Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be rewarding in many ways, not only are you doing the important work of educating students, you may also get the opportunity to live in exotic locations and make a decent income. There are also many opportunities for English language teachers to earn higher degrees and advance their academic careers, or enter the business world.


So if you’re interested in a career in TESOL, here are some thoughts to help you with your professional endeavor.

What Type of Opportunities Are There?

There are a large variety of ages and subjects that are taught beneath the banner of TESOL – this means teachers are able to specialize in teaching at primary, secondary, or tertiary level. Teachers can also work with mature students and business people.

Each one of these paths comes with its own opportunities and utilizes a special skill-set that teachers can develop through both work experience, and by further advancing their education.

Graduates of TESOL programs also enter the business world to work as communication consultants, or to assist in the development of education departments, and ESL programs.

How Do I Qualify as a TESOL Teacher?


There are a wide variety of degree and certificate granting programs that allow graduating students to teach at different levels and in different locations. When looking to apply to programs be sure to investigate what types of opportunities are available with the given credential, as some programs are more widely recognized than others.

Many schools and countries’ education systems will accept a basic teaching certificate, but it is becoming more common for higher paying jobs to require a teaching credential, or a Master of Arts Degree in TESOL. The Master of Arts Degree provides students with an encompassing curriculum that includes: pedagogy development, research methodology, and practical teaching experience.

Where Can I Teach, and What are my Best Options?

A degree or certificate in TESOL will allow you to work and travel throughout the world, but the best markets for teachers are located in the Middle East and Asia.

Currently, the highest paying job market ($2400-$4000 USD/month) is in the UAE, where the international and economic development in major cities like Dubai, have made English a necessity for professional advancement. Most employees will require teachers to have a teaching credential from their home country, or a higher degree in TESOL.

In Asia, the largest and best paid markets are Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Salaries tend to range between $1000-$3000 (USD/month), but the cost of living is often low.

Teaching English abroad is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a rewarding and well-paid career, as well as an enduring and meaningful cultural experience.

Images by Shane Global Language Centrestorres21, used under Creative Commons license.

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