TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it’s a certificate you need if you want to teach non-native speakers English. With a TEFL certificate, you can teach students of all ages – from young learners to adult business language learners – anywhere in the world. It’s recognised globally and is the key to kick-starting your English teaching career abroad, home or online.
TEFL Teaching in 2023: What to Expect
In 2020 the world turned on its head as the global pandemic threw everyone’s plans into disarray. Working from home became the new normal, and people were restricted to their houses for extended periods. To say this disrupted plans for teaching English abroad is an understatement. For the last two years, we have been trying to achieve a sense of routine. Many TEFL teachers were able to create new opportunities for teaching English online in 2023 as many educational establishments discovered creative ways to teach. It was important that pupils of all ages could continue their learning journeys. Travel became something we were just not allowed to do, which clipped the wings of many English teachers abroad.
However, we have arrived in 2023, and the majority of travel restrictions have been lifted, and we can now travel freely once more. So, if you are an English teacher with dreams of heading off to the far-flung corners of the world to teach English, this is your time to shine. Or it would be best if you made your dreams come true with determination and a TEFL qualification recognised worldwide.
The pandemic also damaged the global economy, but countries are beginning to recover. Now you will find that when it comes to converting currency, things are pretty much back to normal. Teaching abroad in 2023 offers a new and exciting lifestyle. So let’s look and see what you can expect and why we believe this is the perfect year for a new journey.
Expect Some Travel Restrictions
Although it is fair to say that the world has reopened mainly to travellers from other countries, some restrictions still exist in some areas. Sherpa.com has a fantastic resource. It shows any limits and what you need to know before travelling in real-time and is updated regularly. Many countries are still asking for evidence of vaccination and boosters, so providing this can make travelling much more accessible. However, if you choose not to have the vaccination, you will still find plenty of countries happy to accommodate you. According to experts, we have entered the era of living with COVID-19, and you should take precautions to prevent catching or spreading the virus. However, we are pretty much over the worst of the restrictions.
January is a great time to make travel plans. Those living in the western world can attest that it is the greyest and most miserable time of year. Chances of a vitamin D boost coming from the sun or slim to none. However, there are plenty of destinations crying out for English teachers that can offer you plenty of individual sites and experiences.
Many English teachers who taught online during the pandemic have managed to save themselves a nice little nest egg to fund their first adventure abroad this year. Some countries have introduced a new digital nomad scheme, including Spain, Croatia and Greece. In this case, you can choose your country of work provided they are participating in the system as long as you can evidence employment and the ability to support yourself financially.
Expect Some Budget Perks
In both the USA and the UK, inflation has skyrocketed, and wages have not kept up. As a result, the cost of living is soaring, yet the amount of money people are taking home has remained the same for many years. The opposite is true in some of the most popular destinations for TEFL teaching. In some of Latin America and south Asia, including Hong Kong and China, the cost of living has not changed in any way. Still, the amount of money people earn has increased or at least stayed above the annual average.
The perks of teaching in these countries mean that the yearly salary for English teachers abroad is higher than in many places and, indeed, the country’s national average. Of course, this will depend partly on the qualifications and experience you bring to the table and the type of institution that is employing you; but there is certainly good money to be made.
There are also many destinations with low living costs. So even if the wages offered aren’t that high, the standard of living you will be able to create for yourself is good. For example, countries like Thailand and Colombia do not have a reputation for paying the best, but the standard of living is good, and the experiences you will discover are worth their weight in gold. Many roles in different countries also include housing subsidies, transport costs and other perks for their teachers, so look around and see what you can achieve.
Of course, there will always be an element of needing the experience to get to the highest-paid jobs. Still, even if you are starting as an English teacher abroad and heading on your first adventure, there are lots of destinations waiting to welcome you with open arms.
Planning your itinerary around events worldwide is also a great way to earn money as you teach in new countries. It is a jam-packed year for sports worldwide, so it is a great time to travel. In 2023 the Nordic Ski Championships will take place in Slovenia. France is hosting the World Ski Championships, and the European Games are coming to Poland. The South-East Asian games will be in Cambodia in 2023, and the FIBA Basketball World Cup is headed to the Philippines. Rugby union will hold its six Nations without restrictions. In South America, you can enjoy the Atlético Nacional–Millonarios derby in Colombia or the Argentian Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Of course, it’s not all about sport. Plenty of other events happen all over the world, and many were limited or cancelled by the pandemic. So this year, you can expect them to be back in all their glory. For example, in Rio de Janeiro, you have the famous carnival. In China, the Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival, and in Valencia, Spain, plays host to La Tomatina, a massive food fight. If you are a citizen from an EU member state, you could also check out Croatia. Who is joining the Schengen agreement, which means you can work and travel freely without restrictions.
Expect to be in Demand
The demand for TEFL teachers across the globe remains high. One of the most significant areas of opportunity in Latin America. There is a vast population of over 659 million, which continues to grow. As an emerging country looking to take place in global markets, the demand for English teachers is high. Finding work here as a newly qualified TEFL teacher is more accessible than in some areas. There are plenty of opportunities if you do not have a degree or are not a native English speaker. A high-quality qualification like ours offers the essential weapon in your armoury for securing a great job teaching English abroad.
South Asia also offers a myriad of opportunities. Countries like Vietnam provide fantastic experiences, and Cambodia is jam-packed with new opportunities. You will have a chance to experience the delights of street food, local art and architecture and immerse yourself in a new culture while earning money to fund your adventure.
Again this is an excellent area for those who have recently obtained the qualification and want to head out on their first adventure. Of course, your salary will be dependent on your experience. Still, the cost of living is very reasonable in South Asia. So no matter how much you earn, you will be able to afford a good standard of living during your time there.
Opportunities in the UAE
Qatar hit the headlines during the 2022 World Cup, and the Middle East is an excellent destination for teaching English. As well as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the UAE all have lots of opportunities for TEFL teaching in 2023. This is a destination for highly qualified candidates. It’s not the best area to begin your teaching journey if you do not have a degree or experience. But if you meet their qualification requirements, you will find that the roles you are offered are lucrative and the standard of living is very high.
It is a family-orientated location, and they generally try and accommodate spouses and children who will be relocating with you. Many jobs include housing and transport allowances making things a lot easier if you have a family in tow. Your children could be educated at international schools. This is where the most highly paid jobs will be found for English teachers in the Middle East, as obviously, not all expatriates come from English-speaking countries.
Expect Lots of Choices
There are many fantastic teaching programs all over the globe. Europe is a great place to live and work, with a demand for English teachers in many countries, specifically Greece, Portugal, Romania, Poland and Italy. In France, the TAPIF program is always delighted to receive applications from qualified TEFL tutors. The program is aimed at teachers aged between 20-35 and is referred to as a teaching assistant program in France. It places suitable candidates in teaching assistant roles in secondary and elementary schools on a seven-month contract. The program is currently limited to American citizens who have a degree.
In Thailand, there is a Thailand teaching program which offers an excellent salary, help with your Visa application and airport pick-up transfers to help you settle in. To apply to the program, you must be a native of the United Kingdom, USA, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Ireland. It would be best if you held a bachelor’s degree, but the subject area is unimportant. However, you must have a TEFL qualification and be fluent in English. You can apply to the program at any time of the year. It usually takes 3 to 4 months before you receive your teaching placement.
If you feel that the amount you are earning is insufficient, you can always top up your income by teaching English as a private tutor. Most countries will allow this, but it does depend on your Visa requirements, so check before setting up. Another way of topping up your income is to teach English online in your spare time, provided that you have a reliable Internet connection wherever you have chosen to base yourself. Again be sure of the rules governing earning money on a self-employed basis in the country where you live.
Teaching English abroad is incredibly rewarding and excellent for personal development and experiencing more of the world than you thought possible. In addition, it gives you a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn about other people’s way of life. Being a TEFL teacher abroad in 2023 is also somewhat flexible, and you can create a plan to change your country every so often. This means you can truly explore the world and manage your
finances. If it’s your first gig abroad, you may want to limit yourself to just a few months. Then return home to chat with all that is familiar.
Before heading out, the main thing to ensure is that you have a recognised TEFL qualification. And you have researched living and working in the country you intend to spend time in. Other than that, you can expect your TEFL journey in 2023 to be rewarding and enjoyable.
To get a TEFL certificate you must take an accredited TEFL course. The minimum training required by employers worldwide is 120 hours. You can choose between accredited, government regulated Level 5 or combined TEFL courses. You’ll find TEFL courses are either online or combined in-class and online experiences.
Getting a TEFL certification from a recognised, trusted provider is essential when it comes to receiving high-quality training and finding a job. Always go for a globally recognised accredited certification. It’s also worth double checking company reviews to make sure customers are satisfied with their training.
What’s the difference between accredited and government regulated Level 5 TEFL courses?
The Accredited 120 Hour Premier TEFL Course is what we call one of our fast-track courses. This is the minimum recognised worldwide.
- You have 10 modules to complete usually taking 4-6 weeks.
- Each module has a multiple-choice test at the end, and you need 80% to pass.
- You’ll get your digital certificate on completion and can buy a hard copy from us if you’d like one with an embossed logo.
Level 5 Ofqual-regulated courses offer more in-depth training. If we look at the 180 Hour Level 5 TEFL Diploma in comparison:
- Learners typically spend 12 – 14 weeks to complete 11 modules.
- The pass mark is 100% and assessments are multiple-choice plus open-ended answers. Don’t worry, you can redo quizzes to get 100%. Our academic team will review your answers at the end of your 11 modules and may ask for some questions to be reattempted. Some questions may require you to provide academic references.
- You’ll get your digital coursework completion certificate from us after module 11. Following successful assessment from our academic team, we’ll be able to claim the licence for your Ofqual (government) certificate from our accreditation body Highfield.
The Ofqual-regulated Level 5 course range is for those who want to gain a higher-level, more recognised qualification.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers teach English in non-native English speaking countries. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) teachers teach English in native English speaking countries. CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) is a separate qualification you can get to teach English.
TEFL: One of the most accepted certificates worldwide, this allows you to teach English to non-native speakers across the globe.
TESL: As a TESL teacher, you would likely be teaching English in your home country to students who have moved or live in an English speaking country. In other words, they are continuously surrounded by the language and will be using it every day outside of the classroom, unlike TEFL students who are likely learning in their home country.
CELTA: A very prestigious certification that follows a strict regulation created by Cambridge University. You must complete a 120-hour TEFL course and six hours of teaching real ESL students. Most of the programmes are held over a month and are full time. However, you may be able to find some courses that are part-time and are spread over three months. Due to its intense nature and requirements, the cost tends to be much higher and can be up to €1700!
Yes! Teaching English as a foreign language – online or in-class – will give you an abundance of transferable skills. From time management to problem-solving and communication, you’ll have plenty of experience to impress future employers. As your TEFL certification never expires, you can get back into TEFL whenever you wish, too.