When Is The Best Time To Apply For TEFL Jobs?

If you’re thinking of doing a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course (as you should!), you have probably realised what a big commitment this could be. After all, you might be thinking of packing your life up and setting off on an adventure across the globe! To take such a big step requires careful thought and consideration. After all, many people give up their jobs in order to become TEFL teachers. 

Read more: What Will I Learn on a TEFL Course?

Once you have graduated from your TEFL course, to give yourself a chance of landing that dream job quickly, you’ll need to know the best time of year to apply for teaching work. This is especially true if you’re trying to leave behind your old life to start again as a TEFL teacher somewhere overseas.

So, when is the best time to apply for TEFL jobs? It depends on two things: 

1. where you want to teach and, 

2. well, where you want to teach!

In other words, the country and the institution.

The Lost Art of Doing Nothing: a good book for digital nomads
Young woman teaching English as a Foreign Language

The different kinds of TEFL jobs

There are a range of different positions you can hold as a TEFL teacher, depending on the situation you are working in. 

  • Government/state school: You teach learners aged 4 to 18. You are the main teacher or the assistant teacher, the class teacher or the English teacher. You teach during school hours, possibly being involved with after-school clubs, such as Drama or Art or Tennis. 
  • Language school: You teach learners of all ages, possibly adults only. You teach any time of the day, possibly even in the evenings. Students can start at any time and stay at the school for a week or a year or anything in-between.
  • University: You teach adult learners during the day.
  • Summer camp: You teach high school learners over a number of weeks. 

Read more: Five Characteristics of Summer Camp Teachers

Summer camp TEFL teacher and students

The best time to apply for TEFL jobs

Different countries have different academic years. In some countries, for example, the school year starts in January. In others, it starts in August. The beginning of the academic year will affect when schools are looking at hiring new teachers. Schools prefer to hire teachers for the beginning of the year and to commit to at least a year, sometimes two. This is so that the school year is not disrupted mid-semester by the change of teacher. Having the same teacher throughout the year benefits both the teacher and the students.

This does not mean that schools will hire teachers in the month before the new academic year. Rather, they will begin recruiting and hiring a few months before. This is usually for visa reasons and because of the fact that TEFL teachers usually need to relocate to the city of the school. Schools like to give their teachers a fair amount of notice to sort out their lives at home and get to know their new surroundings before they begin the school year.

That is not to say that all teachers stay for a full year. For this reason, there are often secondary hiring seasons in the middle of the academic year.

EFL students in a primary school

Hiring seasons around the world

Let’s look at the different academic years around the world and the different hiring seasons for some of our most popular TEFL destinations.

  Country         Academic year                               start     Hiring season
Brazil February December, January
South Korea March January, February
Argentina March January, February
Japan April February, March
Thailand May March, April, November
Vietnam August May, June
Mexico August February
China September January, February
Spain September July, August or January
UAE August March – June




Bear in mind, these are the application dates for mainstream schools. Language schools hire year-round so you can apply at any time. Summer camps e.g. in Europe in July and August, recruit three months before. Specific programmes have their own application deadlines:

JET (Japan): October – January (depending on your country) to start in July or August

EPIK (South Korea): August to start in February, February to start in August

TAPIF (France): Mid-October – January to start in October

Language Cultural Assistants Programme (Spain): January – April to start August, September

Read more: Popular Programmes for Teaching English Abroad

japan 3

So, that’s it. Now you know the best time to apply for whatever TEFL job you are looking for. Good luck with your application! And, if you’re not qualified yet, take a look at our courses. You could be TEFL certified in as little as 120 hours.

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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