What Qualifications Do You Need To Teach English Abroad?

If you are looking for a rewarding and sustainable way to get paid to travel the world then teaching English as a foreign language ranks high on the list of options. Now more than ever people across the globe are seeing the value that learning English offers them in their careers and personal development. The demand for English Teachers worldwide is incredibly high, however so too are the number of applicants dreaming of more exotic pastures that are hoping to fill these positions.

What qualifications do you need to teach English overseas?
What qualifications do you need to teach English overseas?

The qualifications necessary for teaching English overseas vary significantly depending on where it is that you are looking to teach. At the very minimum, most countries require you to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in any discipline. Some countries state that they want you to have a TEFL qualification, whereas others don’t really care. So is it worth the investment?

Before writing and blogging full time, I taught English in South Korea and Italy (and saved a pretty penny while I was at it!) I personally have a 120 hour online TEFL and would definitely recommend it, but let’s look at why you should consider getting a TEFL.

Why Get TEFL Certified?

What qualifications do you need to teach English abroad?
Celebrating lunar New Year with my Korean students!

Although there is a lot of demand for English teachers worldwide, there are also lots of applicants who all dream of high salaries, low cost living, and the chance to travel and fully immerse themselves in a new culture. Being TEFL certified not only allows you to stand out from the crowd, it also demonstrates that you are serious about teaching overseas, and you are not simply using teaching as a way to fund your travels.

More Opportunities

The better qualified you are, the more doors open for you. English Teachers that have teaching experience and a TEFL qualification can enjoy significantly higher pay than those without. In some countries, you must have a TEFL in order to find a teaching role there and even if it isn’t a national prerequisite, many schools and academies (like the one I taught at in Italy) require a TEFL.

Prepare For the Classroom Reality

Taking an online TEFL course helped me to prepare for teaching English in so many ways. As native speakers, we don’t appreciate the complexity of the English language (5 points to whoever can tell me what a ‘gerund’ is without googling!) but a TEFL breaks down all of the different components that go into what we take for granted every day, and presents the best ways to teach these concepts to foreign speakers.

A TEFL also teaches you aspects of teaching such as lesson planning, classroom management, dealing with struggling students, etc which I was so grateful for since my academy in Korea didn’t provide me with any training and simply handed me a pile of text books and locked me in a room with a group of monsters fourth graders.

Which TEFL is the Right TEFL?

What qualifications do you need for teaching English abroad?
Aren’t kids the cutest? ^_^

There are numerous TEFL courses available, with TEFL institutions offering study in the form of online courses, in class lessons or combined study. As you can imagine, online courses are the cheapest option and I actually prefer this route because it provides you with the flexibility of being able to study around your other commitments.

I opted to do a 120 hour TEFL course through ITTT, an online TEFL organisation. What I loved about this course was that they do not simply throw a bunch of study modules at you and expect you to get on with it, but also provide you with:

  • 24 hour tutor support from real, qualified English teachers
  • Job guidance after you have completed your course
  • Assistance with writing a teaching focused resume/CV
  • A letter of recommendation upon completion
  • A free add on course (Business English or Teaching English to Children)
  • Downloadable materials and lesson plans for when you start working as a Teacher

The ITTT TEFL course starts from $349 a year which is lower than what is offered by most organisations and not to mention, they give you all of the added extras mentioned above!

It is important to note that a 120 hour course is the minimum number of study hours that employers require you to have. Any less is not sufficient, and any more is not required but longer courses obviously provide you with even more guidance and material.

20% Discount For High Heels & a Backpack Readers!

When I reached out to my TEFL provider, ITTT and told them that I was building up a portfolio of resources on my site to help readers plan their overseas teaching adventures, they kindly offered to give High Heels & a Backpack readers a 20% discount on TEFL courses. This really is the best deal that you can find. Once you submit your application, you will see the discounted price appear on ITTT’s “thank you” page. To enrol on a course and start your exciting teaching adventure, click here.

Feeling Inspired?

Do you like the sound of teaching English overseas but you really can’t make up your mind as to which country interests you the most or how to begin the process? Take a look at my TEFL interview series which features the inspiring stories of wanderlusting women who are teaching English in various exotic locations around the globe. From the neon filled, eclectic streets of Tokyo, to the peacefulness of the Spanish countryside, there are so many options available!

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What qualifications do you need to teach English overseas?

Have any questions about teaching overseas or studying a TEFL? Let me know in the comments below!

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