Read About the Most Common ESL Jobs

A wide variety of English as a foreign language (EFL) and English as a second language (ESL) jobs are available. The size of the classes, the age levels of the students, and the kind of English you will be teaching can all vary depending on the school or organization you work for. You should thoroughly research the school and the country where you hope to find work so that you know what will be expected of you in your teaching duties and are prepared for them.

The most common Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) jobs in non-English-speaking countries that you can expect to find are with the following organizations:

  • Public Schools. English schools that are run by the local government probably offer the most dependable TEFL jobs. Because they are funded by public revenue, they are not in danger of going bankrupt and closing down suddenly like some private or language schools. The downside to these jobs is that salaries are usually low, and there may be many extracurricular activities you are required to participate in for which you will not be compensated.
  • Private Schools. Teaching duties in private schools are similar to government schools, but the pay is generally better.
  • Commercial Language Schools. These jobs usually pay well and have more flexible hours. You typically do not have to perform side duties such as parent-teacher meetings and class preparation, and if you do, you will usually receive extra compensation for them. Job security may not be reliable, however, because some of these schools can close suddenly due to financial problems.
  • International Schools. These are some of the most desirable ESL jobs available. They pay extremely well, the curriculum is comparable to U.S. schools, and the student body is usually well educated and highly motivated. You generally need a master’s degree, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, and previous teaching experience in order to be considered for these jobs.
  • Corporate Training Departments. Many corporations and private businesses provide English language lessons for their employees. These jobs generally pay very well and offer adaptable schedules either before or after regular business hours, so competition for them is demanding. Master’s degrees, certification, and experience are usually required for these jobs also.
  • Private Tutoring. Providing private English language lessons one-on-one is a great way to earn extra money, especially if you manage to build up a large roster of students. These jobs can usually be found through word of mouth or TESOL job postings. They can take place either in the student’s home or in public meeting places such as cafés.

Other sources of TEFL jobs include universities, charitable organizations, and government-sponsored aid programs such as the Peace Corps.

The majority of ESL jobs in English-speaking countries are usually found in the following:

  • Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. Almost all U.S. school districts offer ESL classes at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. You first need to obtain your regular teaching certificate by meeting your state’s educational requirements and then earn additional certification in ESL. Schools with large ESL programs usually employ ESL department directors. You usually need a master’s degree in TESOL, linguistics, or educational leadership for these positions.
  • Colleges and Universities. Teaching others to teach ESL in postsecondary schools usually requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree for colleges and a doctorate at universities, along with ESL certification and teaching experience.