If you’ve been looking at ways in which you can travel and earn money, you may have come across TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) on your search. This is a super popular choice for many UK travellers who want the excitement of living in and experiencing a new culture, while also building their skillset to make themselves more employable on their return home.
We caught up with the Sales and Marketing Manager at TEFL.org, Alan Moir, about the TEFL programme, budget-friendly destinations you can teach in, and top tips on gaining employment after completing the course.
Hi, Alan! Perhaps you could give a quick overview of the TEFL programme, for those who aren’t too sure what it actually is…
Hi! The first thing I’d point out is that there are over one billion English learners around the world, so the demand for qualified English language teachers is sky-high. TEFL Org offers a range of classroom, online and combined course options to suit your teaching goals and budget.
As our courses are self-paced study, we find that the majority of students are able to complete their training on average within two to three months. Teaching English as a foreign language can provide students with a whole host of job opportunities and transferable skills, and 80% of graduates find work within two months of course completion (and 93% of them have found a role in their first country of choice!).
What’s your personal experience with TEFL? Are you a TEFL alumnus? If so, what is your experience of the course? And where did you end up?
Yes, I completed a TEFL course after I graduated from university with a degree in Marketing and Spanish. I really wanted to work in Spain and my tutor recommended looking into working as a Language Assistant with the British Council. A TEFL qualification wasn’t a requirement but I’m glad I completed it. I spent two years teaching English in Spain – during my first year, I was working at a language school for adult learners in Cáceres and in my second year, at a secondary school teaching 12 to 16-year-olds in Galicia.
So, for those who have already decided they would love to teach English abroad, do you have any advice for applying for the course? And any tips for making the most out of the course?
Before jumping straight in, I’d recommend thinking about where you want to teach, who you would like to teach and in what sort of setting (in-class, online, etc.) This can help narrow down options and help focus your job search.
Helpfully, training and course options are available throughout the year so you can sign up at a time that suits you. We do recommend a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL training, so you are eligible to apply for the widest range of TEFL jobs as this is a requirement for many employers. And when it comes to completing your course, do take advantage of all of the online resources and tutor support available. There is also a growing student community online where you can chat with fellow students on the course, share teaching resources and job opportunities.
What countries would you recommend to a budget-conscious traveller looking to teach English abroad?
For those on a budget, I’d recommend researching teaching opportunities in Central and South America, or Asia, where the cost of living is generally lower. Some schools are also able to provide teachers with additional benefits on top of their salaries such as flight reimbursement, accommodation and visa support, which can really make the money you earn go further. Like travelling anywhere, the further you go from the large tourist spots, the cheaper and better value it is.
How can The TEFL Org support those looking to travel abroad and teach English?
The TEFL Org can help you gain the necessary skills and qualifications necessary to teach English as a foreign language abroad. We can provide information and advice on applying for teaching opportunities abroad and check your CV before you send it out to schools. As a TEFL Org student, you will also receive lifetime access to our online TEFL Jobs Centre where you can search and apply for opportunities in Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, Asia, and even online.
Are there any scams or potential bad employers out there that people need to be aware of?
Like any job you apply for, we recommend researching the employer online before sending your application. Ask yourself: “Is this a role I would be happy working in?” We wouldn’t recommend paying any money to apply for a job. There are many recruiters that charge teachers a fee to find a job for them but if you are willing to put in the leg work, you can in most cases apply for a teaching position directly with the school. During the application and interview process, you can ask to speak to past and current English teachers at the school. They can give you a sense of what it’s like to work there and help answer any questions you may have.
Do you have any tips for gaining employment after completing the course? For example, how would a student go about adding their TEFL course and teaching experience to their CV?
When updating your CV, don’t forget to include your TEFL qualification. Put this above all of your other qualifications, and make sure to include the award date and the modules completed during your studies. If you do not have any previous teaching experience, highlight transferable skills or any experience you have working with adults or children. Always tailor your CV to the role you are applying for. So for example, if you are applying for a teaching Business English role, highlight relevant industry experience. Likewise, a young learner role includes any experience working with children, like mentoring or coaching experience.
For further information on the TEFL programmes head to TEFL.org.