Everything you need to know to teach English abroad in 2023 and beyond.

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Do You Speak English Fluently
& Have a Strong Sense of Adventure?

  • Would you like to spend a year or two in TokyoShanghai or Buenos Aires?  
  • Do you dream of a life where you walk to work every day along the cobblestone streets of Prague or Florence, or through the colorful street markets of Bangkok or Saigon?
  • Do you want the satisfaction of performing a valuable public service, assisting others in achieving their own life goals, all while traveling the world and having the adventure of a lifetime? 

If the answer to any of these questions is β€œyes” and you are a fluent English speaker, then teaching English abroad could be right for you.

With English taking hold as the international language of commerce and culture, hundreds of millions of students across the globe are participating in English language classes each year.

From Seoul and Shanghai to Milan and Santiago, there is an unprecedented demand for English instructors. While many people worldwide confront the most challenging job market in generations, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) provides both viable and accessible job opportunities as well as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the world while gaining invaluable work experience.  

Why Teach English Abroad?

With more than 1.7 billion people learning English worldwide, the demand for native English-speaking teachers is so high that virtually any native English speaker (and many non-native speakers) can teach English abroad professionally with an accredited TEFL certification.

In fact, even without a background in education, it's not typically a matter of whether you can get a job teaching ESL abroad, but which job in which country is the best fit for you.

The common factor bringing our graduates together is the desire to experience new cultures and travel the world. Teaching English abroad has many benefits:

  • Get paid to travel: Teaching English overseas offers you the flexibility to go to a foreign country and discover the world while earning a sustainable income.
  • Cultural Immersion: You can fully embrace a foreign culture and live like locals do. Plus, you get to surround yourself with new friends, have interesting new experiences and create new memories.
  • International work experience: Boost your resume by gaining valuable experience overseas and showcase your adaptability to work in a foreign market seamlessly.
  • Learn a new language: Whether it is Spanish, French or Mandarin, you will put yourself out of your comfort zone and develop your language skills in no time thanks to living in a foreign country. 
  • Make a difference: You're teaching English which means that you'll impact the lives and careers of many non-native English speakers around the world forever.

Read more: Benefits of Teaching English Abroad

Read more: Why Teaching English Abroad is a Great First Job Out of College

Read more: How Teaching English Abroad Enhances Your Career Prospects

ITA graduate Jahannah Sistrunk teaches English in Taiwan
ITA alumna Samantha Broking teaches English in South Korea
ITA grad Orlando Tillero teaches English in Costa Rica
teaching english overseas requirements for teaching english abroad

Requirements for 
Teaching English Abroad

The requirements for teaching English abroad can differ from one country to another. If you want to teach English abroad, at minimum you will need a TEFL certification from an accredited TEFL school. Factors that make finding a job teaching English in other countries easier include: fluency in English, a 4-year university degree of any kind, prior teaching experience, a clean criminal record, and a valid passport. Let's look at these in detail:

  • Certifications: When it comes to teaching English overseas, an internationally accredited TEFL certification is a key requirement. There is no need for prior teaching experience nor any degree in education as long as you are TEFL certified.
  • English fluency: This seems pretty obvious but you do need to be a fluent English speaker to teach English abroad. Being a native English speaker is a must in some countries, while non-native English speakers can also find opportunities to teach English around the globe.
  • Education: It is typical to find countries that require a 4-year degree to teach English. However, there are many opportunities, especially in Latin America and Europe, for non-degree holders to find a position as an English teacher as long as they are TEFL certified.
  • Criminal Record: Typically, there is a 50/50 chance you will need to obtain and pass some kind of criminal background check if you're planning on teaching English abroad.

Read more: Requirements for Teaching English Abroad

Read more: Can I Teach Abroad Without Prior Teaching Experience?

Read more: Do I Need to Know a Foreign Language to Teach English Abroad?

Read more: Can I Teach Abroad Without an English Degree?

Read more: Can Non-Native Speakers Teach English Abroad?

Read more: Are There Age Limits for Teaching English Abroad?


Teaching English Abroad: How Does It Work?

Wondering how you can start teaching English abroad?

ITA Expert advisors share their tips on how to help you teach English overseas and realize your dream of traveling the world while making a difference.

Check out our video library for more video testimonials from ITA graduates and expert tips from our ITA advisors.

Certifications for 
Teaching English Abroad

While you do not need any prior teaching experience, nor do you need a degree in education to teach English abroad, it is imperative that you hold a proper certification that will qualify you to teach English. But which one do you need? TEFL, TESOL, CELTA... You can find yourself quickly overwhelmed by all of the acronyms when searching for the right certification.

However, when it comes to teaching English overseas, an accredited TEFL certification is the most popular qualification and is recognized by employers worldwide.

Learn More: TEFL/TESOL/TESL/CELTA/DELTA Differences Explained

β€œTEFL” is the acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or simply put, English language instruction for non-native speakers. Also known as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or English Language Teaching (ELT), the field of TEFL/TESOL is one of the fastest-growing educational fields in the world, presenting thousands of excellent professional opportunities in all corners of the globe to native and fluent English speakers who achieve their TEFL/TESOL certification. These terms are essentially interchangeable in the international English teaching market, our certifications list both terms.

Read more: What is TEFL Certification?

To get TEFL certified, there are commonly two options:

The cost of TEFL courses typically varies depending on the location of the class but online TEFL courses are generally cheaper. You can also usually discuss payment plans when you enroll in a course, so finding a TEFL certification course that's within your budget shouldn't be too hard.

TEFL Certification Courses for teaching English abroadIn-person Chicago TEFL Course Sneak PeekChicago TEFL Class Graduation

TEFL Certification

Taking an accredited TEFL certification course is key because it will provide you with a recognized qualification and the skills required for you to get a great job and succeed as a teacher. Over the last few years, International TEFL Academy has been named the #1 TEFL school by GoOverseas.com & GoAbroad.com across a wide range of awards categories for TEFL certification, including #1 Best Online TEFL Course by GoAbroad.com. 

ITA's Online TEFL Class also received recognition as the top-ranked Online TEFL class in several categories of the GoOverseas.com Community Choice Awards for TEFL Certification.  Check out a full run-down of ITA's awards, reviews, and recognition.

Online TEFL Courses

Full-time/Part-time πŸ’»

ITA offers two Online TEFL Courses that are taught by expert professors & incorporates live practice teaching. These 2 courses enable you to get certified at home in just 4 weeks, or in 11 weeks while working full-time or going to school.


In-Person Classes

4-Week, Full-Time 🏫

Want to get TEFL certified in Costa Rica, Italy, or Korea? Take a 4-week intensive TEFL class in North America, Asia, Europe, or Latin America taught by expert instructors.



OFQUAL, Level 5 πŸŽ“

All ITA TEFL classes meet or exceed international standards for professional-level TEFL certification and are internationally accredited. Our certifications are recognized worldwide & our graduates are teaching English in 80 countries.


Dates & Tuition

All ITA Classes πŸ’΅

Check out dates & tuition (including discounts) for 4-week in-person TEFL classes & online TEFL courses. It is also important to read our Registration Procedures.


You can teach English in Spain with a TEFL Certification

Where Can I Teach English Abroad?

Each year hundreds of thousands of Americans, Britons, Canadians, New Zealanders, and Australians, in addition to thousands of fluent non-native speakers, can be found teaching English abroad in nearly every major city across the globe.

A native English speaker with a four-year degree and a TEFL/TESOL Certification from International TEFL Academy can find opportunities in as many as 100 countries around the world from Asia, Europe and the Middle East to South and Central America, even Africa (though opportunities are more limited). 

Even without a four-year degree, a native English speaker with a TEFL Certification from International TEFL Academy can realistically find great opportunities to teach ESL abroad in dozens of countries around the world including Spain, Russia, Brazil and many nations in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Non-native speakers who are fluent both in written and spoken English can also find opportunities in a wide variety of countries, particularly E.U. citizens looking to work within Europe, and those who wish to teach in their home country.

Read more: The Best Countries for Teaching English Abroad

Read more: Top 5 Countries to Make the Most Money Teaching English Abroad

Asia TEFL Jobs

Markets, salaries... 🌏

From Thailand & China to Korea & Japan, Asia represents the largest & most lucrative job market in the world. Many 1st-time teachers receive free airfare/housing & save 30%-50% of their income after expenses.


Europe TEFL Jobs

Markets, salaries... 🌍

From Spain to Russia, demand for English teachers is booming across Europe. Most English teachers work in private language schools & as private tutors, while a few work in public schools & summer camps as well.


Latin America TEFL Jobs

Markets, salaries... 🌏

Offering spectacular natural beauty, lively culture & historic cities, Latin America represents one of the fastest-growing regions for teaching English abroad. It is especially appealing for those who do not possess a degree or citizenship from an English speaking country.


Middle East TEFL Jobs

Markets, salaries... 🌍

Stretching from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, the Middle East encompasses a broad array of teaching markets. The Persian Gulf offers some of the best-paying jobs in the world, but these job markets tend to be smaller & more competitive.


Save Up for Teaching Abroad by Teaching English Online First

Teaching English online represents one of the fastest-growing fields of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) and offers almost limitless opportunities for TEFL certified teachers to gain experience & make money.

Read more: Teaching English Online.

If you are planning on teaching English abroad, you can begin making money teaching English from home before you head overseas to save for start-up costs. Then, when you get abroad, teaching English online enables you to make money right away and to supplement your income as a teacher at a local school.

This is great if you want to save money for extra travel or need to pay off student debt. One of the best aspects of teaching English online is the incredible flexibility that it offers. You can teach English online from virtually anywhere in the world and you can teach as many hours as you like, or even make it your full-time profession.

How to Find a Job 
Teaching English Abroad

To become a professional English teacher, you will need to apply & interview for jobs. The hiring process for English teaching jobs will vary from country to country, region to region, and even school to school. Getting a job teaching English in Peru will be a much different process than getting a job in Japan, for example. 

International TEFL Academy provides lifetime, worldwide Job Search Guidance to all students & graduates to assist with navigating the ins and outs of getting hired as an English teacher overseas. It is critical to your success that you research and understand both your options and what the process will be prior to enrolling in your TEFL class. Some matters that you will need to learn about include:

Download Now: Your Guide to Finding a TEFL Job Abroad & Online

ITA alumnus KJ Schultz teaching English in South KoreaITA alumna Jessica Stanton teaching English in China

Job Search Guidance

Lifetime Assistance πŸ™‹

ITA graduates receive lifetime Job Search Guidance, including guidance from expert advisors, referrals to top recruiters, exclusive access to our 350-page Job Search Guidance manual, live webinars, & more.


Job Markets

& Interview Tips πŸ’‘

Check out expert-written articles & FAQs covering topics like interview & resume tips, job market overviews, top 10 lists & more.


Hiring Seasons

When To Find Work πŸ€”

Understanding hiring seasons is key to successful planning that will enable you to achieve your goal of teaching English abroad.


Private Tutoring

Opportunities πŸ‘

Demand for private English lessons is huge across the globe & many English teachers abroad work full-time or part-time as private tutors.  


TEFL Classroom in China

Teaching English in a Foreign Country

With hundreds of thousands of English teaching jobs opening across the globe each year, opportunities available to you will vary widely.

From teaching English to grade school children in Japan to tutoring businessmen in Madrid, jobs will differ when it comes to matters like the type of students you teach, salaries, and your daily schedule.

Practical matters like housing options, visas & health insurance options will also vary. 

Check out more than hundreds of TEFL articles, FAQs & alumni stories to learn more about the ins and outs of teaching English in 100 countries around the world.

Read more: Who Will My Students Be?

Read moreWhat Schools Will Hire Me?

Read more: What Will My Salary Be?

Travel & Arrival: 
Relocating Overseas or Abroad

When planning to teach English abroad, you need to get your timing right. Logistics is another key factor to keep in mind when you are thinking about relocating overseas. For instance, did you know that a brand-new passport can take up to 12 weeks to process? At International TEFL Academy, we'll work with you to make sure that you plan things right before heading to a foreign country.

Making travel plans and visa arrangements seem like two obvious steps even if, sometimes, they will be paid for and handled by your employer. Here's an example list of things to consider:

  • Travel insurance: Are you covered? Better safe than sorry on that one.
  • Visas: Which visa do you need, how long does it take to process?
  • Passport: Do you have one? If so, when does it expire?
  • Medical Exam: Some schools require them before departure.
  • Flight Tickets: Book in advance to get the best deals.
  • Background check: This also take several weeks to complete if needed.
  • Accommodation: Where are you going to live?

Read more: What Visas & Documents Do I Need?

Read more: Essential Travel Resources for Teaching English Abroad

Living & Working While Teaching Abroad

Living in a foreign country, let alone a country that speaks a different language, can seem daunting but with enough research and preparation, you'll be able to find the best place for you to live. Here are some questions you will need to ask yourself:

  • Is housing provided? It depends on the school. In most cases here, the school that hires you is going to be your best resource. 
  • Will I make enough money to live on? Yes! Whether you will make extra money to save or break even each month can vary (country, school, etc) -understand the numbers before you make the move.
  • What expenses should I budget for? How much money should I bring with me/save up before moving? This is what we call startup cost. We will work with you to determine how much money you need to budget depending on where you'd like to teach.
  • Is it safe to teach abroad? Just as you would do back home, be aware of your surroundings, use basic precautions and common sense. 

Read more: How to Find Housing While Teaching English Abroad

Read more: Health Insurance for Teachers Abroad

Read more: How to Make Friends While Teaching Abroad

Read more: Staying Safe While Living Abroad

Next Steps: TEFL Certification 
Plan & Checklist

Do you feel inspired? You can do it too!

We've come up with this super easy 7-step plan on how to get started for you to follow. Should you choose to go on this adventure teaching ESL overseas with us, you'll benefit from ITA's expert guidance every step of the way.

Your personal ITA advisor has lived overseas and taught English online or abroad. They've been in your shoes and will provide the best support you can hope for to finally realize your dream of seeing the world and making a difference.

Read more: Step-by-Step TEFL Certification Plan & Checklist

Teach English in Thailand just like ITA Grad Kristina LopezThis could be your TEFL Classroom in Thailand


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Enroll & Prep for Your TEFL Class

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Job Interviews w/ Job Search Guidance

Get Hired & Teach English Abroad


Download your brochure, research & ask all of your questions to your ITA advisor

Kellie Kaufmann

Teaches English in Spain

Kellie Kaufmann

I found other TEFL certifications that were cheaper but I still chose ITA because of their reputation and resources. One of my favorite things about ITA is that you have an assigned advisor. Changing careers and moving abroad was such a foreign concept for me... I had so many questions, I didn't know where to start. I scheduled multiple calls with my advisor and they answered all my questions - not just about the TEFL certification, but about the entire process of moving abroad. The support was worth spending the extra money and now I'm living my dream in Madrid!

Tim Unaegbu

Teaches English in South Korea

Tim Unaegbu

I chose South Korea after doing research, reading blogs, and seeing testimonies about the country. The main attraction was that South Korea makes sports and health a priority which mirrors my values, everyone is active and there are many opportunities for extracurricular activities. If I could go back in time, I'd 100% tell myself to do this right after graduation - this is a great way to gain experience, tackle debt, and build a better life for the future.



Michael Fusi

Teaches English in Costa Rica

Michael Fusi

I knew that a TEFL certification is what a lot of employers are looking for in a teacher. My girlfriend Courtney discovered ITA and the success of its graduates led us to choose the program. The practicum was an invaluable experience. I was not a teacher before getting TEFL certified, so this was really my first time in front of a classroom. I taught a group of ESL learners at a local church and it was a great atmosphere and experience. Costa Rica is such a beautiful country and if you like the beach and nature I think you will be happy here. One of my goals is to learn Spanish and this is a great place to do it. 


International TEFL Academy was featured in Thrillist
International TEFL Academy was featured in The Chicago Tribune
International TEFL Academy was featured in The Huffington Post

Named best U.S. TEFL Course
Named best Online TEFL class


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