How to Get Your First Job Teaching English

How to get a job teaching English

Teaching English is the easiest way to live abroad. As long as you’re a native speaker and you’ve got a university degree (any subject), many places want you. Popular options include,

  • Japan
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Poland
  • Turkey
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Etc.

Most countries pay a salary which is low by America’s standards, however, the salary will typically be good for that country. For example, I taught English in Moscow. My apartment was paid for and I made about $900 on top of that. I lived well and was still able to save $450 a month. Many jobs also offer additional benefits,

  • Local health insurance
  • Reimbursement for airfare to and from the country
  • Accommodation
  • Paid holidays
  • Paid training


In class teaching experience is a must for a TEFL course

Most English schools require you to be a college graduate (any degree, it doesn’t have to be teaching). However, you will need to take a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. These typically run between $1,500 and $3,00. It’s important to find a course that offers classroom teaching experience. Online only courses are inexpensive but some schools do not accept them. Also, you want to teach your first lessons in a program. Stepping in front of real students with zero experience is inadvisable.

The most prestigious (and expensive) course is called CELTA. It’s rigorous but once you pass you’re all but guaranteed a job.

Finding a Job

The quickest way to find a job is Dave’s ESL Job Board, multiple listings are added every day. Before you start applying to jobs, make sure you have an updated CV that includes the name of the TEFL course you’ve completed or plan to complete. Some jobs may ask for a photo head shot. This is normal for positions outside of America.

If you send out 5 applications you’ll almost certainly here back from 2 or 3 schools. After a few emails they’ll typically ask you for a Skype interview. If that goes well they’ll offer you a position. Choose the best job and you’ll be on your way to a new adventure. Most jobs will arrange to pick you up directly from the airport, making the transition even smoother. Good luck!

*If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a message. Also, if you’re interested in teaching in Russia I wrote a free eBook about finding a good job there. 

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