Back to School: New College Graduates Find Jobs Teaching English Abroad
International Adventure and Tens of Thousands of Job Opportunities Attract New College Graduates to Teach English Abroad
As employment opportunities continue to be in short supply, tens of thousands of new college graduates - most of whom are not education majors - are heading back to class, but rather than attending medical, law or business schools, they will be teaching English abroad in classrooms around the globe.
Facing one of the bleakest job markets in generations, new college graduates in the United States are discovering that intense global demand for English language instruction is creating thousands of opportunities for them to gain employment and experience an international adventure by teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad.
“We estimate that more than 250,000 native and fluent English speakers will be teaching English abroad, and tens of thousands of them will be new college graduates,” said Bruce Jones, President of the International TEFL Academy, a world leader in TEFL certification based in Chicago that certifies and provides job search guidance to approximately 1,200 students a year. Jones says that more than 50% of those heading abroad to teach English are recent college graduates.
“Teaching English abroad represents great job opportunities for recent college graduates and the opportunity of a lifetime to travel the world,” Jones said.
“The silver lining of the recession and my difficulties in finding good jobs is that I discovered the opportunity to teach English abroad,” said Behlen Casillas, 26, who departed to teach English in Korea on August 27. She is one of more than 20,000 foreigners teaching English in Korea this year, most of whom are recent college graduates. Like most other Americans teaching English in Korea, she expects to earn the equivalent of approximately $2,000 a month and receive free housing and airfare.
Opportunities to Teach English Abroad Found Worldwide
Members of the classes of 2012 and 2013 will teach English abroad in up to 100 countries around the world. Many are attracted by the excellent pay offered primarily in fast-growing economies of Asian countries such as Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam, or by the prospect of global travel and the opportunity to live in a city like Barcelona, Buenos Aires or Prague. Others want to gain international professional work experience before going to graduate school, or they hold a specific interest in a region’s history, culture and language.
“I knew that I wanted to go to an Arabic-speaking country in the Persian Gulf,” said Emily Rutkowski, 22, a native of Utica, Michigan who studied Arabic in college and moved to Saudi Arabia at the end of August to teach English.
Rutkowski, who graduated from Michigan State in May, took an online TEFL certification course over the summer with the International TEFL Academy. Within six weeks of beginning her TEFL certification course, Rutkowski had multiple job offers to teach English in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. She ultimately decided to teach English in Saudi Arabia where she will earn approximately $2,800 a month and receive free housing as well as airfare to and from the U.S.
Huge Demand & Turnover Ensures a Strong Job Market for Teaching English Abroad
As approximately one billion people enroll in English classes globally, schools and language institutes from China to Argentina employ an estimated 250,000 native-speaking English teachers annually.
“Because half of those teaching English abroad will either return home or move to another country, schools need to replace about 50% of their English teachers each year, creating a constant demand for new teachers” said Jones.
In countries such as France, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Chile, and the Republic of Gerorgia government ministries place thousands of recent American college graduates in public schools as assistant English teachers, but most first-time English teachers abroad teach in private language schools that cater to adult students, primarily in the business sector. Others find opportunities teaching English abroad in summer camps or through volunteer organizations, including the Peace Corps.
No Teaching Background Required
According to Jones the vast majority of recent college graduates going to teach English abroad have no prior background in teaching and education, but taking an accredited TEFL certification course provides the training and the qualification that thousands of schools and language institutes around the world require for hiring first-time English teachers right out of school.
Salaries for English Teachers Abroad Varies from Region to Region
A new college graduate teaching English in Europe or Latin America will typically earn enough salary based on the local cost a living to live comfortably in an apartment, cover basic expenses, dine out once or twice a week, and have some extra money to travel and pursue other interests such as language lessons.
Those recent graduates looking to make extra money for travel or to pay off student loans will find the best opportunities in East Asia and the Arab nations of the Persian Gulf like Saudi Arabia, where the government and private schools are employing tens of thousands of foreign teachers to teach English and other subjects.
In countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, and Japan, a recent college graduate can realistically expect to save from $5,000 - $8,000 over the course of a year teaching English. In South Korea, first-time English teachers can often save $10,000 after expenses in a year, making it an ideal destination for those looking to make student loan payments or to save money for other pursuits like travel. Many schools that hire recent college graduates to teach English in Asia, particularly in South Korea and China, will also cover airfare costs and provide free furnished housing to their English teachers.
Salaries for those teaching English in the U.A.E., and other Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain are some of the highest in the world. Pay can range from $1,500 - $3,000 a month, with benefits including free housing, paid vacation, health insurance and flights to and from the teacher’s home country. These job markets are typically more difficult for inexperienced teachers, but as Emily Rutkowski discovered, it is certainly not impossible for a recent college graduate to gain a job teaching English in the Persian Gulf right out of school.
“I was surprised how quickly I was able to get so many job offers,” Rutkowski said.
What's next if you are a college graduate from the
US or Canada? Contact International TEFL Academy about TEFL certification options and places for you to teach English abroad.