Oceania is a relatively small region when you consider the number of countries it includes, consisting of Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Despite this, there are great opportunities to pursue a TEFL course, particularly in New Zealand and Australia.
If you’re not quite sure where you’d like to end up as a teacher, but you know that you’d like to explore the Land Down Under before going to teach elsewhere, then earning your TEFL certification here is an excellent plan. Go on wildlife hikes in the Australian outback to see koalas and wallabies in their native environments, take in a performance at the opera house in Sydney, visit the set of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, and make the absolute most of the adventures available while you get your certification…then travel to your teaching destination for a completely different set of adventures!
120-Hour TEFL Courses
The 120-hour TEFL courses can be conducted completely on-site, or they can be combination classes with online coursework and in-person supervised practice teaching. Some programs feature online training before you travel, followed by supervised practice teaching in your destination country, which can be super helpful. Classes that are completely on site can be more intensely scheduled, usually in a 4-week block, while combination classes can give a little bit more scheduling flexibility.
These programs can vary wildly in terms of how much support they for finding accommodations and/or organizing social or extracurricular activities, so be sure to ask your program about these things in advance! The 120-hour TEFL programs are the most common, in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world.
This is one specific type of English teaching certification, and it’s generally considered equivalent to the TEFL/TESOL. It usually is conducted in a 4-week block intensive (though there are extended versions of the classes that take place over 16 weeks). CELTA courses are available in Australia, but they are not currently available elsewhere in Oceania.
Planning Your Trip
When to Take Your TEFL in Australia/ New Zealand
Different types of TEFL and CELTA classes are available throughout the year in this region. Strategically, it makes the most sense to get your certification right before a hiring season in your teaching country of choice. If you’re getting your certification in Australia or New Zealand, most likely you’ll end up teaching English in another region entirely. So you’ll want to time your certification course in relation to the hiring season in your eventual destination country.
Popular Destinations for TEFL Courses in Oceania
Australia and New Zealand are the two main places to find TEFL courses. TEFL and CELTA courses are available in both countries in most of the major cities. Opportunities to obtain TEFL certifications elsewhere in Oceania will be primarily online.
What to Look for in a TEFL Course in Australia/ New Zealand
The most important consideration in choosing a TEFL course is finding one which is accredited; if you choose an unaccredited course, you can't be sure that your TEFL will be accepted when you apply for teaching jobs!
Look for courses that offer a minimum of 100 hours of instruction and a minimum of six hours of supervised teaching time. These details are usually present on the TEFL course information page, and you should also read reviews from past teachers that can give you insight into whether the program was educational and professionally beneficial.
Very few programs will provide housing, but many will help you find housing by providing you with a list of resources including preferred neighborhoods and expected price ranges. Some may also put you in touch with other students in your cohort so that you can look for roommates in advance.
Both Australia and New Zealand require visitors to obtain visas, as do all other countries in the greater Oceania region. It’s important to check with the embassy of the country where you’d like to take your certification classes to determine the most up-to-date visa requirements for citizens of your country, as the rules do occasionally change. You should also check with your certification program to see their visa recommendations as well, and keep in mind that you may also want to arrange your visa for your eventual teaching destination in advance as well.
Health & Safety
Australia and New Zealand are generally safe. However, in large cities like Sydney or Auckland, you’ll want to use the same basic level of street smarts that you would use in any other large global city. In addition, it’s a good idea to be aware of US State Department or similar advisories for both your TEFL destination and for your eventual teaching destination.
For health, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the World Health Organization’s recommended vaccines for both your TEFL destination and for your eventual teaching destination. You should also bring enough of any prescription medications to last throughout the duration of your planned stay. You may wish to purchase travelers’ health insurance, and know the name and location of the nearest international hospital (again, both in your TEFL destination and in your teaching destination).
Since Australia and New Zealand are both English-speaking countries, demand for teachers of English as a foreign language are fairly low. As a result, most people who get their TEFL certifications in these countries go elsewhere to teach. Ideally, your program will have connections with schools in other regions and will be able to help you network. In general it's a good idea to think about what type of school you'd like to work at (public or private), and what your preferred age range is for students, so that you can look strategically at the options that are available.
Networking ahead of time with established English teachers in your destination country of choice can be very helpful in navigating the English teaching job market. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that some schools will hire foreign English teachers in advance before you travel, but other schools may only interview candidates who are already in the country. Your TEFL program and/or local English teachers should be able to help you find accurate hiring information for your preferred city or region.