Teaching English Abroad: What Qualifications Do You Need?

Teaching English Abroad: What Qualifications Do You Need?

About 1.5 billion people across the world are currently learning English. That opens up a lot of potential jobs for those who want to pursue a career in teaching English abroad.

The prospect definitely sounds alluring. You get to experience living in a completely new country and enrich the lives of children and adults as they strive to master their English skills.

But what exactly does it take to teach English abroad? Do you need a degree in teaching or classroom experience?

Hold on tight as we dive into what qualifications are necessary to teach English as a foreign language.

Native English Speaker

English is quickly becoming the language spoken amongst international businesses. Many foreigners strive for English fluency, so they can get promotions at work and communicate flawlessly with clients from around the world.

Part of excelling in any language is having the accent down, leading many language schools to require teachers to be native English speakers. Some even go as far as to require teachers to have a specific accent, like American or British.

Native English speakers also understand various slang words, or how the perceived meaning of a word can vary based on inflection or usage. This is something that even the most advanced non-native speaker may struggle to understand themselves.

This qualification is popular among many major countries in Asia, including China, South Korea, and Japan. However, many European, Southeast Asian, and South American countries are not as strict.

College Degree

What degree you’ll need, or if you’ll need a degree at all, vastly differs depending on which region you wish to teach in.

Many European countries and the major Asian countries (China, Japan, and South Korea) will want a bachelor’s degree. This doesn’t have to be in teaching or English, though. Many schools will accept any bachelor’s degree.

Southeast Asia and South America often don’t require a degree at all. However, some may require an associate degree or show preference to those with a degree.

The Middle East can be the hardest region to get into as many schools require a master’s degree. They may also require prior experience.

TEFL Certification

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This certification is by far the most valuable tool in your arsenal. You’ll learn teaching techniques, how to create lesson plans, and how to deal with the communication barriers in the classroom.

The majority of schools will require a TEFL certification, no matter what region they’re located in. However, it is possible to volunteer in countries like Africa without a certification.

Most schools don’t require prior experience, but you may need this in order to teach abroad without a TEFL certification. You could find work through an online school or become a freelancer in order to build up your portfolio. However, it’s generally much easier to find work abroad with certification under your belt.

Teaching English Abroad

Teaching English abroad is a great career option for anyone who wants to see the world or make a difference. With a TEFL certification in hand, you’ll be able to teach English in Southeast Asia and South America. Add a bachelor’s degree and being a native English speaker on top of that, and your options are seemingly limitless.

Do you have all the qualifications you need? Then check out our job board to find the perfect position today.