Teaching English Abroad Requirements | How to Get Started

Teaching English abroad requirements! What qualifications and experience do you need to be able to teach abroad? And how do you choose the correct course for you? These are questions you may wonder when you first have the idea of teaching English abroad. Don’t worry, we are going to set things straight for you. So, grab a cup of tea and enjoy the read.

Katie with her grade 7 students in Ho Chi Minh City

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Teaching English abroad requirements – What are they?

Teaching English abroad offers plentiful opportunities for fluent English speakers to delve into and experience new cultures and see the world. However, the requirements to teach English abroad vary depending on the country and organization. For example, in China, candidates need to be from a native-speaking country. In countries such as Japan and South Korea, potential teachers must hold a degree. Whereas, in Cambodia, requirements are less rigorous in that native speakers can find jobs easily without a degree.

Jake ready to teach for Palfish

To give exact requirements is difficult as countries have different rules. Our best advice is to check out potential jobs in countries you may want to teach. By doing this, you will find a list of requirements which should give you a good idea of what the country expects. However, if you have a degree (in any subject), at least a 120-hour online TEFL certificate, and are a native/ fluent English speaker you will significantly increase your chances of securing employment.

What is a TEFL course?

TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language. There are different TEFL courses to choose from; from 60 hours, all the way to 300+ hours. You can take a solely online course or a combination of online and in-classroom training. You can even take a CELTA course (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). These kinds of courses tend to take longer and cost more.

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Click here to compare TEFL and CELTA courses!

Jake with his grade 7 students in Ho Chi Minh City

Which TEFL course do I choose?

The 120-hour online TEFL certificate is a great starting point. It’s also essential to be able to get work permits to work legally in many Asian countries. The course covers the basics of the English language and touches on lesson planning, teaching methods, and classroom management. However, from our experience of teaching in Vietnam, and like in many other jobs, experience is way more valued than a qualification written on a piece of paper.

Therefore, we recommend taking part in a course that offers in-classroom training; particularly for those who have never stepped foot in a classroom. However, if you do have prior classroom experience, then the 120-hour online certificate will certainly suffice, and in this instance, we would not recommend the in-classroom training. The classroom training is great for those who need a confidence boost. It will certainly help you in your first few weeks of teaching.

Grade 6 group photo in Ho Chi Minh City

What about additional courses?

Along with a 120-hour online course, you can top it up with specific topic courses. You will find courses on anything from young learners to adults and even grammar-specific courses. Whilst these courses are not essential to securing employment, they will certainly help in terms of personal development and showing off the extra knowledge and skills you have acquired through them.

Okay, I have decided on the course I want to take. How do I choose a company?

Choosing a legit company to take your TEFL course with is just as important as actually taking the qualification. You don’t want to waste your time and money investing in a course that is not internationally recognized. This will only cause a lot of stress and could potentially ruin your chances of securing a job. As tempting as it may be to take the cheapest course out there, we strongly recommend you do your research! If the course is not accredited, then you will have difficulty notarizing the certificate; resulting in you not being able to get the correct visa and work permit.

Katie's grade 6 class dressed up for Tet

We hope this post has helped clear up some uncertainties regarding the teaching English abroad requirements. If you have any questions or need any help, then please feel free to leave a comment or send us a message. We will do our best to answer your questions and queries. In the meantime, check out our post about why you should choose Vietnam to start your TEFL career.

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Teaching English Abroad Requirements | How to Get Started

6 thoughts on “Teaching English Abroad Requirements | How to Get Started”

  1. I have been always envious to English teachers. They can go everywhere. My job makes me stuck for most of the time in one country. I now managed to make my work partly remote, which made me really happy.

  2. That is very interesting. Sometimes I think about it. I have a university degree but in English I only have certificate until B2.2 (European framework), do you think it is enough in many places?

    • Hi, Thanks for the message. In any case, to teach English speakers should be proficient in the English language or at least Advanced. Hope this answers your question. I would also recommend doing a TEFL course as well, as this is often needed along with a degree. Good luck!

  3. Great post with some really useful information thank you for sharing. One of my close friends taught in Colombia last year and absolutely loving it so I’ve put it on my list to do!

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