Published on December 29th, 2016 | by tefl


Building a career as a TEFL teacher

The world is rapidly becoming a global village and English remains the most popular language of communication. This means that English teachers and tutors are in high demand, particularly in countries that do not speak the language.

If you are thinking of pursuing a career in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), then you are in for an exciting time.

Similarly to if you trained as a local locksmith or plumber you have a skill set that you can take anywhere. You can get a job in the UK or overseas. Your duties will vary depending on the country in which you work, as will the compensation package. Most people who choose this job do so out of a passion for teaching. Others, however, find themselves teaching English after settling in a country abroad.


While there are no set requirements for becoming an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) or ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, most employers will expect you to have a TEFL qualification. This can be attained after successfully completing a TEFL course from an accredited centre or college.

To enrol in a TEFL course, you need to have an excellent standard of English as well as two A levels. Most training institutions also insist that you should be at least 18 years old before enrolling. You can pursue your studies as a part-time or full-time student. Distance learning is also an option. The time taken to complete your studies varies with the institution you choose, with some taking only four weeks and others taking up to one year.

Before giving you a job, some employers might insist that you also have a degree in linguistics, education studies or English.

Developing your career

There are several ways to launch your TEFL career. One of the most common is freelancing and taking on different clients at once. While this comes with a lot of flexibility, it has its share of downsides, especially when it comes to paperwork. You can avoid this by working with an umbrella company. This way, the company’s professionals can help with IR35, your accounts and any other legislation, leaving you free to concentrate on teaching.

As you seek to build your career, you need to know how to effectively market yourself to your prospective clients. You need to highlight your expertise so that you attract students who align with your experience. Once you’ve found the right students, you need to know how to identify and meet their needs to help them excel in their English studies.

Furthermore, you should know your subject well and apply your creativity to come up with interesting and relevant visuals and study aids to assist your students to learn better. You also need to know how to develop rapport with your students to encourage them to read, write and speak well in English. Additionally, make sure you take time to network with other educators to seek out new suggestions and resources that will help you grow your career.

Honing all the skills you need to become a successful ESL/EFL teacher calls for a lot of time and patience. However, if you keep at it, your efforts will definitely pay off.

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