How Do I Become a TEFL Teacher?

M.C. Huguelet

If you dream of a job which combines working as an educator with the adventure of living abroad, you may want to become a TEFL teacher, or a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. To become a TEFL teacher, start off by researching the educational requirements and practical factors such as pay for the countries in which you might like to work. Once you have decided on a country, complete the required amount of TEFL training, including, if possible, classroom practice. Finally, use resources such as the Internet and your university’s study abroad office to locate available opportunities and begin applying for specific jobs.

Woman waving
Woman waving

The qualifications required to become a TEFL teacher vary from country to country. Thus, your first step on your quest for a TEFL job should be to research those countries in which you might like to work to find out what kind of qualifications are necessary. Many European countries require TEFL teachers to have both an undergraduate degree and TEFL certification, while certain Asian nations may require only one of these qualifications.

Before deciding on a destination, you should also research practical factors for the different countries you are considering. For instance, you should find out how much a TEFL teacher typically earns, and determine whether that wage will allow you to live comfortably. While European countries may pay TEFL teachers at a higher rate than that earned in parts of Asia, it is important to note that competition for European TEFL jobs can be fierce, with preference given to experienced teachers. You should also find out about factors such as housing costs and availability in your preferred locations, whether they have expatriate communities, and simply whether their cultures interest you.

Once you have chosen a country, complete the required amount of TEFL training. In many cases, this will involve enrolling in a TEFL certification course which may range from several days to several months in duration. During this time, you will learn the basics of planning and implementing English lessons. Seeking a course which offers a significant amount of classroom practice hours will likely help boost your confidence as you begin working. In fact, you might wish to consider completing TEFL training even if it is not required by your country of choice, as it may help you become an effective teacher.

With your research and training complete, you will be ready to become a TEFL teacher. Search Internet-based TEFL websites for job opportunities in the country in which you would like to live. If you are currently enrolled at a college or university, you may also find it useful to speak to someone in your study abroad office. As you decide which jobs to apply for, take into consideration such factors as whether the employer provides housing or reimburses travel costs, and whether the job is located in a school, business, or adult training center.

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