12 Facts You Need to Know About Teaching English

TEFL is a wonderful opportunity, not just for you but also for your students. With over 1.5 billion English speakers worldwide, there are even more eager to join them. There are roughly 750,000,000 non-native English speakers in the world, and it continues to increase. Teaching English is incredibly rewarding, you can travel while you give back to the community through education.

As more students learn English, the more valuable the language becomes, and the more the demand increases. When people learn English, countless opportunities open up. This is similar to the power that TEFL courses provide you. By becoming TEFL certified, you can teach almost anywhere. Their demand for English goes hand in hand with your ability to teach it. However, you may have some questions. Whether you are concerned about the logistical aspects like degrees, visa requirements, we’ve got you covered.

1) You Can Earn a Top Salary Teaching English

While many people are enticed by TEFL’s opportunity to travel while working, you can also earn a top salary. Some Middle Eastern countries in particular, like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates offer a salary of around $3,500 – $5,000, per month, untaxed! Teaching English in Japan and South Korea also offers a handsome salary of around $1,700 a month. You could also earn much more depending on your qualifications and experience. Additionally, TEFL teachers in South Korea typically receive free accommodation, meaning they won’t have to worry about paying any rent. 

While you may look for a higher salary in these countries as opposed to Thailand or Cambodia, remember to consider the cost of living. The cost of living in Southeast Asian countries is very low, meaning your salary will go a long way. Rent will be far cheaper, as will other aspects of your living expenses. While a beer costs around $3.20 in Japan, it might cost as little as $0.70 in Thailand or Cambodia. 

However, before you go globetrotting, there are many factors that will determine the salary you earn. If you have a degree and a 120 hour TEFL qualification, you can expect to earn a good salary. However, If you have prior teaching experience, and a higher TEFL qualification like that of the 168 hour Ofqual Level 5 certificate, you could make much more. 

2) English Is The Business Language of the World

It’s hard to deny that English is the business language of the world. It is recognized as the lingua franca or bridge language between different countries, enabling companies to operate on an international level. When people of different cultures and languages come to communicate, English is used as the common language. 

For a business powerhouse like China, English is very valuable. Employers will require workers who can facilitate communication through the business language of the world. It’s no wonder that over 400 million people are learning English in China. There won’t ever be a time when English is not in demand. 

There are countries all around the world where English is a primary language. In Asia, there’s Singapore, in Africa, South Africa, in the Caribbean, Jamaica. The list goes on!

3) There’s a Global Demand for TEFL teachers 

Because English is the predominant language of the world, TEFL teachers are in huge demand. Employers don’t just want business skills, but the capacity to operate internationally. 

In many Asian countries, like Japan and Vietnam, English may be a requirement in education curriculums. Additionally, millions of students take the IELTS test each year to qualify for international study or work. As countries become more significant on the international front, the demand for English speakers increases.

Employers are willing to pay their TEFL teachers handsomely, with additional benefits. In some countries (e.g. South Korea and the UAE), accommodation will typically be provided. Employers may even reimburse you for your airfare. Many contracts will provide you a completion bonus of a whole month’s salary. That’s how much TEFL teachers are valued. 

4) Teaching English as a Foreign Language Is a Booming Market

TEFL may seem like a niche industry. If you asked someone what line of work they were in, you’d expect them to say accountancy, finance, retail, and so on. TEFL is one of the last things you’d expect them to say. However, TEFL is a booming market. It is estimated that each year, around 100,000 positions are open for TEFL teachers.

When the pandemic hit, it affected the TEFL industry significantly. However, rather than bringing a halt to English acquisition, another sector of TEFL boomed. There has been a dramatic surge for both teachers and students using online platforms. 

According to Forbes, in 2016 the online language lessons market in China was worth $4.5 billion. This was before attention shifted heavily from in-class to online learning due to social distancing measures. Teaching online is a great way to earn money from home or gain experience before you enter the classroom. 

5) Degrees, Passports, and Visa Requirements

When you’re applying to teach English abroad, you’ll notice the requirements will vary from one employer to another. However, there will also be significant differences in visa requirements.

To teach in Japan, Vietnam, or the UAE, you’ll be required to have a Bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor’s Degree is necessary for the visa procedure, and you might not obtain a work permit otherwise. However, you’re able to teach in many countries without a Bachelor’s degree. A few examples are Cambodia, Argentina, Brazil, and more. Be sure to research whether a Bachelor’s Degree is merely preferential or a necessity.

Additionally, you may need a passport from a country where English is the first language. One of the requirements for teaching English in South Korea is a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, South Africa, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. If you want to teach in Spain, it may be easier to obtain a work permit if you’re an EU citizen. Remember, visa requirements will vary from country to country. 


6) Do I Have To Be A Native English Speaker?

Admittedly, native speakers will have more opportunities, but non-native English speakers will be glad to know that they can teach English abroad.  Fortunately, some employers will recognize the energy and skills that non-native speakers can bring into the classroom. This is the case for both in-class and online teaching. Some examples are Argentina, Thailand, and Cambodia. Before you apply, be sure to check the requirements of your potential employer.

If English is not your native language, there are ways you can boost your opportunities. With a degree, a TEFL qualification, and prior teaching or tutoring experiences, your opportunities will open up. 

7) You Don’t Need to Speak a Second Language

This is a big misconception. As a person who will be teaching English, your responsibilities will only be teaching English. You are not required to know the local language. In fact, employers prefer that you only speak English in the classroom. This is because students will be more immersed in the classroom, this will encourage English discourse and will prevent mother-tongue interference. 

However, if you are teaching English in China and you have a small grasp of Mandarin Chinese, daily tasks will be easier. It is respectful to try to learn the local language of the country you’re working in. 

This will encourage authentic interactions with the locals and demonstrate your respect for their culture. After all, they have no obligation to compromise and communicate in your native tongue. Despite this, you will not be expected to communicate with your students in their native language. 

8) Which Course Should I Enroll On?

TEFL is pretty flexible. It’s great for those seeking a short-term commitment or a long-term career. Are you looking to work for 5 weeks at summer camp? To teach for 5 months? 5 years? Forever? Whatever your career objectives or personal goals, there’s a suitable TEFL course for you. 

Typically, employers will expect a minimum of a 120 hour TEFL qualification to work for them. If you want to teach for the short-term, a 120 hour TEFL (which takes roughly 3-6 weeks) course will suffice. 

However, if you’re in it for the long haul, or you want to maximize your salary potential from the get-go, you should invest more time and a little more money. With our 168 hour Ofqual Level 5 course, employers know just how serious you are about teaching. 

The course is English Government-regulated, and well-established in the Regulated Qualifications Framework. In around 6-10 weeks of study, you’ll have a certificate the equivalent of a CELTA or a foundation degree. You can expect to receive more job opportunities and a much higher salary potential. 

9) You’re Not Too Old to Teach English Abroad

It’s true that TEFL is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters. You can travel the world without sacrificing time on your CV, so it is a viable option for graduates. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re too old to TEFL. 

There are instances where employers may not hire people over the local retirement age. If you want to teach in Asia, for example, and you’re over 60, it could be difficult to obtain a visa sponsor. 

However, there is a whole world of opportunities for TEFL teachers of any age. It’s easy to forget our strengths when we use them day in and day out. We have become so accustomed to using English, we forget how good of a skill it is. Because of this, TEFL is always an option for a career change. 

The demand for TEFL teachers is huge, and you possess the same language skills as young TEFL teachers. In fact, the more experienced you are in a specific field of work, the more valuable you could be for students. If you’ve plenty of work experience in marketing, for example, you could specialize and teach English for Specific Purposes (ESP). 

There are many general English teachers, but some students want to improve their English within the professional environment. Teaching Business English is a popular form of ESP. If you have direct or indirect business experience, you could coach speaking (presentations, phone calls), writing (emails, letters), or intercultural training. The closer you are to addressing someone’s English objectives, the more desired you are as a teacher. 

10) Course Accreditation  

If you want to pause your adventure teaching abroad, you could easily put it on hold. With an accredited TEFL certification, you have it for life. There are no expiry dates or inconvenient refresher courses. 

However, not any old TEFL course or course provider will do. You have to make sure that they are accredited. If they aren’t, they won’t be recognized by your employers and all that hard work and money will have gone to nothing. It’s possible that you’ll come across course providers which aren’t recognized by an accrediting institute. 

There are a few red flags to look out for. If a TEFL course seems to be too cheap, or even free, it is most likely illegitimate. However, there are companies such as EF which will provide free training if you decide to work with them.

You should also check the provider to see who they are accredited by. If they are accredited by obscure bodies, you should avoid them. Fortunately for you, Premier TEFL’s courses are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Distance Learning. Additionally, it is associated with Training Qualifications UK. As far as course providers go, Premier TEFL is as accredited and reliable as you’ll find. 

11) Teaching English Abroad Is Ethical 

Who doesn’t love going on holiday? While it is a great way to pay for your hard work, some people may have concerns about ethical travel. Teaching English abroad is a way to travel while giving plenty back in return. You’ll immerse yourself within the community and respect the culture as the locals would. 

There are many ways you’ll be giving back. You’ll be teaching the future of the country English, a highly desired skill. You’ll also contribute to local businesses. Whether you’re binge drinking coffee, eating cultural cuisines, or shopping for local garments, you’re contributing to the local economy. 

This is more ethical than, for example, flying to a country, staying at a chain hotel, going on commercialized tours, and flying home the week after. This would lead to more carbon footprint, less money for the local economy, and fewer meaningful interactions with the local community. 

This is not to say you can’t holiday ethically. But, if you’re eco-conscious or culturally sensitive, teaching English abroad is a fantastic way to explore the world. 

12) You Can TEFL As A Couple (or Friends)

Moving to a new country can be intimidating, so it’s nice to be able to take some familiarity with you. There are many programs where couples or friends can be placed together. If it is your first time teaching, you can apply for a teaching internship where you’ll be placed with many others. When applying, you can state your city preference and who you would like to be placed with.

Similarly, there are schools that hire multiple teachers during hiring seasons and will happily interview people who want to be placed together. It is estimated that around 50% of teachers renew their contracts, while others will move schools or return home. If you’re looking to work at a public school, be sure to apply with your partner a few months before the semester begins. If you would like to work at a private language center, they often hire all year round. 

Now You Know Your Teaching English Facts

And just like that, you have a wealth of new knowledge you didn’t have before. Remember that visa and employer requirements will vary from countries and schools. Visa requirements especially can be inconstant during the pandemic.

If you have a degree and a TEFL certificate, the likelihood is that you can overcome any obstacle there is. But don’t fret if English is not your native language, as there are many opportunities around the world. This is especially the case if you invest the time and effort into a high-quality TEFL certificate.

Despite potential obstacles, TEFL is a thriving market that requires teachers to supply the demand for English acquisition. While more people learn English, the language and thus TEFL teachers become more valuable. There will not be a time when English isn’t in high demand.

The post 12 Facts You Need to Know About Teaching English appeared first on Premier TEFL.

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