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How to teach English abroad

Excited about teaching abroad, but not sure how or where to start? You’re in the right place! Start your teaching journey by following these brief steps:

  1. Be fluent in the English language. While English fluency is required, whether you must be a native speaker depends on the country you choose to teach in.
  2. Obtain a bachelor’s degree or four-year degree equivalent. Although it’s possible to find a teaching job that does not require a four-year degree, most competitive countries will require applicants to have a college degree. However, it can be in any subject – you’re not limited to education!
  3. Get TEFL certified. Getting certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is highly encouraged to ensure you’ll feel confident leading a classroom and crafting lesson plans. TEFL certified candidates automatically have an advantage over other non-certified teaching candidates.
  4. Decide where you want to teach. Whether you’re interested in being a classroom assistant and enjoying the sunshine in Spain or spending your weekends adventuring through jungles in Taiwan, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your teaching and travel goals.
  5. Start researching teaching programs. Get started here on Go Overseas! Browse and compare hundreds of teaching programs and read verified reviews, written by teachers just like you!
  6. Create an ESL resume and prepare for the interview. Start crafting an effective ESL teacher resume that outlines your qualifications and teaching experience.
  7. Apply for your visa, passport, and travel insurance. Depending on where you decide to teach, you’ll need to apply for a work visa.
  8. Enjoy your time teaching English abroad! Though you’ll need time to adjust to your new classroom and life abroad, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time. You’ll travel and see exciting sights, meet new people, and gain professional teaching experience.

Can I teach abroad at any age?

Technically, yes as long as you’re at least 21 years old (though age requirements vary from country to country). Whether you’re a recent college grad, an established teacher looking for a change in scenery, or an older adult looking to teach and travel, you’re welcome to teach English abroad!

Where to teach English abroad

Whether you’re looking to assist a classroom in a small, rural village or gain experience teaching in a bustling city, there are opportunities everywhere!

Not sure where you want to teach? Try asking yourself these questions:

  • What kind of life are you looking to live while abroad? Are you looking for a higher paycheck or adventurous destinations to visit in your free time?
  • Are you interested in supporting the education systems in underprivileged communities?
  • What type of classroom environment do you feel more comfortable teaching in?
  • What benefits matter most to you (ex: housing, health insurance, etc) and what are you willing to pay out of pocket for?

You can also start by comparing these popular teaching destinations.

Best for high pay: Japan

Japan is known for its stunning, picture-perfect landscapes, delicious cuisine, efficient and reliable transportation system, and rich history. Plus, ESL teachers are well-regarded in Japan, with teachers in high demand in schools across bustling major cities, as well as charming, rural towns. The good pay and competitive benefits, like free housing, transportation passes, and in some schools, meals, also help make Japan a popular option for teachers.

Best for comprehensive benefits: South Korea

If having your accommodations, flights, and health insurance covered helps give you peace of mind, then teaching English in South Korea may be the route to go. South Korea is praised for having great pay on top of comprehensive benefits for teachers. However, it’s important to note that teaching jobs in Korea can be highly competitive and therefore may have stricter requirements, in comparison to other popular teaching destinations.

Best for minimal job requirements: Spain

For teachers looking to live a laid-back lifestyle accompanied with sunny weather and an affordable cost of living, Spain is a great choice. Teachers in Spain can expect to make between $730-$1460 USD a month, depending on the city and job type. Although pay is lower, the job requirements are less strict than other countries, as English teachers in Spain are not required to have a four-year degree.

Types of teaching jobs abroad

There are several different types of jobs available worldwide for teachers, and thoughtful planning can help you find the right one for you.

Take a look at these common types of English teaching jobs abroad:

Whether you choose to help professionals excel in their field with business English classes, assist teachers at a language school, teach K-12 in public or private schools, or become an after-school English tutor, there are plenty of teaching opportunities out there!

Teach abroad salaries

ESL teachers can make $900-$5,500 per month around the world.

ESL teacher salaries can vary greatly, based on location, type of school, local cost of living, and job requirements such as teaching credentials and experience. On top of your salary, part of your compensation will typically include benefits such as flight reimbursements or free housing from the organization.

While some countries pay their teachers more than others, you can count on Asia (the Middle East and East Asia, specifically) to be one of the most popular places to earn a high salary teaching overseas.

Below are some countries with the highest paying ESL teaching salaries and comprehensive benefits.

Explore the full list: Which Countries Pay the Highest Salaries for Teaching Abroad?

Keep in mind, a high salary shouldn’t be your only deciding factor when choosing where to teach abroad. The country's cost of living and your broader impact on the local community should also be considered!

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