So, you may have heard that there are opportunities to live abroad and get paid teaching English as a foreign language – and it’s true!
With approximately 1 billion people around the world taking some type of English language class every year, demand for English teachers is booming around the globe. A native, or even just a fluent English speaker, can get paid a livable wage or even save $500-1,000 a month to teach English as a foreign language in up to 100 countries, or even 100 countries around the world from China and Turkey to Spain and Argentina.
But, you may ask:
Can I teach English abroad without prior teaching experience or a degree in education or even English?
• How will I teach my students if I don’t speak their language?
• If I don’t have my college degree, can I teach English abroad?
In short, you do not need prior teaching experience, knowledge of a foreign language, or even a college degree to get hired to teach English abroad. All that is needed is a professional TEFL certification, which can be accomplished in 4 weeks.
If you don’t hold a degree in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), you’ll want to take an accredited 120-hour TEFL certification course to train you how to teach English on a professional level.
Gaining a TEFL certification is key to boosting your chances of getting hired as an English teacher abroad for two primary reasons:
• Tens of thousands of schools and language institutes around the world require this credential to hire new English teachers, schools want to hire teachers who have been trained, not just somebody off the street who happens to speak English!
• You need to learn the skills required of a professional teacher, including a grasp of teaching methodologies and practices, the ability to craft effective lesson plans, and the skills to manage a classroom. Gaining these skills will enable you to provide your students with a quality educational experience that will empower them to secure further educational and professional opportunities.
What kind of TEFL certification course do I need?
Spend 90 seconds searching “TEFL certification” on Google and you’ll quickly encounter a wide variety of TEFL training courses for teaching English abroad, from two-day weekend classes and self-taught online classes for $89 to four-week intensive classes taught by university instructors and state-of-the-art online courses that actually incorporate live practice teaching and instruction from highly qualified professors.
If you plan on teaching English abroad professionally (non- volunteer), you owe it to yourself and your students to invest in the training you need to succeed as a teacher and to earn recognized credentials.
Here are some basic standards you should look for in any TEFL certification course for teaching English abroad on a professional level:
• At least 6-20 hours of practicum (live practice teaching and observation with actual non-native English speakers and NOT role-playing with fellow TEFL classmates)
• An accredited curriculum from a recognized, independent organization within the field
• Instruction provided by a qualified instructor (who holds a Master’s degree in TESOL or related field and extensive experience)
An accredited TEFL certification course for teaching English abroad on a professional level will typically equate to a 4 week intensive class in-person, or a 11-13 week part-time class in-person or online. Two-day classes and even two-week classes, let alone self-paced online classes with no practice teaching will not provide you with the certification you need.
It is also recommended that you take your TEFL certification course from an organization that provides comprehensive job search guidance to assist you with the process of finding jobs and navigating the interview process, which vary widely from country to country.
How much will it cost?
A teaching degree in the United States will take an additional 2 years for a MA in education In contrast, a standard, accredited four-week intensive TEFL certification course will typically cost $1,500 – $2,500 in tuition plus $1,000 – $1,500 for the month of housing and food for a total of $3,000 – $4,000. An equivalent online TEFL class will typically cost $1,200 – $1,400.
Clearly, this is no small chunk of change, but when you consider that a typical study program costs at least $3,000 – $10,000, and that such an investment will enable you to teach English abroad and get paid in dozens of countries at any time in the future, it’s a pretty good deal and a great investment.
Where can I take my TEFL Class?
Standard four-week intensive classes are offered in locations all over the world, including the United States. International TEFL Academy, for examples, offers four-week TEFL classes in 25 locations around the world, including Italy; Thailand; and Chicago. In many countries, especially in Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, taking an international TEFL class on location not only provides the opportunity to spend four weeks in a cool foreign location, it can also put you right on the ground where schools will hire you locally right after the course.
Taking a course domestically can make a lot of sense if you aren’t sure exactly where you want to teach English abroad, or if you want to knock out your certification prior to going overseas to teach, especially if you have someone to stay with at the city to save on rent. Also, taking a class domestically or online can make sense for those who want to interview from home and line up their teaching job in advance of going abroad. This is common practice for those looking to teach in major Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and China, oil-rich Persian Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E., including Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and in some European countries like Russia and Turkey.
What About Online TEFL Classes – Are They Valid?
Like other TEFL classes, some will provide you with a valid credential, and some won’t. Those online TEFL classes that meet international standards for requisite hours of coursework; live practice teaching; instruction from qualified professors; and external accreditation from a recognized body in the field, will provide you with the skills and credential required to gain employment abroad.
Unless you’re looking to just volunteer, avoid online TEFL classes that are:
• Self-taught and self-paced
• Not taught by experienced, university instructors
• Without live practicum (practice teaching)
What about two-day TEFL courses and those discount online classes for $89?
Some training is better than no training, but if you want to receive a professional-level training and a credential that will actually qualify you for great teaching opportunities around the world, you should avoid cheap classes that do not meet international standards. Such classes are typically appropriate for volunteer work.
Want to learn more about TEFL classes and teaching English abroad?
Contact International TEFL Academy at www.InternationalTEFLAacademy.com/LASA to download a free brochure that details all aspects of teaching English abroad and TEFL certification, including salaries, hiring requirements, and visa information. You can also call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor regarding to all matters teaching English abroad.
About the author:
Bruce Jones, founder and president of International TEFL Academy has lived, worked, and traveled to over 30 countries around the world, including a 2 year, 20 country trip around the world. International TEFL Academy trains over 1,200 new teachers to teach English abroad every year.