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5 Best Countries for Teaching English Abroad in 2021
Written by: Jessie Smith
Last Updated: February 8, 2021
Where to teach English abroad during the COVID era?
Which ESL countries will make the list as top destinations for teaching English abroad & TEFL jobs in 2021?
The industry of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad has seen some drastic shifts in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at International TEFL Academy (ITA), we’ve been doing our best to monitor these constant changes and continue to give prospective students and alumni the most current information pertaining to things like hiring, the international ESL job market, and visa restrictions.
The international job market for teaching English abroad in 2020 was greatly impacted by COVID travel restrictions, and we anticipate more of the same for at least the first half of 2021. To no one's surprise, the demand for online education continues to soar during the COVID era, which has added even more demand to the already rapidly growing industry of teaching English online.
Read More: TEFL & Coronavirus FAQs
During the COVID era, an accredited TEFL certification - such as our award-winning 170-Hour Online TEFL Certificate - has proven to be an invaluable credential and is a legitimate means to find ESL jobs overseas and to teach on the professional level, even if you don’t have a degree or prior teaching experience. This is especially true for those looking to teach English online safely from home.
Where can I teach English abroad?
In normal times, English teaching jobs are available in up to 100 countries worldwide and also for teaching English online. Even without a college degree, if you get TEFL certified, there are more than 50 nations where you can realistically get paid to teach English as a foreign language.
In 2021, we’ve pinpointed 5 top teaching markets so far, and we hope to keep adding to the last as the year progresses.
Poland hasn’t been hit by COVID as significantly as other European countries, so schools have mostly returned to in-person learning. As a result, we are still seeing American English teachers find work and get sponsored for work visas in Poland during the second half of 2020. Poland is therefore an attractive destination for ESL teaching jobs abroad in 2021.
Private language schools in Poland have been hiring English teachers in advance from their home country, as long as teachers process their work visa in their home country prior to departure.
A TEFL certification is still required to get hired in Poland, but teachers do not need to have a bachelor's degree, though it may be preferred by some schools. Prior teaching experience is also not required to find ESL jobs overseas in Poland.
- Poland TEFL Country Profile
- Visas for Teaching in Poland
- Teaching in Zory, Poland | Q&A with ITA alumna Rebecca Sparagowski
Hungary is a fast-growing English teaching market in the heart of Europe for international ESL jobs. During COVID, we’ve seen TEFL certified English teachers getting hired in Hungary via the Central European Teaching Program (CETP).
Teachers pay a placement fee for this program, but there are some fantastic benefits, even during COVID, for those who teach in Hungary through CETP, including a solid salary, accommodations, and paid vacation time. CETP hires teachers in advance from their home country.
A TEFL certification is required to become a foreign ESL teacher abroad in Hungary and a bachelor's degree is required.
- Hungary TEFL Country Profile
- CETP for Teaching English in Hungary
- Teaching in Budapest, Hungary | Q&A with ITA alumna Jenny Bardoczi
Taiwan has proven to handle the COVID pandemic extremely efficiently and has been running in-person classes for the majority of the second half of 2020. Pre-COVID, Taiwan was one of the largest, most established teaching markets in the world. During the pandemic, we’ve still seen TEFL certified English teachers finding work.
During COVID, teachers have been getting hired in advance from their home country and also processing their work visa before departure. The paperwork process for work visas in Taiwan is a bit slow and can take months to complete, but it’s possible and we’ve had a number of graduates successfully get to Taiwan in 2020.
A TEFL certification is strongly recommended and a bachelor’s degree is also required to become an ESL teacher abroad in Taiwan.
- Taiwan TEFL Country Profile
- What are the Requirements to Teach English in Taiwan?
- 5 Reasons to Teach English in Taiwan
Featured Taiwan Alumni Stories:
- Teaching English in New Taipei City, Taiwan | Alumni Q&A with Krystle Cotten
- Teaching English in Hsinchu City, Taiwan | Alumni Q&A with Prisca Saint- Hilair
2. South Korea
South Korea is no stranger to our top teaching market’s list at ITA and is one of the largest and strongest English teaching markets in the world. During COVID, we’ve continued to see qualified English teachers get hired in South Korea which makes it one of the top ESL countries for 2021.
As always, all interviewing and visa paperwork will be handled in your home country before departure.
In order to qualify for international ESL jobs in South Korea, teachers must have a bachelor’s degree, be a native English speaker, and have a clean FBI background check.
- South Korea TEFL Country Profile
- What are the basic requirements to teach English in Korea?
- What is the EPIK Program for Teaching English in South Korea?
Featured South Korea Alumni Stories:
- Daejeon, South Korea Alumni Q&A with Kim Jackson [EPIK Program]
- Seoul, South Korea Alumni Q&A with Michelle Garcia
- View all South Korea Alumni Stories
1. Teaching English Online
The industry of teaching English online was booming even before COVID, and demand for TEFL certified English teachers has increased substantially in 2020. It’s important to note that all Online English schools operate differently and have different sets of hiring requirements. It’s possible to teach English online without a bachelor’s degree and without prior teaching experience, though you may have a more competitive job search.
In the COVID era, teaching English online has proven to be a realistic side hustle or even a full-time job that you can safely do from home. Pay for online English teachers varies depending on the school and your credentials, but the average rate is $10-$20 per hour. More experienced teachers, especially those who run their own private lessons, have the potential to earn much higher hourly rates.
- Story: 5 Best Countries for TEFL in 2021
- 8 FAQs About Teaching English Online
- What Are The Basic Requirements to Teach English Online?
Featured Teaching English Online Alumni Stories:
- Teaching English Online With a Full-Time Job | Alumni Q&A with Sam Kg
- Earn a Side Hustle By Teaching English Online | Alumni Q&A with Mike Crescitelli
A journalism major at the University of Iowa, Jessie took the ITA Online TEFL Course and taught English in South Korea & Vietnam before joining the team. As one of ITA's most senior writers, Jessie is the author of numerous articles about teaching English abroad & TEFL certification, and she has spoken at various conferences about working & teaching abroad, including the Lessons from Abroad (LFA) symposiums in San Diego & Portland. Her articles have also appeared in such popular online publications as InternQueen.com.
Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad?
Request a free brochure or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad or online, including the hiring process, salaries, visas, TEFL class options, job placement assistance and more.
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