Teaching abroad is a fantastic way to move abroad, earn a stable salary, and have a job that allows you to integrate into your local community far easier than if you just worked online.
It’s also a great option for people looking to move abroad because most countries ask for the same basic requirements so if you meet those, you have a wide range of options in front of you.
The basic requirements to teach abroad are usually:
- You come from a native English speaking country
- You have a University degree
- You have a TEFL certification
Don’t worry though, if you don’t meet any or all of those requirements, there are still some countries on this list that are more lenient in their requirements. I’ll highlight each of those spots below. Although, I do highly suggest you invest in a TEFL certification before entering a classroom.
These certifications range from $20-$2000USD. I always recommend a mid-range certification since those tend to be much more in-depth and give you experience that will mirror what you’ll face in the classroom, an opposed to opting for the cheapest option. The most expensive certifications should come with job placement, which will make your life easier but isn't usually necessary.
A $20 certificate might be perfectly fine for teaching students 1:1 online from the comfort of your own home, but a more extensive certification, like ITTT, will give you the confidence to go into a classroom of 20 hyper students who don’t speak your language and teach an engaging lesson.
How to get hired to teach abroad
Before we get started, it's important you have an idea how to find available jobs. While those basic requirements I listed above are pretty common among a vast majority of countries, there are countries that require more and others that require less. For a detailed list of requirements from countries A-Z, the World TEFLFactbook is exactly what you're looking for. This highlights not only the requirements but also how to find a job and a summary of the country in question.
In general when deciding to teach English abroad, you have two options:get hired online before you move or get hired in-person once you've moved. Both options are valid and have their pros and cons. Let's break it down.
Getting Hired Online Pros:
- Job security before you move
- Ability to apply for many more positions at a quicker pace than doing it onfoot
Getting Hired Online Cons:
- Needing to do research on each school before applying
- Not getting to see the school first-hand before committing
Getting Hired In-Person Pros:
- Being able to feel out a school before committing
- Being able to ask around and get a good idea of school's reputation
Getting Hired In-Person Cons:
- Moving to a new country without job security
- More legwork to pass out CVs and find openings
With COVID, unless you're already in a country that you would like to work in, it's much easier and safer to get hired online before you make a move.
Here's a list of job boards that I would recommend you using to find openings.
- Dave's ESLCafe
- Go Overseas
- Go Abroad
- Teaching Nomad
- Facebook Groups (country and city-specific)
Please note that although I've had success using job boards in the past, I highly recommend you research a school and check their legitimacy before you send them any personal information. This also isn't a list of all the reputable job boards but just a few that I have personally used and friends also recommend.
Let’s dive right into the top 10 countries you can teach abroad with the requirements it takes to actually get hired.
Vietnam has enough to make anyone fall in love: delicious food, cheap cost of living, welcoming locals, and beautiful landscapes. It’s also one of those countries where if you meet the requirements, you’ll have your pick of schools but if you don’t, you’ll most likely still find a job.
Keep in mind, those requirements are necessary to get a sponsored work visa, so if you get a job without meeting the requirements, you’ll work on a tourist visa and be responsible for renewing it on your own every few months.
Requirements to teach English in Vietnam (and get a sponsored work visa):
- Native English speaker
- Bachelor's Degree (in any subject)
- TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification
- Official background check (no felonies; must be done within 6 months of visa process)
- No serious health complications (must be able to pass a basic physical examination)
If you meet the requirements, I highly recommend coming to Vietnam on a tourist visa (with your papers in hand) and apply for jobs in person. This will streamline your application process and give you a chance to scope out the school before committing. They’ll be able to process your new visa in-country, so long as you have the required paperwork with you.
Although I chose to teach English in Ho Chi MinhCity, Hanoi and Da Nang are also two popular options.
COVID-19 UPDATE: As of publication (January 11, 2020), the Vietnamese borders are still closed to tourists. People with a special work permit are allowed to fly in and undergo a 14-day quarantine at a government facility. This means, it’s still possible to move to Vietnam as a teacher but only those who meet the requirements would be considered.
Learn more about teaching English in Vietnam with these 5 steps.
2. South Korea
On the other hand, as far as I’m aware, South Korea will only hire teachers who meet their requirements. No working under the table as a English teacher here, unless you'd be happy with finding something that will only last you a few months while you're on a tourist visa. While Seoul is definitely the most popular place for foreigners to move to in Korea, Busan and Jeonju are also great options.
Requirements to get hired in South Korea:
- A Bachelor's Degree in any subject
- Native English Speaker (ideally but some schools will make exceptions)
- TEFL/TESOL or Equivalent Certification (if your degree is not in teaching)
- Criminal Record Check (with clean record)
- Ability to Pass a Health Check (upon arrival in Korea)
- Ability to Sign a 1-Year Contract (typically)
Teaching English in South Korea has a few perks for teachers, including:
- A paid flight to Korea
- Paid housing (or rent allowance)
- Visa Assistance
- Medical Check Assistance
- Tax Assistance
- A competitive monthly salary
- Pension & Severance at the end of your contract
It’s a really great option for someone looking to move abroad without having much savings or without wanting to use their savings to settle in.
For example, when I moved to South Korea to teach in 2017, I had less than $1000 USD in my bank account and made the transition very comfortably.
Learn more about how to get hired to teach in South Korea and tips on how to avoid "blacklisted" schools.
Much like other countries, China offers a wide range of teaching opportunities. From working at a kindergarten to a public high school or an international school to an English center, there’s a lot of variety in the job possibilities.
Basic requirements to get hired to teach in China:
- Native English Speaker (as defined by the Chinese government: passport holders from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa)*
- Bachelor’s Degree in any subject (exception: applicants from South Africa must have a degree in Education or English)*
- Minimum of 24 months teaching experience (not needed for smaller cities/rural areas)**
- TEFL or CELTA (120 hour certificate)**
- Criminal Background Check*
- Good health (must pass a medical check both in home country and in China)*
China is also a very expansive country with towns and cities to fit your needs. Whether you’re looking for a quiet town in the countryside or a megacity like Shanghai, there’s plenty to choose from.
Find out more about each place you can teach English in China and how to get hired.
Like Vietnam, Myanmar is a good option for teachers who meet the requirements but also those who don’t. They’re even more lenient though and might give you a sponsored visa, regardless.
Since Myanmar hasn’t yet become as popular of a tourist destination as neighboring Thailand, Yangon is a great city to live in if you prefer trading in local culture for tourist hot spots.
The most common way to get a job in Myanmar is to get your TEFL certification through a company that also does job placement. This isn’t the only way to go about it and does require you to pay a heftier fee but it’s a valid option if you’d prefer someone else to do the legwork for you.
In general, these are the requirements to get hired in Myanmar:
- Cover letter
- Recent photo (for visa)
- Scan of your passport
- Scan of your degree (if you have one)
- Filled out form (explaining why you like to teach, any previous experience, etc)
- TEFL certificate
- Video representation (they want to hear your voice and see your experience)
If you'd also like to get a job teaching in Myanmar without a degree and without being a native speaker, this guide on teaching English in Myanmar is perfect for you.
Thailand is another great spot to teach in with a little bit of wiggle room to get hired. According to friends who live in Thailand though, the Thai government is starting to crack down a bit on people working on tourists and student visas, but that option is still available, albeit with less success than in the past.
Atypical to the other countries on this list, they’ve made it possible for citizens who are not from native speaking countries to prove their English level, so long as they meet the other requirements on the list. It’s a great opportunity to teach legally that might not be possible in other places.
Basic requirements to teach English in Thailand:
- Bachelor’s degree in any subject area (it doesn’t have to be English)
- Clean criminal record
- Basic health check
- TEFL certification (not required but preferred by almost all schools and certainly anywhere with a good reputation)
- Non-native teachers can work in Thailand but you usually need to prove your fluency with a TOEIC/IELTS score or verifiable references
There are some opportunities to get TEFL certified in Thailand with a guarantee of job placement at the end of training. This is a good option if you’re not yet certified and would like more hands-on help with the process but it’s not necessary to find a job.
Bangkok is the most common place for foreigners to teach English abroad, but Chang Mai and the various islands in the south of the country are also popular expat havens.
Learn exactly what you need to know to get a job as an English teacher in Thailand.
The UAE and other Middle Eastern countries are well-known for offering the best salaries to English teachers. If you’re in it to grow your savings, I’d start the job search in this region (the next highest would be South Korea).
Basic requirements to teach English in the UAE:
- A Native English Speaker
- University Degree
- A Teaching Certificate
Some schools may also prefer a master's degree and previous teaching experience.
Although this guide is focused on teaching English, the UAE is a great option for teachers who are certified to teach in their home countries to get hired at international schools as well.
Most people who come to Spain to teach English go through one of the 2 biggest programs: Bilingual English Development & Assessment (BEDA) or Auxiliares de conversación (or Auxiliar). BEDA is a brand of the Catholic Schools of Madrid, although you do not need to be Catholic to apply. The Auxiliar program is funded by the Spanish government.
In my outside opinion, both programs seem comparable. In both, you’re typically more of a language assistant, teaching English in a variety of classrooms and subjects. You also work closer to part-time hours instead of full-time like most other countries require.
Your pay will reflect that but many teachers supplement their income either by offering private tutor lessons or working online.
Requirements to teach English in Spain:
- 4-year college degree (or a senior in their 4th year)
- From a native English speaking country (with a valid passport)
- Good physical and mental health (a medical clearance is required for the visa application, which comes after acceptance)
- Clean criminal background (another requirement for the visa)
You’ll notice that it is not required to have a TEFL certification to be hired but it could make you a more stand-out applicant.
Check out this article to learn more about the BEDAprogram or read this one about teaching as an Auxiliar.
8. The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic, located in the heart of Europe, is a great place to teach abroad but it’s even better for Canadians. Why, you ask?
Because Canada and the Czech Republic has a special agreement, called the Youth Mobility Visa. This visa allows you to work and travel freely within the CR for one year. You can have multiple jobs, change jobs, or have no job, all without having to deal with any additional permits or visas.
Teaching in the Czech Republic is still an option for other nationalities but you will have to jump through additional hoops than those on the Youth Mobility Visa to get hired.
Another common visa for teachers in the CRto be on is the freelance visa. To learn more about this visa, head to our freelance visa guide.
Basic requirements to teach English in the Czech Republic:
- TEFL or CELTA (can be obtained in CR, check below)
- Bachelor’s degree in any subject
- Criminal record check in CR
- Good health (must pass medical check in CR)
The Czech Republic, like Thailand, also offers programs to get your TEFL certification in-country. This isn’t the only way to get hired but again is a great option if you prefer to pay a bit more to have some help throughout the process.
This guide will outline all the information you need to know if you plan to teach English in the Czech Republic.
Similar to the Czech Republic, Hungary is another amazing spot to live in Central Europe. Also like the Czech Republic, it’s much easier to get hired if you take advantage of certain visas and programs.
In Hungary, that program is the Central European Teaching Program (CETP). This program is essentially a job placement agency. They have placements throughout the country and are also family-friendly, which isn’t as common.
The downside of the program is it comes with a hefty price tag of $2500 USD. If you dream of living in Budapest or anywhere else in Hungary, the price tag might just be worth it to make that happen.
Basic requirements to teach English in Hungary:
- Native English Speaker
- Bachelor's Degree
- 120 Hour TEFL certificate minimum (no degree in teaching required)
- At least 20 hours of paid or voluntary teaching experience completed before arrival
If you dream of teaching English in Hungary, this guide is for you.
Panama is a stunning country, often called the bridge of Central and South America. There are a wide variety of schools, centers, and institutions you can get hired by in Panama, all with slightly varying requirements, schedules, and pay.
General Requirements to teach English in Panama:
- 120 TEFL or TOEFL certification
- College degree (for most institutes)
- Teaching license (for some institutes)
- At least one year of teaching experience
Some schools, like the international schools, will help you apply for a work visa, but many people stay and work under a tourist visa, even though you technically aren’t supposed to. With a tourist visa you can stay in the country for 180 consecutive days.
This is pretty standard throughout Latin America, which is why I’ve only included one country in this region on the list. It’s not the golden rule but it is common to only be rewarded a work visa if you worth for an international school.
Learn more about each place you could get hired as an English teacher in Panama.
Bonus. Teach English Online
And as a little bonus, another great option to teach English is to teach online. There are a few key differences to teaching online vs. teaching in-person, so if you’re unsure which is best for you, read this guide I wrote after years of doing both.
If you do prefer to teach English online or would like to supplement your income with a side gig, check out these 11 platforms to teach online.
Best of luck to you as you start the adventure of teaching abroad. If you're having trouble deciding which country to go for, remember none of it needs to be permanent, so feel free to give multiple countries one year of your time instead of settling on one place only.
Which country is best for teaching English? ›
- South Korea. South Korea has one of the largest English teaching markets in the world. ...
- Japan. Japan has one of the longest traditions when it comes to hiring English teachers. ...
- China. China's English teaching market is also flourishing. ...
- Thailand. ...
- Czech Republic. ...
- Saudi Arabia. ...
The best places to teach English abroad to make money are South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Gulf Arab States and Vietnam. Being an English teacher in these countries will have you earning enough money to save anywhere from $500 - $1,500 USD per month.What countries can I teach English abroad? ›
- South Korea. With a raging modern sector and increasing reliance on international commerce, South Korea is one of the easiest countries to teach English for its sheer demand and economy. ...
- Japan. ...
- Colombia. ...
- Morocco. ...
- Mexico. ...
- Germany. ...
- Czech Republic. ...
- United Arab Emirates.
To teach English abroad, you will need an ESL teaching qualification like a TEFL certificate and a valid passport. Though some programs require a bachelor's degree, many countries hire English teachers without a degree or teaching experience as long as they speak English fluently and have a TEFL certification.Which English country is best for living? ›
15 Expat Countries that Speak English (and Make Sense Tax-Wise)
- Bahamas. ...
- Belize. ...
- Bermuda. ...
- Dominica. ...
- Gibraltar. ...
- Ireland. ...
- Isle of Man. ...
Which European country offers the highest salary for English teachers? The highest-paying ESL jobs tend to be in the Western destinations with higher rates of economic development. France and Germany tend to pay the most.Which countries need teachers? ›
What Are the Best Countries for Teaching Jobs? China, Spain, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are all ranked top of the best countries for teachers list.Which country pay teachers most? ›
Luxembourg. According to an OECD report, Luxembourg (a European country) has the highest-paid teachers in the world. Another source indicates that a bachelor's degree holder is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career.Which European country needs English teachers? ›
- Best for job availability: Spain.
- Best for first-time travelers: Italy.
- Best for cultural immersion: France.
- Best for teaching experience: Germany.
- Best for high salary: The Netherlands.
One of the reasons is that teachers' salaries are the highest in the world. In multiple rankings, South Korea has a spot as being the country that pays teachers best. The education system is radically different because it is all about memorization and logic.
Where is it easiest to teach English? ›
Mexico City is one of the easiest places to find work teaching English without a college degree, simply because there are so many people interested in learning the language- from school children to university students and businessmen.Who is the best English teacher in the world? ›
Kenyan Peter Tabichi, who has been teaching for 12 years, was recently named the best teacher in the world.How much is a TEFL certificate? ›
You know you need it, but how much does TEFL certification cost? Prices vary depending on some key factors, but expect to pay about $200 for very minimal online certification and closer to $400-$500 USD for online certification of enough hours (at least 120) to qualify for most TEFL/TESOL jobs.How long is TEFL certification? ›
Typically, a fully accredited TEFL certification course will last anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Shorter, 4-week long courses will generally run full-time (30-40 hours per week) and are very demanding.How can I teach English abroad without experience? ›
You do not need teaching credentials to teach English abroad. For many schools, you don't need a degree in education, prior work or teaching experience, or even a degree at all. Having a TEFL certificate is often all that is needed to work abroad as an English teacher in schools.What is the safest English country? ›
New Zealand has been ranked as the most peaceful English-speaking country in the world. New Zealand came 4th in the Institute for Economics and Peace's Global Peace Index, after Iceland, Denmark and Austria. That makes New Zealand the safest destination for English learning.Which country speaks the most English? ›
The United Kingdom remains the largest English-speaking country in Europe. The United States and India have the most total English speakers, with 283 million and 125 million, respectively. There are also 108 million in Pakistan, 79 million in Nigeria, and 64 million in the Philippines.What type of teacher is most in demand? ›
Which teaching subject is most in demand? While specific needs vary by institution, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are subjects that are always in high demand.Which countries respect teachers the most? ›
British teachers get more respect than colleagues in the US, France and Germany, according to an international survey. Teachers in China, Malaysia and Taiwan enjoy the highest status, but teachers in Brazil, Israel and Italy are languishing at the tail end of the "teacher status index".Which European country pays teachers the most? ›
Annual gross starting salaries of teachers (2020/2021)
Leaving aside Luxembourg, the annual starting salary was above €50,000 in just two countries, namely Switzerland (€66,972) and Germany (€54,129). The annual salary in France and Italy was less than half the German figure.
Where can I save the most money teaching English? ›
- The United Arab Emirates: Save $800 - $1,000+/month. ...
- Oman: Save $800 - $1,000+/month. ...
- Saudi Arabia: Save $800 - $1,000+/month. ...
- China: Save $600 - $1,500+/month. ...
- South Korea: Save $1,000 - $1,500+/month. ...
- Japan: Save $500 - $700/month. ...
- Taiwan: Save $500+/month.
However, in the world of TEFL, there are mainly only 7 countries recognized as best TEFL destinations for non-native English speakers. They would be the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.Who is World No 1 teacher? ›
Wednesday July 8, 2020.
|Sl No||Teacher Names|
Teachers have the highest status in China, Greece, Turkey and South Korea, and the lowest status in Italy, Czech Republic, Brazil and Israel. It is worth noting that in both cases, several of the countries were also on the list of highest and lowest-paying countries, accordingly.Who speaks the most perfect English? ›
The Netherlands has emerged as the nation with the highest English language proficiency, according to the EF English Proficiency Index, with a score of 72.Who speaks the best English? ›
Generally speaking TEFL is not hard to pass. Face-to-face courses generally have interviews and strict admission requirements so if it is not likely to complete or pass the course, they will not be admitted in the first place.Which level of TEFL is best? ›
The highest of all of the TEFL qualification levels, a DELTA is equivalent to a master's degree.Which TEFL certificate is best? ›
- Best Overall: International TEFL Academy.
- Best Online Program: Premier TEFL.
- Best Budget-Friendly Option: ITT.
- Best for Student Support: TEFL Org.
- Best Hybrid Program: ITTT.
- Best for Specializations: Teach Away.
- Best for Overseas Job Placement: TEFLPros.
- Best for Online Teaching: i-to-i.
Can you fail a TEFL course? ›
It is possible to fail a TEFL course. If you have a degree already and are a native English speaker, you will absolutely be able to handle the course load.Is 120 hour TEFL course enough? ›
Generally 120 hours minimum is the most common requirement, but some countries only require 100 hours or have no preference at all. Most employers prefer to hire English teachers with an internationally recognized TEFL certification from a 100-120-hour course.Is it hard to get a TEFL job? ›
Landing your first TEFL job is the hardest. Once you've got a year or more of teaching experience under your belt, things become easier. But in this sense the TEFL industry is no different to any other. And the advantage of the TEFL industry is the sheer demand for learning English.How can I get job in abroad? ›
- Through an agency / program provider. ...
- Work abroad as a teacher. ...
- Move abroad, then find work. ...
- Get a working holiday visa. ...
- Do a work exchange. ...
- Volunteer. ...
- Freelance/digital nomad.
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Suitable for non-native English speakers|
|Teach in France||£926 – £1,852 ($1,082 – $2,164)||Yes|
|Teach in Georgia||£185 - £760 ($240 - $1000)||Yes|
|Teach in Germany||£1,1123 - £1,872 ($1,297 - $2,162)||Yes|
|Teach in Greece||£630 – £900 ($790 – $1,100)||Yes|
Teaching Requires a Lot of Preparation
The first few weeks of teaching abroad are going to be the toughest, not only because you're getting to know a million kids and learning the layout of the school, but also because you're pretty much going to be thrown head first into the class syllabi.
Luxembourg. According to an OECD report, Luxembourg (a European country) has the highest-paid teachers in the world. Another source indicates that a bachelor's degree holder is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career.Which foreign country is best for teachers? ›
- Luxembourg. You don't have to travel far to find a good job. ...
- Switzerland. This country occupies second place on our list. ...
- South Korea. ...
- Japan. ...
- Arab Emirates.
Taiwan and South Korea also do, but most other countries do not. In Japan, you can teach English there if you had your education in an English medium school. In Vietnam and Thailand, if you have the right TOEIC or IELTS score, you can also teach English.What type of teacher earns the most? ›
Professor. When you are looking for the best-paid teaching jobs for your area of interest or specialized skill, then you may consider working as a professor in a college or university. A college professor prepares course material, teaches students in a classroom environment, and grades student work.
What European countries need English teachers? ›
- Spain: A very popular destination within the ESL community, Spain is always looking for teachers to fill positions in English language schools. ...
- Italy: ...
- Czech Republic: ...
- France: ...
- Decide Whether to Apply through a Program, Recruiter, or Independently. ...
- Choose a Country to Teach In. ...
- Prepare Your Resume/CV. ...
- Apply for Teaching Jobs. ...
- Ace the Interview. ...
- Negotiate Your Salary & Contract. ...
- Accept Your New Teaching Job. ...
- Prepare Financially Before You Depart.
- Cambodia. Cambodia is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia thanks to its ancient temples, such as Angkor Wat, and its incredible beaches in the South. ...
- Mexico. ...
- Costa Rica. ...
- Nicaragua. ...
- Argentina. ...
- Russia. ...
- Spain. ...
The pay to teach English abroad varies, but you can expect to earn a decent salary. In top-paying countries, teachers can get paid a salary of anywhere from $2,000 to over $5,000 USD per month. Your TEFL salary will depend on your position, qualifications and the country you teach in.What is the most difficult of teaching English? ›
- The Spelling System. ...
- Tenses. ...
- Polysemy & Context. ...
- Phrasal verbs. ...
- Size of the English Lexicon. ...
- 3 Steps for Effective Translation to Learn Any Language.
A TEFL (English as a Foreign Language) certification is the globally accepted qualification to teach English abroad to students (both children and adults) whose first language isn't English. A TEFL is what most hiring schools are looking for on a teach abroad application.What degree is needed to teach English abroad? ›
To teach English abroad, you'll need a bachelor's degree in any subject/major, and an ESL teaching qualification (such as a TEFL certification) at the minimum! For more on getting TEFL certified to teach English abroad, check out the following: TEFL FAQ.