How to Find a Job as an ESL Teacher Abroad

My previous articles on teaching ESL discussed the benefits and problems with teaching ESL abroad. In this article, however, I’ll give you a few resources for finding a job abroad.


There is a checklist you can go through to ensure that you’re covering as many bases possible during your job search. The problem won’t be finding work, it’s whether or not the work is in a place you want to go, the pay you desire, and within your time frame (many Asian schools begin accepting applications in October for the next school year that begins in March.


Dave’s ESL Cafe is the place to get started and at least develop an idea of the opportunities out there. The site has a lengthy up-to-date job list. If there are no job listings for your desired country, check out the forums and they’ll give you an idea of where to look or who to contact.


Transitions Abroad offers a load of information about all things related to working and travelling abroad. They started out with a book which has ballooned into a massive tome supported by the numerous articles hosted on this website. If there’s a country you want to teach in, chances are someone on this website has written about it. Not liking the ESL teaching route? Transitions Abroad will give list the alternatives.


Slowly gaining traction in the ESL community for destination research, Go Abroad offers a guide book-like approach to research working abroad. Country-specific information written by folks with first-hand knowledge of the country and the subject, Go Abroad is a great tool for researching countries to teach in.


The TEFL certification is becoming more of a requirement in addition to a university degree. Further, if you’ve never taught a class before and are a little intimidated of standing up in front of a class, a TEFL course will help. Often the school will have a list of job vacancies worldwide. Two popular destinations to take the TEFL course abroad include the Czech Republic and Bangkok. Usually the 4-week course will cost you about $1000-$1500. Aside from a TEFL course, you can also look into CELTA or DELTA coursesĀ (see below) which are well respected all over the world but they cost considerably more. Check out your options and see what suits you. As a last note, some places like China have begun offering TEFL certification as a part of their job package while South Korea and Japan offer extensive training and support to ESL teachers. Prague seems to be the place to go simply because it’s exotic (you get to spend a month in Prague!) but TEFL courses are offered all over the world.


These courses are aimed at individuals who either enter the ESL field with the intent of making a career of it or the people who’ve done it for so long that, by getting one of these certifications, their pay goes up, job advancement opens up, and a host of other benefits. These courses are expensive but offer the best job prospects at the end of your tuition. The CELTA (Certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages) is designed for folks who know and want to teach English but may not have any experience yet. If you decide this course, ensure that the school you enroll in is accredited by Cambridge, the university that oversees the whole thing. DELTA (Diploma in Language Teaching to Adults) is designed for folks with experience and want to open up other job advancement prospects, such as administration or training. The CELTA and DELTA courses are offered in numerous cities around the world.


You can go through a recruiter who will handle most of the paperwork for you, or you can apply directly to the schools yourself. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Look at both and consider your options when applying for a job. The best thing to do is ask around and see what recruiters are recommended. Due diligence is immensely important when considering the recruiter route as some recruiters are just after the commission they make from your placement. By no way of endorsement but only suggestion, I used Teachaway, Inc. to go to South Korea. Since then, I’ve found jobs by searching Dave’s ESL cafe. Teachaway has also started offering an online TEFL course so you might want to look into that as well.


That should get you started in your search for a job teaching ESL abroad. In my next few posts, I’ll discuss some interview tips and some places you might want to consider teaching.