Plenty of people aspire to have the freedom to travel as part of their career. It’s often something that’s gradually worked towards as you climb the career ladder. But, what if you could travel the world and begin a new career at the same time? Teaching English abroad is an increasingly popular choice for keen travelers with an interest in teaching.
With a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) you can quite literally travel all over the world for work. Perhaps you’d like to work in Thailand where the locals are friendly, the food is fresh and flavorful and white sand beaches are never far away. Or maybe you’d like to teach in Europe. Spain is a popular destination for EFL teachers as it is home to the most thriving TEFL market on the continent. Or how about Mexico, where the culture is vibrant in every sense – food, music, locals and scenery. Once you’re qualified to TEFL, you can put these dreams into action.
How to get TEFL certified
The first move towards TEFL and getting paid to travel starts with getting the right qualification. There are a lot of TEFL providers on the market, but you should focus your attention on well-accredited ones in order to not only help you find work but to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel in teaching.
What will I need to TEFL?
Most countries/employers will require you to have a 120-hour TEFL certification and a criminal background check. It’s also common for a degree in any discipline to be a requirement, which limits some countries for non-degree holders, but there are still many other options for those without. Obviously, you need to be fluent in English to teach it. If English isn’t your first language, it can be more difficult to find work, however, if you can provide evidence of your proficiency with the likes of an IELT certificate, this will really help.
It’s always important to thoroughly research visa requirements as well before you make any big decisions. It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and effort.
Digital nomads can teach English remotely
EFL teachers abroad have many opportunities. If you can see yourself embracing the digital nomad lifestyle and are happy to find work teaching online, then you could find yourself teaching students anywhere in the world, from anywhere in the world.
The luxury of being an online English teacher is choosing when and where you work. Time differences all over the world mean that you’ll be able to work when it suits you.
Other teaching opportunities
Because there are so many ways to TEFL, it means that you can find a job with a contract that fits your goals. If you’d like to really immerse yourself in a new culture and explore local treasures during your weekends, and venture farther afield during your holidays, then full-time teaching in a school could be for you. You can expect fixed and regular hours and know how much you’ll make from month-to-month, making it easier to account for expenses.
If you’d prefer working outside of the standard 9-5 routine then working in a language center teaching a variety of ages could be your best option. Language center teachers are typically given fixed hours but they’re more likely before and after the school/working day.
Or maybe you have a background in business and can see yourself teaching Business English to professionals? Each job has its advantages depending on what your priorities are.
How much could I earn?
It’s hard to give an estimate of how much you could earn as an EFL teacher abroad as there are a number of factors to consider. Some of the highest paying TEFL destinations include South Korea, China and Japan, but even where wages are lower, it tends to be relative to the country’s cost of living. This means that you can still live comfortably on a lower wage in countries where the cost of living is low in comparison to a higher paying country with higher living costs.
Salaries can also vary depending on the school or institution you work for. Teachers with substantial previous experience will more likely be eligible for higher paying roles.
You may also have some of your expenses covered by your employer. Some lucky EFL teachers have their accommodation covered and others might have their flights reimbursed at the end of their contract. Either way, some of your expenses could be taken care of.
The many different TEFL opportunities out there means that you can find the job that suits you and your travel plans best. Forget waiting years to save up for the holiday of a lifetime – as an EFL teacher your job can fund your travels without having to limit them. All you have to do to get started is get TEFL qualified.