Teach English Abroad: 5 Ways You Can Become A TEFL Teacher

This is a sponsored post from our partner, Premier TEFL.

English is a universal language that is widely used as a medium of communication in school and in business. The ability to speak in English opens doors for scholars and entrepreneurs, which is why the market for teaching English has significantly grown over the years. 

Many are now endeavoring to teach English abroad as a career or as a way to earn money during their sabbaticals or gap year.  You can actually teach English abroad and get paid for it or you can teach English abroad for free. Paid or not, you are contributing to someone’s chances of acquiring new knowledge, gaining new friends or contacts, and having an edge in today’s global workplace.

Below are some routes you can take for a career in teaching English as a second language:

Have an English Degree

English, Literature or Education degree holders are definitely qualified to teach English abroad, especially if they have some experience. If you have obtained a diploma or graduate certificate in these areas, and are familiar with the tenets of teaching languages to non-English speaking learners, then you are likely to be considered for employment by English schools overseas.

You may be required to undergo some form of TEFL training, although that is often already included in your practicum or classroom training.  



TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or DELTA (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are the different types of certifications that would qualify you to teach English abroad.

The first three are more or less similar in features and are applicable to aspiring English teachers without prior experience. On the other hand, the CELTA and DELTA, which are both administered by the Cambridge University through accredited partners, can only be taken by English teachers who have two or more years of teaching experience.

If you are unsure whether teaching is for you, you can test the waters first by obtaining a TEFL, TOEFL or TESOL certificate. Once you’ve decided that you really want to embark on an overseas teaching career for the long-term, then enroll in a CELTA or DELTA course. Many English teachers abroad have gone this path.


There’s always an opportunity to teach English abroad whether you are looking to get paid or not. English teachers are needed in various parts of the world, especially in developing countries. South American countries like Chile, Peru, and Colombia are looking for English teachers all the time, and are willing to provide you accommodation or food in exchange for your services. The same perks are also offered by institutions in rural towns in Southeast Asia that need English teachersCambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand are the top countries where volunteer teachers are in demand.

Internships and Scholarships

Some English teaching companies offer native English speakers a chance to practice their teaching skills through overseas internships or scholarships. The internships normally require you to pay an upfront fee for your training and accommodations, which you can immediately offset once you start earning.

The same goes for scholarships, which you have to apply for beforehand and undergo some screening. Through internships and scholarships, you will have the chance to practice your teaching at a local school, or even take classes at the TEFL provider’s local partner university.  

Live with a Host Family

One way that you can earn a living abroad by teaching English is by staying with a host family and working for them as an English tutor. Some families, especially in non-English speaking countries in Europe such as Spain and Portugal, are eager to take in foreign travelers who are fluent in English or are native English speakers, to teach them to speak the language in return for food and accommodation.

What To Expect

Most companies pay English teachers as high as $20 in Vietnam and Thailand, where ESL teachers are in demand. A common starting rate across the board is $12 per hour, which isn’t bad since the cost of living in Southeast Asia is relatively low.

Meanwhile, rates are known to be higher in Taiwan, and China, although it depends on what part of the country you’re teaching at (cities tend to provide higher salaries of course because of the foot traffic and higher cost of living). Some employers also provide food and accommodation for free or deduct a reasonable portion of the costs from the English teacher’s salary.

The typical work hours for teachers are about four to five hours each day, at five to six days per week. Most teachers have a second job, i.e. teach English to young learners during daytime and teach adults at night classes, or do online freelance work.

Legal Documents

Before you book a flight, make sure that you have obtained a health certificate and police clearance from your home country, as well as the necessary visa or work permits. Remember that you may have the right knowledge and experience to teach, but without the said legal documents, you won’t be able to stay.  

If you are interested to take the next step, Premier TEFL is one company that you may be interested to check out. Headquartered in Ireland, Premier TEFL is an accredited institution that offers English teaching courses to individuals interested to teach English abroad or in their country. Students can choose between different modes of learning, such as through online or distance learning, or traditional classroom training, such as through TEFL internships or scholarships.

Premier TEFL’s 240-hour English course combines five professional courses in one bundle. The bundle covers the standard TEFL course, but also allows course takers to be fully equipped to teach students who intend to take IELTS and TOEIC tests, a requirement for employment or studying in Western countries. The bundle also includes courses with a focus on Teaching Business English and Teaching Young Learners. For more information, explore Premier TEFL’s website.

This article contains affiliate links to our partner’s products. We earn a small commission from the sale for the upkeep of our website, should you decide to buy Premier TEFL’s products and services, at no extra cost to you.

(Featured Image Credit: Pixabay; 1, 2, 3, 4)

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