Teaching English abroad can be a scary but exciting career change! Like any industry, it’s all about getting your foot in the door. In this blog, we are going to show you step-by-step how to do exactly this. From choosing the right TEFL course to searching for jobs that are right for you, having no experience isn’t a huge hurdle anymore with these tips and tricks! 

Making the big move with a TEFL certification and teaching abroad, you may find it easier to start off with an internship program or teaching abroad programs. This means you’ll receive the support needed and anticipate less stress while moving abroad. This can include anything from visa assistance to CPD training programs to accommodation!

Teaching English abroad

Best Courses to choose without Experience – TEFL or TESOL

When aspiring teachers don’t have experience in TEFL or TESOL, we would always suggest that bulking up your education section will help you look more desirable on your CV / resume. This is why we would suggest the Level 5 government regulated option. Yes, you’ll need to put in a little more time into study and there is a continuous assessment process that’s harder than the minimum standard 120 hours. However, potential employers also know this, and know that when you have this certification, you know your stuff! 

We would also suggest that you complete the 10 hour Virtual TEFL Course. This includes teaching practice and a tutor-led learning through Zoom. This is looked at favourably by employers as it includes the same tutor-lad aspect as a CELTA or TrinityTESOL. 

Our favourite pick is definitely the 310 hour Level 5 Hybrid TEFL Course. You can now also split your payments with this one so it won’t break the bank! 

Teaching teaching online

What is Experience for English Teaching Jobs? 

You may see “experience” written down on job posts and feel like you won’t be able to get it. But that is not always the case. Schools and programs know that when you have a certification, you know about grammar, sentence structures, etc. What they are looking for is if you have experience in skills you can’t learn by studying, such as classroom management or student negotiation. So, what can you write down on your CV / resume that will help you make it better? Here are some ideas: 

  • Training new staff and supervisor roles shows leadership skills and patience. 
  • Coaching or tutoring are also forms of teaching. 
  • Kids camps or summer jobs will show your passion about enriching children’s experience.

What kind of Job Prospects

There are some higher paid positions within the TEFL or TESOL industry that do prefer or even require experience. These can be jobs such as exam preparation or business, industry specific teaching. When starting out in TEFL as a graduate, we suggest starting with teaching young learners. Why? Because young learners are normally all on the same level of English with the same goals. You are looking at teaching beginners English to elementary school children. This is where most teachers start out and proves to be the easiest in terms of English skills to do (by no means are we saying it’s the easiest classroom management!). 

Best Countries to aim for as a TEFL Tutor

As mentioned, the best TEFL jobs to look for when wanting to teach English abroad is a teaching position for young learners. So, the first thing to look at is if TEFL is run through the public school system. Not that if it’s not that it’s impossible to get a job, it just means that you’ll have more variety in location and more job opportunities. 

Another thing to look at is the population of a country. The larger the population, the more built-up areas there are and the more jobs are available. As someone with no TEFL experience wanting to teach English abroad, the more positions they have available, the less requirements are needed. With a larger need for English teachers, there will also be a larger amount of TEFL programs. Internship and supported job programs will have accommodation or assistance, set up support and training programs. These types of programs are definitely what you need to be looking at. Not only for a chance of acceptance, but for yourself. It is a great way to meet new people, gain confidence in the classroom and have overall less stress when moving abroad. 

The main hot spots with these conditions are; Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, China, Argentina and Spain. There are many more, but these are just to name a few! 


What qualifications do you need to teach English abroad?

The short answer is that you need a TEFL or TESOL qualification to teach English abroad. You don’t even need a degree! The minimum requirement is 120 hours of teacher training, where an accredited certificate is given at the end. In some countries or niches of the TEFL/TESOL world, you’ll need a Level 5 qualification. This can be the Level 5 TEFL certificate, Trinity TESOL or CELTA, to name a few. 

Some countries around the world require a Bachelor’s Degree for work permit reasons, so this is also something to keep in mind when job searching. Some of the big ones include Thailand, UAE, China, Japan, Canada and some parts of Europe. 

Is teaching English overseas a good idea?

When looking to travel and see the world, the big question is always funding your experience. Working while travelling means you get to stay longer in your dream destination. When the local language is not your mother tongue, it can be extremely difficult to secure employment. Many love going the farm route and picking for farmers and such, which can be really fun for the months of summer. One thing’s for certain, all customer facing jobs, such as tourism or retail are out the window. 

If you’d like something a little more permanent and stable, teaching English abroad is a fantastic way to go! Besides getting a well received and enjoyable profession, you’ll receive a stable pay with school hours and find time to enjoy and see the country you now reside in. So, yes, absolutely, it’s a great idea! 

Is there an age limit to teaching English abroad?

Let’s start with the minimum age limit. Most jobs will look for 18+ year olds. This is standard around the world and will coincide with the country’s employment laws and hours that you can work. Schools will also have this preferability to find mature, responsible teachers. If you are under 18 and want to start some work early, a good idea is to look at summer camp jobs nearby as a language assistant to young learners on holidays for the summer. You’ll live on-site with a group and do activities and play games through English. 

Some countries also require a Bachelor’s Degree as mentioned above, so these job posts will look for 21+ teachers as this is normally around the age you’ll receive a degree. More untouched countries like Cambodia or Bolivia for example may look for older (normally 22 or 23+) as they are looking for mature, travel experienced teachers who will be able to adapt to the culture shock. 

The official maximum age limit depends on the country’s employment laws and retirement age. This varies, but you are looking at an average of 65 years old. A way to get around this is perhaps some volunteer work. You’ll get to experience a new country, work a little less, teach English to the underprivileged and keep your pension rolling in for money. Most volunteer programs will also house and feed you so your expenses will be minimal. 

In terms of a maximum age limit preferability, this can differ depending on the country and job that is included. Jobs that are based within camps or have young learners normally look for energetic, young teachers to keep up momentum of this type of work. So this could be under 35 years of age. If you are over 35 years old, we would suggest looking for more professional roles, such as teaching English to adults. 

Internships are also something to look at with age. Internship programs may use student visas and they will need to adhere to the student visa terms. 

Do you need to speak a foreign language to teach TEFL?

TEFL teaches you how to teach English without the use of translation. Speaking the local language is not a requirement for jobs at all. Some countries where English is not well spoken by the country on average may ask you to have the basics to talk to the principal or parents. However, as a whole or going through a program with western management means you won’t need to know anything. 

Before moving abroad, we would suggest learning a bit though! It will help you in shops and restaurants along the way. It is always appreciated by locals to know a bit of the local language. They’ll even start speaking English back to you and appreciate your effort. 

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