When you think about it, Singapore is a pretty surreal country. It transformed from a modest colonial port to one of the world’s most modern, sophisticated, and technologically advanced countries, all in the span of just over a hundred years. It has achieved this while maintaining an exceptional level of cultural and ethnic diversity and while focusing intensely on green, eco-friendly practices.
The prominence of English as one of the official languages also means that the country is a perfect choice for teaching English abroad. However, the standard is high, and employers demand a TEFL qualification, preferably one completed within Singapore itself. This has created a large market for TEFL courses in the country, aimed at preparing people to live and work in this wonderfully cosmopolitan city.
Most of the common courses for English teaching abroad are offered in Singapore. You will just need to choose which course type appeals most to you and how many hours you want to study. Bear in mind that most English teaching jobs in Singapore will not accept a TEFL qualification with less than 120 hours of classroom learning.
TEFL is the most well-known English teaching qualification, which prepares you to teach English in a non-English-speaking country. There are plenty of schools and organizations offering TEFL throughout Singapore.
TESOL is very similar to TEFL and is essentially the same if you are looking to teach English in Singapore. However, it also qualifies you to teach English to someone who lives in an English-speaking country (i.e. you could teach English to foreigners back home).
CELTA is simply a brand of TESOL teaching, operating under Cambridge University. CELTA courses are very well-respected because they are standardized and high-quality.
Hybrid courses offer the theoretical side of TEFL online and the practical classroom training in-person. While it is possible to find them in Singapore, you might as well do an in-person course if you are there, since they are generally more highly regarded.
Planning Your Trip
Singapore is a modern metropolis where English is both generally spoken and in high demand. This makes it an ideal location for TEFL learning: the language barrier isn’t too overwhelming, but there will be a demand for your services when you complete your qualification.
When to Take Your TEFL in Singapore
You can take a TEFL course in Singapore at any time, although, you should plan to start classes at the beginning of the month. If you want to align your course with potential employment in a school, you may want to plan it so that you finish around November (school starts in January). However, teachers are hired year-long, especially as many jobs are for teaching adults.
Popular Destinations for TEFL Courses in Singapore
Singapore is a city-state, which makes the choice of where to go a lot easier. The city is divided into five areas: North, South, East, West, and Central. There are TEFL schools throughout the city, and you can also choose to live anywhere since public transport makes commuting simple.
What to Look For in A TEFL Course in Singapore
Singapore has a high demand for English teachers, but expectations are also high. If you want to teach English in Singapore, it is worth investing in the best possible course. This means a highly-rated provider and at least 120 hours of learning (the more the better). CELTA is a good option, but you can also find excellent TEFL and TESOL courses.
Health & Safety
Singapore is exceptionally safe and clean. There are almost no significant risks to be aware of for foreigners in the city, although usual common-sense measures are always advised.
This standard of safety and cleanliness comes at a price, translating into laws that can be quite strict. Follow the rules, even the ones that don’t seem too important: no jaywalking, no food or drink on the metro (not even water), and no gum (ever). These seemingly small offenses can lead to hefty fines and even jail time.
Health facilities are excellent and not prohibitively expensive, but you should still make sure you have adequate overseas health insurance. Tap water is safe to drink and standard vaccines are necessary. Use insect repellent during the wet season as dengue fever is a concern.
There are plenty of English-teaching jobs in Singapore, so you should not struggle too much to find employment once you have your qualification. The surrounding region is also rich in English teaching opportunities, so you could also consider looking for jobs in places like Thailand and Malaysia.
When to Apply to a Job in Singapore
There is not a specific “right” time to apply for English teaching jobs in Singapore, as these are available throughout the year. That said, you might have a better chance of getting a job at a school if you apply in the months before January when the school year begins.
Average Salary of Post-TEFL Jobs in Singapore
The average salary of an English teacher in Singapore is in the $29,000 - $36,000 range (per month this breaks down to ~$2,400 to $3,000). This allows you to live comfortably -- remember, the standard of living is very high -- and even save some money if you budget well. You will, however, have to resist the call of the luxury side of Singapore living, except for the occasional treat to a fancy restaurant or bar.
Tips for Finding a Job in Singapore
Many TEFL providers offer support in finding jobs at the end of the course. When you are trying to decide who to go with, it’s a good idea to ask for details about different employment resources offered by course providers.
Can I teach English in Singapore without a TEFL certificate?
In Singapore, it's required to have a four-year bachelor's degree and a TEFL certification to teach English in the country. It's a good idea to complete your course with a TEFL provider that helps with job placement after you receive your certification.
How do I get a TEFL certification in Singapore?
There are many options for TEFL certification providers in Singapore, allowing students to shop around. Review at least four to five different programs and look for the reputation of the company, the quality of the teachers, and the job placement help offered after completion of your certification. Most importantly, make sure your TEFL course is at least 120 hours.
How much do TEFL courses cost in Singapore?
Average tuition for a TEFL course in Singapore can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the program provider and the duration of the course. For example, part-time courses will also cost less than full-time courses with morning and afternoon sessions.