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Can I teach abroad as an NQT?

As an NQT (newly qualified teacher), you’ll have recently finished your PGCE and will be looking to start your induction period of teaching in a school. Induction periods typically last 3 terms (one school year) and are used to formally assess you as a teacher. Whilst thousands of NQTs start their induction period in September, a lot also review their options! As a TEFL course provider, we often get asked: can I teach abroad as an NQT?

If you’re one of the NQTs wondering exactly the same thing, read on to find out more…

The law states in England and Wales that once you’ve been granted Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you’ll need to undergo an induction period. Induction periods must last one whole school year.  To do this, you’ll already have your PGCE, where you’ll have learned the theory of teaching, whilst applying this with school placements.

Teaching abroad with a PGCE

In our previous article, we answered the question of whether you can teach abroad with a PGCE.  The answer was that ultimately, to teach English abroad you’d still need a TEFL qualification; but a PGCE would certainly make your CV stand out and put you ahead of the competition when applying for TEFL jobs – yes please!

Will my year teaching abroad count towards my induction period as an NQT?

Unfortunately, teaching English as a Foreign Language in a TEFL school overseas won’t qualify as an induction period for an NQT.  You could TEFL overseas for a couple of years before moving back to the UK, and you’d still be an NQT; the reason being that the induction must be completed in a “relevant school” in England or Wales.  There are some schools overseas where you can teach during your induction period, but they must be a British school overseas, and a member of the Department for Education (DfE) accredited association – you can find out more information here. Therefore, schools in which you would TEFL do not qualify.

Teaching abroad as an NQT

However, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from teaching abroad as an NQT.  There is no time frame to complete your induction period, so you can go overseas and teach for as long as you want.  Many NQTs find that it’s a great break from training – whilst they gain invaluable teaching experience, it’s in a totally different environment… not to mention the travel and cultural benefits!  You may decide to TEFL for a year and then find that you enjoy it so much, you want to make it your long-term career!

Why teach abroad as an NQT?

As an NQT, you’ll already have much more teaching experience than many others who wish to teach overseas; and this will easily put you one step ahead of the competition. Places like South Korea, Western Europe, and the Middle East are all extremely competitive and like candidates who can bring something extra: perfect if you’re an NQT!  In these areas, you’ll enjoy higher salaries, longer holidays and extra benefits. Plus, you might even find that you can earn more as a TEFL teacher abroad than you can as an NQT in the UK! Take Saudi Arabia for instance: with an average monthly salary of £2,400-£2,900 (tax-free!) for a TEFL teacher, which is much higher than a typical NQT’s salary in the UK of £2,100 (not including student loan repayments). In addition to this, overseas TEFL employers will often offer free accommodation, free airfare, health insurance, and bonuses – so there’s no need to worry about your pay packet or standard of living!

Ultimately, teaching English as a foreign language is a great way of gaining relevant experience for your CV, whilst earning money abroad and living like a local.  You can definitely teach abroad as an NQT, and will most likely find it easier to secure positions… so what’s stopping you from joining the thousands of others NQTs to embark on a TEFL adventure overseas?

World TEFL Guide


I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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