How to apply for TEFL jobs?

TEFL related teaching jobs are available in almost every country worldwide and due to a huge demand for qualified teachers, jobs are all but guaranteed in some areas. To ensure you have the widest range of positions to choose from and the best chance of landing that dream job, there are several things you can do to put yourself at the head of the queue.

How do I apply for TEFL jobs online?

If you are looking for a job outside the country you are currently in, then using online searches is a common option. There are many job boards online that post available positions from countries worldwide. The majority of these jobs will be in regions where the demand for teachers is so high that employers are happy to hire teachers without the need for a face-to-face interview. These are most likely to be found in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Once you have found a job or several jobs that interest you simply fill in the application form online or send in your CV/resume and wait for a response. If successful, the next step will probably be an interview via Skype or even telephone.

What are the pros and cons of applying for TEFL jobs online?

The great benefit of this method is the security you get by having a job already in place before you leave your home country. On the downside there is always a risk in accepting a position without actually seeing where you will be working or meeting your fellow staff members. The best advice here is to ensure that the contract is very clear on important issues such as salary, working hours, contract length and issues involving early termination of your employment. In the worst case scenario that the job is not all you hoped it would be, you will at least be in a good position to look for new employment from within the country.

What are the pros and cons of using a TEFL recruitment company?

Another popular option for ensuring you have a job before you leave your home country is to apply via a recruitment company. Many employers, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, use outside recruitment companies to fill their available teaching positions. The upside of this method, apart from job security on arrival, is that it can reduce much of the hassle involved in organizing the whole process including visas, work permits and other paperwork. The downside is that a small proportion of these companies are less than reputable so you should always do your research and ensure that you are clear on all the terms of the contract before signing.

What about national TEFL recruitment programs?

Also worth considering are government sponsored programs that operate in some countries. The two most popular programs are the JET Program in Japan and the EPIK Program in South Korea, both of which recruit large numbers of teachers every year to work in state schools. These programs tend to be quite competitive so you will need to meet certain criteria to have a chance of being accepted.

What are the pros and cons of applying for TEFL jobs locally?

Being in a country where you are looking for work clearly has many advantages over applying from abroad. This approach generally provides many more options than you will find online and also allows you to visit the school and talk to current teachers before you make any decisions. Applying for jobs locally can be a great way to land a job in any country worldwide and is realistically the only way in certain regions such as Latin America and parts of Europe where few jobs are posted online. Unfortunately this approach does require adequate funds to see you through to your first paycheck, and it is hard to know how long that might be.

Should I take a TEFL course in the country where I want to work?

If you are not yet TEFL qualified it is worth considering an in-class TEFL certification course in the region where you are keen to work. This will allow you to get used to your new environment and also research the local employment market whilst becoming qualified. Most course providers will also include some level of job hunting assistance that can prove invaluable in kick starting your teaching career.

Should I use more than one method of TEFL job hunting?

Of course, you are not restricted to using only one method of finding a teaching position. Once you have decided on a region you can sign-up for a TEFL course in that area, contact recruitment companies to see if they have any openings and also send off your CV/resume to jobs you have found online. The more options you explore, the better chance you will have of landing the perfect teaching job to suit your plans.

Should I pay for a job placement teaching English abroad?

When looking for jobs teaching English abroad you will inevitably come across various agencies offering guaranteed job placements for a fee. On the surface this could look like a convenient way to start your new career as it removes the need to send job applications and to attend interviews. However, there are several things to consider before you hand over your hard earned cash for a service that you might not need.

How strong is the demand for English language teachers across the globe?

The market for English language teachers across the world is simply huge. According to some estimates there are as many as 1.5 billion people learning English worldwide. In China alone there are thought to be up to 300 million people currently learning the language. With such an incredible number of students, it is no surprise that there are hundreds of thousands of teaching positions available every year. In fact, the number of vacancies far outweighs the number of teachers in some areas. Due to this strong demand, you should have little trouble finding a suitable position without having to go through an agency that charges a fee.

What are the down sides of a TEFL job placement?

By paying for a job placement you can seriously limit the choices available to you. Not only will you have a limited say as to the country, town, and neighborhood where you end up living and working, you will also have to accept the salary provided and the hours you are expected to work. You could potentially find yourself with insufficient hours or salary to live comfortably, or be overworked and paid significantly less than your colleagues. Whether you plan to live overseas for just a few months, or see it as a long-term plan, working in an environment that isn't right for you could quickly turn your dream into a nightmare.

What kind of school do you want to teach English in?

Another serious point to consider is do you want to work in a school that is happy to hire teachers without meeting them or even speaking to them first? If you would prefer to work in a school that only hires teachers of a professional standard, then you need to be able to choose which jobs you apply for. Applying for multiple positions in the area where you want to live will allow you the freedom to pick the specific position that is right for you. If you decide to pay for a placement you lose this freedom of choice.

What are the hiring seasons for teaching English abroad?

As demand for ESL teachers is continually high in many parts of the world, there are several countries where you can realistically expect to find employment at any time of the year. However, some regions and individual countries have specific seasons when the majority of hiring is done. If you have particular areas where you want to work as an EFL teacher, it is important that you are aware of these seasons so you can plan your job hunting strategy effectively.

What are the hiring seasons for teaching English in Asia?

Language school season: year-round. Across much of Asia there is such high demand for English language instruction that private language schools often hire throughout the year. This is generally the case with all the most popular destinations in the region for teaching English abroad such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Taiwan.

Public schools: One of the biggest employers of teachers in the state-run sector is South Korea. Each year thousands of native-English speakers are hired through the EPIK Program to work in schools across the country. Interviews are conducted during the spring and early summer for positions starting in August and September, while some schools also recruit later in the year for positions starting in January, February or March. Another popular option is Japan's JET Program which requires applications to be filed by December 1st for positions starting in the autumn of the following year.

What are the hiring seasons for teaching English in Europe?

Main language school season: September/October. Secondary season: January. During these windows large numbers of teachers leave their positions across the continent, creating a huge demand for new employees. As many as half of all ESL teachers in Europe are estimated to leave their post during the summer months, making this a great time to be on the ground, ready to attend interviews for positions starting in September and October when the new school year begins.

Public schools: The number of opportunities available in the state-run sector is considerably lower in Europe than in Asia, although there are government programs in place in Spain and France. Applications for these programs need to be filed by March for positions starting in September. Exceptions: There are some countries in the region such as Turkey and Russia who tend to hire throughout the year rather than during specific seasons. If you are looking to work at a summer language camp, these positions are usually filled during the previous winter/spring.

What are the hiring seasons for teaching English in the Middle East?

Language school season: year-round. There are typically no specific seasons for hiring teachers in language schools across Middle Eastern countries.

Public schools: In countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, recruitment for public schools (as well as private elementary/high schools, colleges and universities) takes place during the spring and early summer for positions starting in August and September. Some schools also recruit later in the year for January, February or March start dates.

What are the hiring seasons for teaching English in Central America?

Main language school season: June/July. Secondary season: January/February. As competition is often quite high for the best positions in Central America, it is recommended that you are in the country of your choice during the relevant season, ready to conduct interviews in person. Exceptions: In Costa Rica many schools conduct interviews during December for teaching positions starting the following January, while schools across Mexico generally hire at any time of the year due to a high demand for language instruction.

What are the hiring seasons for teaching English in South America?

Main language school season: February/March. Secondary season: July/August. To ensure you have the best possible chance of securing a good position, you should arrange to be in the country of your choice during these hiring seasons as employers typically prefer to interview in person.

How can I avoid scams when looking for TEFL jobs?

Due to the anonymous nature of the internet there are always a few unscrupulous characters looking to make easy money, and the world of ESL job recruitment is no exception. Although the overall quality of schools and the contracts they offer varies greatly, the truth is that most advertised jobs both good and bad are totally genuine. To avoid the small percentage of positions that are not what they seem, it is recommended that you always follow a few simple rules.

How can research help me avoid scams when looking for TEFL jobs?

The single best defence against job scams is to ensure you thoroughly research the teaching market in your chosen destination. If you are fully aware of the typical salary, expected benefits, working hours, and normal visa requirements, you should have little trouble spotting potential scams. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true then it most probably is. Once you have found an advertised job that catches your eye there are a couple of simple checks you can do online. An internet search of the school name might quickly identify any well known scams via blacklists, blogs, and ESL articles. Often scammers will use the name of a well known school in their advert so you should also check the email address provided against the one advertised on the genuine school's website. A common trick is to use a similar address with a different domain, such as [email protected] instead of the genuine school's address - [email protected].

Should I ever send upfront payments when applying for TEFL jobs?

Although there are some genuine programs that require an upfront fee, you should be wary about sending money to an employer before you leave home. Some of the most common scams involve bogus employers requesting money upfront for plane tickets, visa fees, security deposits etc. Some employers will expect you to pay for your own airfare and then reimburse the money once you start work, but no genuine employer should ask for flight money upfront. A bit of research regarding the cost of visas in your host country will also help you to avoid being overcharged in this area.

Should I be wary if an employer doesn't request an interview?

As the jobs you are applying for are most likely in a different country, a face-to-face interview might be difficult. However, thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices it is now possible to video chat in most situations. If a potential employer is not keen on a video interview or even a phone call it is wise to assume it is not a genuine job offer.

Should I ask to speak to a current employee?

Another effective strategy when applying for teaching jobs is to ask to speak to a foreign teacher who is currently working at the school. If they refuse it should raise a few concerns. As well as putting your mind at ease regarding scams, speaking to a current employee should also give you a good picture of the general working conditions at the school and what to expect if you decide to take the job.

How will ITTT help me find a job teaching English abroad?

At ITTT we offer all course graduates extensive help with finding suitable teaching jobs in their country of choice. As the need for English language teachers is very strong in many countries worldwide, those who are serious about living and working overseas should have little trouble finding a teaching position that suits their plans. To help you through the process we provide a variety of services including:

Access to our database of potential employers Exclusive leads on unadvertised jobs Advice on constructing a high-quality CV or resume Advice on writing cover letters Assistance with planning trial lessons for job interviews. What is the success rate for graduates finding jobs after a TEFL course?

It is impossible to provide a figure for how many of our graduates find work after completing their course as there are many factors to consider. A significant number of our trainees are already employed as teachers before they start a course, while others are not looking to find work until a later date. All we can say is that the vast majority of our graduates who take advantage of our job support services go on to find work teaching English at home or abroad.

How soon after completing a TEFL course will I find a job?

As soon as you begin your training course you will be in a position to start applying for jobs that require a TEFL certification. Some trainees are able to find work before they have even completed the course, while most should be able to secure employment within a few weeks of finishing their training.