Whether you’ve recently graduated or are looking for a bold career change, chances are you’ve wondered what it would be like to teach English abroad. This exciting path is a great way to see the world and gain valuable life experience.
It’s no wonder many teachers end up wanting to extend their time abroad and pursue TEFL as a long-term career. But is it possible to turn it into a career?
Yes, there are several options for turning it into a career. You could become a full-time teacher, work for a TEFL company, or start your own school or academy, among other options. This may seem challenging, but doing research and coming up with a plan will help you work toward this goal. If you’re wondering which steps to take to make this happen, keep reading below to explore your options and decide if this path is right for you!
The six steps for making TEFL into your career are to secure your first job, develop a plan, build your resume, network, transition into a long-term role, and plan for the future.
Before any of this can happen, you’ll need to develop the skills necessary to get that first exciting gig! TEFL.org offers course everything from beginner courses to more comprehensive 168-hour advanced courses to get the ball rolling on your English teaching career. After completing an accredited training course like this, follow the steps below to work toward turning it into your career!
1. Get Your First TEFL Job
Once you get your TEFL certification, you’re on your way to landing that first gig and jet-setting off to your new destination! Choose the country or countries you are interested in moving to and research the opportunities there.
This first gig will give you a great amount of insight on the type of work you enjoy, future opportunities you’d like to try, and whether you want to pursue TEFL long-term.
If you prefer a more flexible route for pursuing a career, you may be interested in the growing field of teaching English online. If you choose to teach ESL online, you have the benefit of earning money and developing your teaching skills from anywhere in the world.
As long as you have a computer with a webcam and wifi connection, you are free to travel the world while gaining experience as an ESL instructor!
2. Come Up with a Long-Term Plan
After a year or several, of valuable TEFL experience, you may decide to transition from temporary positions to a more long-term path. If that is the case, it’s time to map out a plan.
Do you want to stay in one specific country or continue traveling? Are you teaching online, or are you hoping to work in a public school system? Decide where you’d like to be and the type of work you’d like to do.
Then, do some thorough research to learn the steps and the likelihood of securing long-term work with these specifications.
If you’re looking for inspiration on the types of long-term careers you could pursue in TEFL, here are a few options worth considering:
- Teach in a public school system
- Work in administration for an educational institution
- Work for a TEFL training company
- Start your own school, academy, or language learning business
- Move into management or senior teaching position
- Work with an organization or non-profit that provides resources for immigrants and refugees
3. Build up your CV
The more experience you have, the better chance you have of securing a coveted role teaching English abroad long-term. Experience may be measured in the number of years you’ve taught English and a variety of jobs you’ve had, but there are plenty of other ways you can boost your CV and become more competitive in the field.
One step you can take now is furthering your education. You can complete courses that certify you to train students for certain English exams, in specific areas such as legal or business English, and continue gaining accolades that help your CV shine. You may also consider getting a master’s degree in education.
Another way to stand out is to conduct research in the field of education. Writing and becoming published on the topic of education is sure to help your resume stand out among applicants. If you are inexperienced in this area, writing a blog, sharing your English teaching materials, and creating a name for yourself in the field are additional ideas for expanding your TEFL horizons.
Aside from creating a dazzling CV, networking is another important way to move toward a career. This is especially true if you plan to make a home for yourself in a new country. Connections are important in any field, but those of us who hope to work in a foreign country has the added obstacle of having to create a new inner circle from scratch.
Meeting others in your field can help you learn of new opportunities and stay in the loop on openings in your community. This networking is worthwhile, as you never know when you may need a helping hand with the many factors that go into transitioning to a long-term career.
5. Transition to a Long-Term Role
Once you’ve put the time and effort into gaining experience, planning, creating a CV, and networking, you are likely ready to make the transition to a long-term role.
Whether you are moving from a temporary position to a more advanced role or starting your own business, you’ll need to make sure you give yourself enough time to transition smoothly. This is an exciting time in your career, so make some time to celebrate your success in the TEFL field as well!
6. Work Toward the Future
At this point, you’ve officially made TEFL into your career! Important things to consider in this stage are saving money and setting yourself up for the future.
This means creating a retirement plan that makes sense with your income, country of residence, and other life circumstances. You’ll also want to make sure your residency in your new country is secured to minimize paperwork and allow for ease during your inevitable future travels!
Just like any other career path, you will inevitably face some challenges when pursuing a career. These steps are meant to provide a blueprint and show you that if you work hard, you can find a path in the TEFL industry that is right for you. With a bit of research, planning, and networking, you’ll map out your own path to success according to your specific circumstances.
Everyone’s road to a career in TEFL will look different, but we hope these steps give you an idea of the journey and help you get started toward it.