As a native English speaker, you were practically born with a skill that many are dying to have. If you’re looking to live and work abroad, this is extremely useful, as many countries around the world are willing to pay native English speakers a decent wage in exchange for teaching their citizens the language that many consider to be the key to their career progression.
If you want to teach English while traveling, you’ll need to get a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification, but there’s a bit of research and planning that you’ll need to do before you start of the journey of getting TEFL certified.
Figure out where you want to teach
This is a huge part of your decision to teach English— where do you want to live? You may be committing yourself to a year in this foreign destination, so doing your research and looking into alternatives is important. Every country values and deals with English teachers differently, so here are some things you should look into when trying to decide where you’d like to teach English, as this could affect how you go about getting your TEFL certification.
If you have a region or country in mind, the first thing you’ll need to find out is if your nationality is allowed to work there legally. Will you need a visa to work? What are your options for getting one? Is it expensive or does it take too long? If it seems nearly impossible to be able able to work legally where you want to, do some research into the “flexibility” of these rules. While I don’t condone living or working somewhere legally, there are plenty of places around the world where people do it all the time. Just be careful— just because other people have been able to beat the system doesn’t guarantee that you will.
Availability of teaching jobs and average pay
More popular destinations for English teachers, like Rome and London, often have plenty of English teachers looking for jobs with not enough jobs to give them. Do you research, and if you’re not dead-set on a certain destination, being flexible could mean much better pay, working hours, and just an easier time getting a job. That being said, governments and schools that are desperate for English teachers sometimes help pay for your flight, your accommodation, and more if you sign a year-long contract with them. Being flexible has its perks (literally!)
Think about what you might want to specialize in
A TEFL or TESOL certification is quite broad— it enables you to teach English on a very general basis. Choosing to have a specialization can help you stand out from other applicants, and in some cases, make more money.
Working with children is difficult but if you learn how to do so effectively then you open yourself up to some more opportunities.
Business English courses are very popular in many parts of the world, due to the increase in demand for English-speaking workers, and while it may not be as fun as working with children, it can bring in the big bucks (or euros, or yen, or…you get).
You can even specialize in tutoring for the TOEFL exam, which is the test that foreigns need to pass in order to attend college in the US. By gaining knowledge in how that test works, you can commandeer a high hourly rate and also make your own schedule.