Prospects Country by Country Guide - English Countries

North America

There is a huge demand for teaching English in the USA and Canada. While in most countries of the world business and 'academy' type English is most common, in North America the emphasis is more on ESL (English as a Second Language).

Just about every university and college in major cities has an ESL program, as do a variety of government and charitable organizations.

Although the demand for ESL teachers is enormous, it is extremely difficult for non-US citizens who do not have a 'green card' to get a working visa. Therefore the majority of positions are filled by local citizens, usually on a part-time basis. ESL teaching is not particularly well-paid in comparison to the cost of living and hourly rates of $30 dollars are the norm.


The EFL industry in Australia has changed considerably in recent years. Previously many Asian students of English would go there for intensive English courses but the economic problems in Asia in the 90's led to a marked decline in the number of fee-paying students. This has resulted in a loss of job opportunities for both Australian and foreign English language teachers.

The outlook is not totally bleak and some opportunities still do exist but as competition for positions is tough, schools are able to demand higher qualifications and more experience from teachers.

The profession is strictly regulated in Australia and standards are high in both public and private sectors. There is a nationally agreed pay scale for EFL teachers of A$18,000 - A$30,000 per year. However, highly trained Australian EFL teachers cannot always find jobs. As in the USA, a large proportion of local EFL/ESL teaching is done by volunteers.

One option that may be appealing for Britons, Irish and Canadians less than 30 years of age, is the possibility of a working holiday visa. This is a 12-month non-renewable visa that allows you to work in any one job for a maximum of three months.

This can be quite convenient for the 'teacher traveler' who would like short-term contracts while traveling around the country.

United Kingdom

The demand for English language teaching in the UK can be divided into two categories, permanent and summer school. Permanent positions are hard to come by as every year many very experienced and qualified EFL teachers return to the UK in search of employment. This creates fierce competition for available jobs. This is perhaps surprising considering that these jobs are not usually on competitive salaries when compared to the cost of living in the UK.

Summer school work is a different story. It is estimated that there are over 800 language schools in operation during July and August catering to foreign students on intensive English language learning 'holidays'. This creates a huge number of opportunities for a qualified EFL teacher. Such positions are often well-paid and sometimes (in the case of residential schools) even come with free accommodation and meals.