but teaching in South Africa is massively rewarding. There’s plenty to see and do, including the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains and Maloti-Drakensburg Park, as well as countless stunning views across the country.
In terms of sheer drama and history, Egypt speaks for itself. The red sea, the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings – most likely, you studied Ancient Egypt at school, and always wanted to go.
As an adult, specifically as a TEFL teacher, there are plenty more good reasons to go. The wages are good, yes, but there’s also the permanently good weather, incorrigible wildlife and a fairly decent infrastructure for teaching English, including private and international schools where the best TEFL jobs tend to be.
You’ll need a degree for most jobs, and some conversational Arabic will certainly help, but as the educational sector in Egypt undergoes reform, your English skills could help immensely.
Students who are motivated to pass exams like the IELTS and TOEFL are actively seeking out private English tutors, which means there are real chances to make extra income if you’re smart enough to seek out the opportunities.
Egypt is legitimately fascinating, and as a TEFL destination, it’s growing in prominence. For more on Egypt, click here!
A predominantly Arabic and French-speaking country, Algerian youngsters are becoming increasingly cognisant that English abilities are useful for the world of higher education, business and other sectors.
They’re a savvy bunch, and for TEFL teachers, there are chances to get involved. Admittedly, the educational facilities within Algeria aren’t state of the art, in the main, but a salary of £820 – £1,600 / $1,130 – $2,350 on average means that the demand is there. A degree is required for most positions, but you don’t necessarily need a bulky CV to get going.
You want natural beauty? Well, lying below the Mediterranean and boasting a Saharan desert interior will lend itself well to that. Algeria has the Pic de Singes, La Playa beaches and the Caves of Jijel, along with countless other remarkable sights.
See our post on teaching in Algeria.
Just like Algeria, Tunisia offers some really stark geographic contrasts. A small nation packed with gorgeous scenery, you might see snow in the north, and there’s desert in the south.
It’s also a country of enormous historical importance. There’s the Roman Carthage and the Medina quarter, and Tunisia has been the setting of some seismic political events, not least the Revolution of 2011.
For TEFL teachers? The cities of Tunis, Sousse, and Carthage offer the best chances of employment, and salaries tend to be considerable; £980 – £2,000 / $1,400 – $2,830 is the average for a full-time position.
For the visa, you’ll need a degree, and of course you’ll need a TEFL certificate. Like Algeria and Egypt, there’s a real hunger from students to add English to their portfolio, and having some knowledge of French will go down a treat with employers.
A deeply interesting nation, Tunisia should probably be a more popular TEFL destination. Get in before the crowds figure it out!
Read more about Tunisia in our country guide.
Blending a mix of Islamic, Mediterranean and African cultural influences, Morocco is a truly unique place. Mere miles from Spain’s southern coast, Morocco is a wildly popular tourist destination, but it more than holds its own as a nation to teach English abroad.
Inspiring mountain landscapes, beautiful marketplaces and bustling cities make Morocco a truly special place. Not only that, for English teachers, there are opportunities to make a decent living, while teaching a student body that’s enthusiastic about learning English.
The salaries won’t blow you away; the average is 8,900 – 18,700 MAD (£720 – £1,500 / $1,000 – $2,100) per month. Context is important though, because that’s more than enough to comfortably get by in Morocco.
You’ll need experience and a degree to be considered for the vast majority of jobs, but if you meet the requirements, you’ll be rewarded with a country that has 9 (nine!) UNESCO heritage sites, including the stunning Medina of Marrakesh.
It’s tough to get in, but if you do? You’ll be met with one of the most diverse, fascinating and exuberant cultures in the world.
Requirements for teaching English abroad
There are no real hard-and-fast rules for nabbing a teaching position overseas. Teaching English can be done by those who’ve just switched mid-career, or they’ve been preparing their whole lives.
As we’ve covered, it’s vital to get a TEFL certification before you head anywhere. Otherwise, it’s difficult to demonstrate you have the skills and enthusiasm for teaching English abroad. It’s as simple as that.
Some countries may bar teachers above a certain age from teaching overseas. That said, there are plenty of fantastic destinations for those who are looking to retire and teach part-time in a brand new locale.
The most important part of looking at requirements for teaching English abroad is the work visa. We’ll get to the specifics of why a degree can be vital, but there’s a lot of other work that goes into securing a visa to work abroad. For this, some employers will give a helping hand, while using recruiters can also be a viable and sensible option.
All of this said, with the right direction, there’s no reason you can’t join one of the many thousands of people teaching English as a foreign language!
Degree or no Degree?
What makes it tricker in some regions is that a college degree is needed to be considered for a work visa. For countries with stricter immigration policies, a degree is a sign that you’re “qualified” to contribute to a country in a certain way. Whether that’s fair or not is really up to you.
The degree itself, and what it was in, is largely inconsequential, and it doesn’t need to be a Master’s degree. You could have a degree in Animal Psychology or Civil Engineering – the point is, largely, that you have demonstrable skills to show off to an immigration department, wherever it is you want to go.
However, there are large parts of the world where a degree isn’t necessary. As you’ll have read, much of Latin America, some of Europe, Asia and the Middle East don’t need to see a degree certificate. In Africa, you can jump into TEFL opportunities without a bachelor’s.
It’s dependent on either a country’s immigration rules or the employers themselves. When it’s visas, there’s no wiggle room. With employers, you can emphasise your other achievements and qualities.
Many ESL teachers worry about their level of teaching experience before plotting their first journey. However, a lack of experience doesn’t mean you’re barred from lucrative, rewarding and enthralling jobs worldwide.
Put it this way; if that was the case everywhere, there’d be no new TEFL teachers.
Again, Latin America takes a lead here. Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and other countries are crying out for new teachers to bring their ideas to the classroom. Countries like Jordan and Lebanon in the Middle East don’t require experience either, in the main.
Northern Africa is also a good landing spot for a TEFL newbie, while Southeast Asia also has opportunities for new English teachers who are looking for first-time ESL jobs.