Teaching abroad: Here’s how to gain a TEFL qualification

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (aka TEFL) is a rewarding way to get the most out of your gap year experience. Applying to teach abroad is surprisingly easy—here’s how.

Where can I teach?

TEFL opportunities can be found across the globe, not just in Thailand. English teachers are in demand everywhere, from the far reaches of North East Asia and the Middle East to South America and Eastern Europe.


Why bother?

Teaching abroad is a great experience and a fantastic addition to your CV. Even if you have no intention of becoming a teacher after graduation, future employers will be impressed by the skills that you have gained.

Teaching abroad is a type of ‘Constructive Travel’. Constructive Travel means having more to show for your gap year than just a great tan. A well-planned trip with a practical volunteering element provides valuable life experience and competitive skills.

Who can do it?

Teaching abroad is an option for people from all walks of life. Although many participants are graduates, students can also take part.

What qualifications do I need?

The good news is that you do not need to be a qualified teacher to apply for a teaching position overseas. Depending upon the organisation you apply through, you may need to gain TEFL certification, but this not always the case.


What is a TEFL Certificate?

A TEFL Certificate is gained after completion of a TEFL Course. The course is designed to bring your grammar knowledge up to scratch and provide you with skills in classroom management.

The full-time course usually lasts about a month and costs around £1,000 to complete. They are usually run in private language schools, but your university may also run programmes.

Although a TEFL qualification is useful, there are many charitable organisations which will accept teachers without any experience.

Will I need to speak the native language?

The language expectations will vary from country to country. Normally, it isn’t necessary to be fluent in the native language; you will be able to learn whilst you are in the country. Taking a few lessons before you leave may benefit you.


Will I get paid?

This depends entirely on the organisation through which you apply. If you go through a charity organisation, you will normally be working as a volunteer. If you take part in a long-term programme, such as the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) programme, you will receive a salary. Paid positions are typically only open to graduates.

For more information about teaching abroad, the internet is the best source. 

Visit www.tefl.com for more information about certification.

This article was written in partnership with TEFL

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