Just use the comment form below and either check back here – or leave your email address and I will be happy to get back with you.

IF you use your email address, write it like this (so SPAM robots can’t use it):  youraddress [space] @ [space]

Let me know if I can be of any help.



  • By Chris, August 25, 2009 @ 3:18 AM

    I am an engineer and thinking seriously of changing careers and getting certified to teach English abroad. I am very interested in the CELTA certification. If I did that next Spring, how long could I expect to have to wait to get my first job? I currently have a BS in civil engineering, some teaching experience while in college (late 90’s), but none after. Thanks.

  • By Ted, August 25, 2009 @ 7:28 AM

    Hi Chris,

    A CELTA and/or any good TEFL Certification will do a lot to help you land the job you want faster – and usually will put you at the top of the list. Even if it is not required it shows that you are interested in doing a quality job. And that says a lot to a potential employer!

    You asked, “…how long could I expect to have to wait to get my first job?”

    The answer to that depends a lot on where you want to teach and even who you want to teach. If you want to teach in Korea or China – you can probably sign a contract within days. If you have something very specific in mind it might take a bit longer.

    For example, if you want to teach at a resort on a tropical island – your job search should be more detailed and take a bit longer . . .

    By the above, I mean what country and what kind of setting (university, preschool, language school, secondary school).

    I would encourage you to read these webpages to help you sharpen your focus:


    Plese feel free to contact me and ask more questions. Happy to help if I can.



  • By Chris, August 25, 2009 @ 6:41 PM

    I think I’d like to try eastern Europe (maybe Czech, Poland, or Hungary), but I’m not totally opposed to Asia. I know there are TEFL schools in those countries, but would you recommend getting certified in the country I would want to teach in or here in the US, then moving to the country?

  • By Ted, August 25, 2009 @ 7:05 PM

    Hi Chris,
    It is almost always better to take your TEFL training in the country in which you first intend to teach. Many reasons, but the most important ones are that you will do your observed teaching practice with students similar to those you will teach on the job. It just gives you a leg up on the competition especially if you need to give a demonstration lesson. It also helps you solve some problems that are often unique to a specific country. I’ve taught EFL in four countries and each had its own unique grammar and pronunciation problems.
    Once you have some experience it gets easier to solve them, but doing your training with students with those problems will help you get up to speed much faster.
    This is a topic I will address in detail soon over at:

  • By Chris, August 25, 2009 @ 10:21 PM

    Do you know anything about the Caledonian School in Prague? They have a guaranteed job offer if you pass with a high enough grade. They also offer corporate English courses for local businesses, which might be a good place to be able to put my engineering background to use.

  • By Ted, August 26, 2009 @ 4:20 AM

    Hi Chris,
    I am usually wary of schools that offer “guaranteed” employment as the guaranteed jobs are often paid less than if you had obtained a similar job yourself, thus you are paying for the job by virtue of getting a lower income. And some schools will be getting a “kick back” for providing you at a lower wage. BUT, with the program you describe if the placement is dependent on your good performance on the course, then it might actually be okay. I am not familiar with that specific school though. Use the free checklists offered at to help you evaluate the program and you should do okay.

  • By Tara Benwell, October 2, 2009 @ 4:48 AM

    Congratulations, Ted!
    TEFL Newbie was selected as’s Site of the Month for October 2009. We have featured your site with a short review at There are award badges available if you want one for your new site. As a Site of the Month you will also be eligible for our 2009 Site of the Year award.

    Tara Benwell

    Awards Editor

  • By susan, October 23, 2009 @ 12:40 AM

    Hi Ted

    Both my partner and I are TEFL newbies. I have extensive medical terminology & administration experience. My partner has business degree and worked within blue-chip companies (software programmes & communications). Our first place of choice would be Thailand, as we regularly holiday there and love the Khao Lak area. In your opinion would it be possible to teach in these areas in Southern Thailand or would we have to head to major cities?

    Any advice would be welcomed and many thanks for this site. Susan

  • By Ted, October 23, 2009 @ 6:53 AM

    Hello Susan,
    There will be some jobs in the Khao Lak area – check places like the new JWMarriott that is opening soon on Khuk Khak Beach, possibly the LeMeridien, Ramada, LaFlora, etc. If you want to teach within the areas of your previous specialties, then yes, you would probably need to head for a large urban area. There are plenty of jobs in Southern Thailand, but as with all of Thailand you pretty much have to interview face-to-face to get the decent jobs. That means you need to be on the scene and visit places personally. Generally five star resorts offer the better opportunities as lower level resorts are not quite as concerned about the quality of interaction with their guests. I hope that helps.

  • By Falcon, November 3, 2009 @ 5:36 PM

    I am very interested in learning more about teaching English abroad. Does this site offer free certifications? What are the best qualifications to attain to get better positions in countries like China? I only have a two year degree, can this be a problem?

    I thank you in advance and I appreciate any and all information on this matter.


  • By Ted, November 4, 2009 @ 4:50 AM

    Hi Falcon, TEFL Teacher Training doesn’t offer free training certifications and anything free is probably worth about what you paid for it. The best qualifications to land the better jobs in China and other countries are generally going to be a degree AND a TEFL certification. Add a bit of experience and you can usually find a good job just about anywhere in the world. You are correct, a two-year degree will usually not qualify you for positions that require a degree. Employers are generally asking for a BA/BS type degree. I hope that helps clarify things. Regards,

  • By Rosie, January 17, 2010 @ 6:29 PM

    I wanted to ask your advice…my husband is a secondary science teacher in the UK (head of department)We really like the idea of living abroad. The chances of getting a job with SCE does not look very high, they must have so many applications. So as well as looking into that, we wondered about TEFL…is this realistic for supporting a family? We have two children. Or is TEFL more for a single lifestyle? We would look at being abroad for the long term really. I don’t really want to go uprooting the family just for two years… I would really appreciate your advice. Thanks!

  • By Ted, January 18, 2010 @ 8:48 AM

    Hi Rosie,
    Unless one of you has a relevant graduate degree and are qualified to teach in the Middle East, where wages are high and some schools will pay for the education of your children, TEFL is probably not a good path for you. BUT . . . my understanding is that there is a real shortage of math and science teachers in international schools. Don’t assume that your husband can not land a good job at such a school. AND, the better international schools usually provide free or greatly reduced tuition for their teacher’s children. Two year contracts are the norm for international schools, but that doesn’t mean you can renew every two years for an indefinite stay. Most TEFL jobs are one-year contracts, but I have stay 3-5 years at several places. Take a look at for good information about teaching in international schools. You will have to pay a bit to join up if you want placement, but they are pretty much #1 in the world at what they do.

  • By Mikel, January 20, 2010 @ 6:06 AM

    Hi Ted,
    I stumbled on this site while researching ESL teaching opportunities. This site is great Thank you for providing this information. I would love some advice and assitance about teaching overseas. I have a B.S. in Economics with some Business and accounting too. I have 2+ years as a substitute teacher here in the states.

    I would like to know how I might leverage this background for better opportunities in China/Korea/ or wherever they may exist.
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  • By Ted, January 20, 2010 @ 9:41 AM

    Hi Mikel,
    Super good question and indeed one that every new EFL teacher should ask before they start their job search. The best reference I can give you is here: Your Special TEFL Skills. Read that and by the time you finish that very short page – you will already have new ideas bubbling through your head about maximizing your job search. Go get ’em!
    Best Wishes, Ted

  • By vincent Grant, February 12, 2010 @ 5:54 AM

    Thank you so much I as worried because I am a black male and taking my first steps towards my dream of working abroad. I was worried that my colour may hinder my proress however after reading your information I feel back on track.

    Keep up the good working you are making a difference to peoples lives, and that’s magic. : )

  • By Ted, February 12, 2010 @ 9:21 AM

    Hi Vincent,
    The best strategy for anyone who is not the young white stereotype that many schools have in mind is to apply in person. While landing a job may take you a bit more time – you do want to avoid the overtly racist ageist sexist anything-ist type employers anyway.
    Some countries are more liberal than others and many change over time to become more flexible, partly because they finally come to realize that by not hiring the VERY best people they can get – regardless or irrelevant factors – they are doing a great disservice to their students.
    I’ve seen schools turn down some extraordinarily talented people for such reasons and I pity their students. No doubt those teachers will still find a decent job, but those students may not end up with a decent teacher.

  • By Kara, February 18, 2010 @ 1:58 PM

    Hi Ted!
    Thank you so much for all of the information. I am looking into teaching English abroad (of course!). I graduated last year with a Master of Arts in Teaching. I’m looking for information about teaching in the Middle East, as paying off my student loans sounds like a very enticing idea, and I do like challenges.
    I have a few questions for you. First, would I be qualified to teach at a university in the Middle East if I were to be TEFL or Celta certified (but without a Master’s in TEFL)? (And if so, where can I look to find those job opportunities?). Second, are there areas or countries in the Middle East in which it would be more acceptable to be a young woman living on her own?

    Thank you for any advice you might have.

  • By Ted, February 18, 2010 @ 2:55 PM

    Hi Kara,
    With an MA in Teaching and a TEFL certification I would think that you would qualify to teach just about anywhere. However, most countries in the Middle East will require at least a couple years experience. Students in that part of the world can be “difficult” to say the least and schools like teachers that are a bit seasoned and able to deal with the problems that come up. UAE is one of the more liberal countries though your school will probably decide where you live as it will likely be a part of your employment package and you’ll not likely be “a young woman living on her own” – you’ll probably be in a compound of some sort.
    For starters get the TEFL Certification and head to Korea where you can also probably land a university job and save almost as much money but without the difficultly of Middle Eastern cultures. Once you have a few years experience and if you want to save even a bit more (but probably get less paid time off) then head to the Middle East.
    Just my opinion.

  • By Kara, February 21, 2010 @ 1:42 PM

    Hi Ted,

    Thank you for the suggestions. The past few days, I’ve been looking into teaching in Korea. Do you know of a good place to look for university positions? I’ve been searching individual university websites, but only a few of them list career opportunities. Thank you!


  • By Ted, February 21, 2010 @ 4:11 PM

    Hi Kara,
    I’m not sure that any one specific website has a good comprehensive overview of Korean university positions. I’ve worked at two full time and another two part-time or summer work and I got all of those positions either through personal contacts or direct contact with the school. Were I looking for a job in Korea right now I would likely send my Resume/CV off to Director, English Department, University Address and it would most likely find the person you want. I’d probably follow that up with a phone call or personal visit. But that is just how I tend to do it. A good Google search would find you a good list of universities and their postal addresses. You are, however, a bit late in the season as the semester starts shortly. Great way to save good money!
    Good luck!

  • By Dave, May 5, 2010 @ 1:39 AM

    Hi Ted,
    Great information, clear, concise…. Thank you.
    Here’s my question. I understand 100 hour+ course and in class practical is the way to go. I’ve taught courses at the college level before here in the USA. Although, not teaching English. Can that time in class be used to “replace” the advantages of the 6+ hour pratical instruction in teaching English?

    Thank you again!

  • By Ted, May 5, 2010 @ 12:39 PM

    Hi Dave,
    The six hours of observed teaching practice is really critical. Teaching English speaking skills is different from teaching any other topic. Partly because it is not just a “topic” – it is an applied skill. A bit like driving or swimming. Just my opinion – but it would be well worth your time to do the six hours of observed teaching practice.

  • By Dave, May 5, 2010 @ 11:06 PM

    Hi Ted,
    I concur. I’ve taught a few courses where the applied skills were important.

    I am not in a position to stop for 4 weeks and take a course. That being said, it appears I need to identify a few courses where I can manage the time and financial commitment to include the 6 hour practicum. I see a few “combined” courses where they somehow offer a practicum or those thru Oxford that offer a peer practicum. I did check the colleges in town as well as the community college. None offered the certification. Any advice would be appreciated.


  • By Ted, May 6, 2010 @ 8:50 AM

    Hi Dave,
    Not everyone can afford to take the four weeks without pay required to take such a course. And the combined courses are sometimes difficult to coordinate, as you have seen. In your situation it is probably best to just take a good online course and get yourself overseas teaching and then look at getting an in-classroom course with teaching practicum during a paid vacation from your college/university position. Lots of people do it that way. More affordable. Online courses are accepted in many countries and can help you qualify for college/university type positions in China.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Dave, May 6, 2010 @ 11:53 PM

    Hey Ted,
    That helps a great deal. I am most definitely a newbie in this arena! The shear amount of websites, information, forums etc. are keeping me a bit unbalanced. The further I dig into the courses, the regions and separating the sales pitch from what is required, I am getting my sea legs quickly!
    Your timely responses are at times focusing my thoughts and other times confirming. So thank you! I did reach a similar conclusion about taking an online course and following up with a course overseas. With the plethora of jobs only requiring a BA or BS degree, and some of the cram schools I found that have a somewhat strict curriculum, I figured I could arrange follow-up training in country or in region.
    I’ve be researching Taiwan schools, forums etc and find that area to be a nice mix for a new overseas teacher. Ok pay combined with a low cost of living.
    Being a newbie teaching English, but a 25 year veteran of being in business, what challenges would I face teaching Business English? Or would a newbie be best teaching younger students?
    I do have questions!

  • By Ted, May 7, 2010 @ 9:46 AM

    I’ve always enjoyed teaching Business English. If you have a strong background in business, do it as you will probably find it more interesting than standard English classes. Two good resources: and TWO possible issues for teachers of Business English: Your students are often tired at the end of the work day and don’t always look forward to your class AND you have to teach around their work schedule, which often means early morning and evening classes. Not a big deal if you are enjoying yourself.

  • By sonia puri, May 31, 2010 @ 6:45 PM


    I am a newbie , but i have finished my degree – and am now thinking about teaching abroad for a year.
    I have GCSE English and Alevel English qualification , i know i should have a TEFL qualification to earn decent money . How much doo you earn per month approx , i am planning to go abroad.
    Will i be able to find a job teaching english for 1 year ?? My email is soniapuri _ 697 @

    thanks, sonia

  • By Ted, June 2, 2010 @ 9:07 AM

    Hi Sonia,
    How much you earn depends on the country in which you are teaching. Teaching English in almost every country will have you earning about what the average person earns and sometimes 3-4 times as much. The REAL question might best be, “How much can I save per month” – as earnings are relative to the benefits you earn (free accommodation, air tickets, etc) and the cost of living where you work. AND – that all depends on what country in which you work. In China, for example, with a good package, you can save US$2-400 per month, in Korea it is easy to save US$1000 per month.
    I hope that helps!

  • By Andrew, June 25, 2010 @ 11:32 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m Andrew Dunkle and I currently serve as the senior editor of We are contacting you with regard to your blog, which the editorial staff at GO! Overseas has selected as one of the top blogs related to teaching abroad. As recognition of your outstanding writing skills we are delighted to include your blog in a select list of websites covering the ESL industry. We select only the most exceptional blogs that meet our exacting standards and we hope you feel a sense of pride that you have been recognized for your efforts. You may view this list on our website here:

    On that page you will find an image badge that we have created specifically for the teaching blogs we feature. We welcome you to display this badge on your website to let your readers know that you have been recognized as an outstanding blogger. Note: If you have problems downloading the image, just follow up with me and I will send it to you as an attachment.

    Thank you for all the high quality content you have contributed to the global online community. We look forward to continuing to read your stories. If you have questions about GO! Overseas please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Warm regards,
    Andrew Dunkle

  • By Richard, July 13, 2010 @ 11:45 PM

    Hi Ted. Looking to go to Mexico after a great year of ESL in Korea. Open to anything, but was thinking either Mexico City area or the Yucatan and Quintana Roo areas. I’m also interested in doing business English since it would be a new challenge and open up more opportunities. I speak Spanish at an upper-intermediate level too:) How can I succeed at getting a contract in Mexico next? Thanks.

  • By Ahmad, July 14, 2010 @ 12:03 AM

    I am from Indonesia with many experiences in teaching English, both as a lecturer for English subject and a writer for English book particularly academic writing. Is it possible to me to be able to teach English in thailand or vietnam?

  • By Ted, July 14, 2010 @ 10:18 AM

    Hi Richard,
    To the best of my knowledge, Mexico hires on the scene, so you will need to go there to land that job you want. How to succeed and beat out the competition? Look into getting a Business English Certification. That plus your experience and degree should put you well in front of the pack in Mexico where many teachers don’t have degrees or any sort of TEFL training. And, of course, dress, groom and present yourself and your resume in a very professional manner! Go get ’em! Enjoy, Ted

  • By Ted, July 14, 2010 @ 10:21 AM

    Hi Ahmad,
    I am not sure about Vietnam, but Thailand certainly is more liberal than most countries at accepting fluent speakers of English who are not “native speakers” I would recommend getting your start there and then perhaps visiting Vietnam on vacation sometime and asking about to see if you generate interest. Good Luck! Ted

  • By Kenny, August 4, 2010 @ 3:16 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m not sure I agree with your comment that Thailand is very liberal in accepting non-whites as EFL teachers. I’m from Singapore where English is my “native” or first language. I’m of chinese descent. I completed a TESOL course sometime in mid July and since then I have been actively looking for an EFL position in Thailand to no avail. Most of them want applicants from certain western countries, or simply be a white caucasian. I’m thinking that they should be more accepting of me since I’m of chinese descent and look similar to of the Thai-Chinese, yet I have not landed even one interview yet. This is outrageous.

  • By edward robinson, August 5, 2010 @ 9:59 PM

    Hi Ted:

    I stumbled upon your website by accident and am glad I did. I am a 52 year old librarian with a law degree and prior teaching abroad experience with the Peace Corps. Last year I found myself out of work and decided to get a TEFL certificate from Oxford. I was happy with the ESL program and it was a great refresher. I have applied for a number of TEFL jobs in China, Korea, Africa, and Latin America with no success. I am thinking about travelling to a region where I would like to work. Do you have any suggestions?

  • By Vicki, August 6, 2010 @ 4:29 AM

    Hi Ted,
    I have just recieved my Business English Diploma from World -Tesol College online Certification Coure Program. I am interested in teaching English in either New Zealand, France or Italy. I am still corresponding with th school I took the course with. It is just that the dates they keep telling me keep bein pushed back an dnow I have no dates and only further delayed emails. I need your advice on what to do now. Should I pursue getting my job by myself? They told me not to contact the schools myself for a job thatthey would do al the correspondence and secure my visas, work perits, flight and accomodations but I am now a month later doubting their sincerity and am very anxious and in dire need to secure a job ASAP. Please offer some advice on what should be my next steps and hwat is the best way to secure a job. Thank you, my email is: Sincere Regards, Vicki~

  • By Ted, August 9, 2010 @ 2:29 PM

    Hi Kenny,
    I am not sure that I have ever said that Thailand is “Very Liberal” – but I do think they are MORE liberal than most other countries. Are you personally visiting schools? Cold calling works best in Thailand rather than trying to arrange things through email. You also – right now – are looking for jobs smack in the middle of the semester. Semesters start in Thailand in late October/early November and in May. Don’t wait to land an interview – go to the school and knock on the door. Be ready to do a demonstration lesson – or at least ASK to do one and KNOCK THEIR SOCKS OFF with it. Yes, racism is out there – but Thailand is probably one of the easiest places to deal with it.

  • By Ted, August 9, 2010 @ 2:35 PM

    Hi Vicki,
    You are probably better off to pursue a job yourself rather than relying on any school to find you a job. But, I am not sure that you have done your research. Do you realize that as an American you will have great difficulty getting a work permit as an English teacher in the EU (France or Italy). They must first prove they can’t find anyone from the EU and with high unemployment in the UK and Ireland – that is going to be hard to do. Everybody in New Zealand speaks English. Why would they have you come from across the world to teach there? Certainly people study English there, but there are lots of people locally who would like those jobs. Try Asia or Latin America and you’ll likely have MUCH more success.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Ted, August 9, 2010 @ 2:37 PM

    Hi Edward,
    Applying for jobs in person is the best way for us older folks to land a job teaching English and to get around the ageism that exists in the industry. But you aren’t all that old yet! Send me your details if you are still interested in China – if you have not yet landed a job – and I may be able connect you with one. No promises, I haven’t seen your details, but give it a shot!

  • By warren, August 24, 2010 @ 12:20 AM

    Teaching English in Asia interests me. I hold an BA in speech and an MA in speech communication. I taught English speech and writing at a junior college for 4 years. My entire career involved teaching people about leading edge finance as a lawyer and consultant. MY BIG CONCERN: I am 61. I have investigated the Cambridge course on teaching English as a second language. I am willing to pursue it. BUT: at my age, will I find that I’ll not make back the cost of the certificate?

  • By Ted, August 24, 2010 @ 6:49 AM

    Hello Warren,
    With your combined experience and education, you don’t really need a full-blown CELTA or similar. A short online course would be fine for you and you will be competitive in the jobs market. The only reason you need a course at all is to familiarize yourself with the methodologies that language schools or even universities will expect you to apply when teaching courses for them.
    Go for it!

  • By Bob, October 18, 2010 @ 7:46 AM

    Ted, I love your site. My question: I am 61 years old with 20 years of teaching experience and a M.A. in TESOL. I am interested in the Gulf States of the Middle East.Do I have to tell my recruiter my age? I was told by one teacher when I was in Kuwait teaching not to bring it up. What do you say?

  • By Ted, October 18, 2010 @ 8:54 AM

    Hi Bob,
    Many countries have specific ages beyond which they won’t grant a working visa to a teacher. And any recruiter worth their salt is going to ask you for a scan of your passport at some point and certainly your potential employer will want to see your passport scan to know with whom they are dealing, no? Why not just be upfront about it? It is far better to find out at the very start of the process that your age is going to disqualify you, than to work with someone for several weeks or a month only to be told it isn’t going to work. You are only setting yourself up for disappointment. I have the same problem, but I don’t intend to bloody my head banging it against it. Seek employment in countries where there is not a legal age limit using strategies that maximize you and your skills. I have addressed this issue in a blog post that will be published on this site on October 28th. The post focuses more on how to find and land the jobs we want, even though we are a little older than most TEFL candidates. You can’t see the post yet, but if you would like to see it before the 28th – send me an email and I will send it to you.

  • By cindy, October 20, 2010 @ 11:04 PM

    Hi Ted,
    Great site! I’m heading out on my rtw one year from now. I’m planning on a 1-2 trip. I would like to get a TEFL certificate under my belt just in case an opportunity arises. I have a AA in Liberal Arts (yeah I know but it’s something) and I was wondering which certificate I should go for. Also, who would you recommend? Are online courses ok or should I attend a class? Sorry, I’m sure all these answers are in your site but can’t check it all out at this moment. Keep up the great work!
    Thanks, Cindy

  • By Ted, October 21, 2010 @ 7:55 AM

    Hi Cindy,
    If your intent is to teach casually here and there for short periods of time and if your pockets are not overflowing with money (or you want to save that money for your RTW living expenses) then a good online TEFL certification is fine. Of course, if you have the money and the time, a good four-to-six-week in-classroom TEFL course is pretty much the ideal way to do it – particularly if you intend to make a career of it. Either way, you might look into picking up something like a young learners type certification as schools often don’t feel that you need a degree to teach a three- or four-year-old child how to dance and sing in English (I don’t either!). I hope that helps! Ted

  • By Kenneth Hancock, November 13, 2010 @ 7:45 AM

    I graduated with a BA in Liberal studies this May. I am 60 and pretty perkie yet. I moved from Montana to Vancouver, Wa. to take a 100 hr. TESL certification from LCC in Portland. The class was cancelled. I realize the age issue is big and I’m a late starter. I still think the TESL certificate would be a good thing though the next class is not until January. They say they guarantee placement but I don’t think a low paying job with high expenses will be helpful. That is one of my motivations for looking at Korea. Showing up there is not an option at this time. Any thoughts on the TEFL certification etc. would be greatly appreciated.

  • By Ted, November 13, 2010 @ 3:22 PM

    Hi Kenneth,
    Age discrimination becomes a problem for English teachers overseas sometimes even as early as 40-45 years of age. About 60, you start having some real problems. So . . . if you are asking my thoughts about TEFL certification – I would say that anything and everything you can get on your side to make you a stronger candidate is a MUST. If you can’t arrive on the scene, it will be more difficult to land a position from abroad. Korea is a good option if you want to save some money – something many of us older folks are careful about doing. Good Luck!

  • By Brandon Babcock, November 17, 2010 @ 2:59 AM

    My name is Brandon. I am currently working in Iraq as a contractor and the contract out here will be ending soon. Probably in the summer. I do not have a degree or a TEFL. I am 28 years old. My cousin is teaching in Korea and loves it. I would love to teach in China. I have traveled all over the world and saw an add for teaching in China while I was on vacation in Thailand. Now that the contract will be ending I want to stay overseas and this sounds exciting. Can you help point me in a solid direction for this? I have the ability to attend classes for getting my certification after the contract ends. Are there any schools that you would recomend? Because this is someting I have never done, what are some other questions I should be asking?

    Thank you for your help

  • By Ted, November 17, 2010 @ 9:05 AM

    Hello Brandon,
    There are still a few jobs – very few – in China that you can obtain legal working papers without a degree – but do get yourself a TEFL certification as that will make a big difference too.
    Good questions to ask? Check out TEFL Daddy for just about all the questions you should ask (about 94 of them!).
    I hope that helps.

  • By Kelly, November 25, 2010 @ 11:14 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I am a single, American woman, aged 41. As I have finally realized where my true passion lies (teaching) I am quitting my job as a lawyer to become a TEFL teacher. My plan is to take a CELTA course in Budapest in March 2011, then formally begin my job hunt. I do have a 16 year old daughter, and I plan to put her on independent study and bring her along. She wants to go to Japan, since she’s studying Japanese, while I prefer Central Europe. Her dad is sadly not very open to me taking her to Korea or China, so in the interest of avoiding a battle, I have agreed to take those destinations off the list.

    I saw a posting about taking children abroad not working out well, but assuming I don’t need to worry about educating her, my main concern is whether or not I will be able to feed and house her on a TEFL salary?? Fortunately, she’s about as low maintenance as a teenage girl can be.

    Any advice, guidance, etc., you can give me would be most appreciated! I don’t want to go into this with any unreasonable expectations. I do have some money socked away to supplement my income, but not a lot.


  • By Ted, November 25, 2010 @ 1:30 PM

    Hi Kelly,
    As an American it is going to be very difficult to obtain legal working papers as a teacher of English in the EU. So – Japan might be your best option. Teachers don’t make much in Japan. The wages are about the same now as they were in the early 1990s. Japan is not as expensive as it once was, but I do think you will have difficulty housing and feeding two on an English teacher’s salary. HOWEVER, go take a look at this: Teach English with your Special Skills and shape your job search accordingly. DON’T start looking for just any old English teaching job. You have a special skill and a special education, search for employment related to it. AND – you will be happily surprised that lawyers are viewed much more positively in Asia than in the USA. My biggest concern would be finding an employer who will also sponsor your daughter’s visa. A college or university would be more likely to do that than a language school and, frankly, you’ll be more able to land one of those in China, Korea or Thailand. I think a university position would be difficult to land in Japan (they prefer Japanese language skills – something the other countries won’t ask for). So . . . lots of things to sort out.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Ben, November 30, 2010 @ 5:45 PM

    Hello Ted. Excellent blog and resource, thank you for your work!

    I am very aware that a BA or better is a huge asset in addition to the TEFL Certificate when it comes to job prospects and remuneration, however I’m not looking to further my education in that capacity. But teaching children and (eventually) a modest income of around $1000/month is where my goals lie anyway, and I’m wondering if you think that’s attainable with TEFL Certification and an Early Childhood Education Certificate to take the sting out of not having a degree.

    Also, I would like to have your advice on something else as I am conflicted between two choices. I am considering either taking an in-class TEFL Certificate at an international location then applying to the most competitive markets; or an online course, then trying my hand at a lower paying paying position in a less competitive area of the world to get my feet wet. For the record I am 22.

    P.S. I assume {a specific course} is the most reputable place for online certification, but if you feel otherwise please recommend.

    Best regards,

  • By Ted, December 1, 2010 @ 9:58 AM

    Hello Ben,
    Reducing your desire for income does not really substitute for the required degree. Most schools request a degree as it is a requirement of the immigration department or Ministry of Education/Labor for your legal working papers – not just a whim on their part. Regardless of how much you wish to earn you will need to head to the few – and growing fewer – countries that will grant legal working papers to people without degrees. My recommendations: Cambodia and Indonesia. My opinion for an online TEFL certification? TEFL Boot Camp of course! I am the Academic Director there.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Ashley, December 3, 2010 @ 4:18 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m an 18 year old American girl, and I started my first semester of college back in August. I’ve always been interested in teaching, probably since I was seven years old, and the desire to become a teacher has only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older. A few years back, I also thought about teaching English in a foreign country, as I love languages and cultures, but I never knew it was an actual career path available, and so I filed the thought away with the rest of my impossible dreams. About a month or so ago, though, I stumbled across a website and learned about the TEFL program. It was like everything clicked, and I knew that it was something I wanted.

    I brought myself back to reality, though, by the end of the night, and started doing some research. I chose a country I was interested in during my research because it was a country who’s language and culture I was already interested in. After a bit of research I found that Korea was actually one of the destinations often recommended to TEFL teachers who are looking to pay off debts.

    Of course I’ve run into the tales of terrible times, and while I haven’t completely dismissed them, I’ve taken them with a grain of salt, as, in my own personal opinion, anything negative on the internet should be taken, since the disgruntled tend to speak louder than those who are satisfied. I’ve read the last few days reading through every post on this blog when I had the free time. Almost everything I’ve read, both on this site and through my own research, seems to strengthen my decission that this is what I want for myself.

    I plan on finishing college, getting a BA in Liberal Arts, and then getting my teaching certification for here in the US, as this was my original plan, and it’s what I will end up doing if I don’t end up teaching abroad. After my qualifications are set up in the US, I hope to find a good TEFL certification program, though I’m still uncertain of which ones would be best. I’m almost positive that I want to make a career out of teaching overseas, though I figure that I won’t honestly know if this is the right path for me, no matter how solid my conviction, until I am actually working my way through it overseas. If that ends up to be the case, I will come home.

    During my Korea TEFL specified research I came across a few articals about the TALK program, which takes students with an AA/AS and has them teach at an Elementary school, while providing opportunities for them to experience Korean culture. I was wondering if you would recommend doing something like this program, especially considering that Korea is where I would plan on teaching? Also, if you had any advice, it would be much appreciated.

    Thank you,


  • By Ted, December 3, 2010 @ 10:01 AM

    Hi Ashley,
    Yours is a wonderful scenario! I only wish I had know about all this when I was first in university. I would have headed overseas about 20 years earlier! Pretty much everything you have said is thoughtful and useful. I think the only thing I could add would be to to NOT do the TALK program and get yourself your BA/BS as fast as you can – AND – if you have the patience – get yourself a relevant graduate degree TOO even before you head out. The graduate degree will change your job options dramatically and all of a sudden you will be teaching at universities around the world for okay wages but LOTS of paid time off, usually free accommodation, airplane tickets and lots of other perks.
    Ask more questions if you wish – happy to help if I can.

  • By Tina, December 13, 2010 @ 11:41 PM

    Hi Ted, I’m new to your site and its been a great help for a newbie like me. I am 25 years old and I’m from India. I have a Bachelors in English & have been teaching Business English for the last 2 years. I just finished my CELTA in November.

    I want to get some international teaching experience and have been doing some research. This whole “native/non-native” debate is very depressing. I have been told by my CELTA tutors, even the so-called “native speakers”, that my command over the language is “native” but the whole bias in the job market is startling. The Middle East, I have learned, is more open to Indians but they usually require a masters degree, not to mention the restrictions their culture has for women.

    I was specifically looking at Vietnam but even prominent schools like ILA request native speakers. I like your idea of just showing up at the school and impressing them but financially its a big gamble for me.

    What advice would you have to offer me? Any pointers? Should I just give up on my desire to teach abroad?

  • By Ted, December 14, 2010 @ 7:53 AM

    Hello Tina,
    Probably the best advice would be to get that first job, no matter how. Don’t be picky about where it is, who you are teaching or what the wages are. Once you have some experience many more opportunities will present themselves. AND – I don’t know that I would rule out getting a graduate degree. I tend to recommend that for anyone who wants to make TEFL a long-term career anyway – native speaker or not.
    China has quite a few non-native speakers working there. But, again, it is easiest to land a job there once on the scene. Cambodia is another wide open market.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Richard Faraci, December 15, 2010 @ 11:59 AM

    Hi Ted;

    I had an opportunity to stay with a friend in South Korea. He is just finishing his first year teaching English and is planning on resigning. I had a chance to sit in on a few classes and fell in love with the entire concept of teaching kids English. I was thoroughly impressed with everything about the experience, from the culture, to the surroundings as well as the kids.
    I came back to the states and I still have the “fever” for doing this on my own. I am completely tired of the “day to day” rat race and have been researching heavily and decided on a TEFL course to take. I am ready to pay/start it this weekend. Here are my serious issues.
    I am 45 years old and have a job making good money, with 401k and other company perks. (ie. I was able to jet out to S. Korea for three weeks on paid vacation.)
    I also have no college degree. I realize that this limits the areas where I can teach.

    My question….Am I completely out of my mind?

    All of the sudden I feel like I need to teach kids the English Language. I think that it would be VERY rewarding personally to me. I also love the idea of learning a new culture, experiencing a foreign country and learning their language. There’s a huge world out there that I need to see andI think that I would be upset if I didn’t seize the chance while I’m still able to, or, maybe I missed that boat all together. Any advice you can give is certainly appreciated!


  • By Ted, December 15, 2010 @ 12:15 PM

    Hi Richard,
    Not having a degree certainly limits what you can do, in what countries you can teach and even how much you will earn. You will never land the best jobs and if you intend to follow this occupation into old age, the outlook for financial security is very limited, unless you are already well set for retirement. At 45, I don’t think you are very old – yet – and if you worked hard you can probably land a good and recognized bachelor’s degree within three years (you can fast track at places like University of Phoenix or similar). THAT would give you many more options and the ability to, perhaps as your friend is doing, save US$1000 a month or more in some countries to further secure your elder years. I am not optimistic about pursing TEFL without a degree unless you just want to try a year or two – somewhere like Cambodia – to see if you like it and then get to work on that degree. BUT – do be aware that once you break 50 – there is some ageism in TEFL and your options begin to diminish. After 60 – it becomes even more difficult (doable – but not as easy as 35ish agewise). There are options for even older teachers but they require some persistence and creativity.
    I hope that helps you with your plans.

  • By Cormac, December 22, 2010 @ 8:24 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Firstly I think this site is awesome and was badly in need of reading all this encouragement. i am 34 and have worked as an engineer for 10 years now. I earn descent money and am on the brink of handing in my notice to start a position in Korea. I don’t want to look at a PC all day anymore!!I won’t lie, the prospect really scares me. (not as much after reading this site ;-)) My question is….If I fell in love with a girl/country and wanted to settle down are there many opportunities to get long term or permanent contracts in any countries? If so where abouts? Thanks in advance and thanks for the badly needed inspiration.


  • By Ted, December 22, 2010 @ 9:39 AM

    Hi Cormac,
    There are certainly long-term possibilities, just about everywhere. Contracts though, do tend to be year-to-year though a few places you can get a two or three year contract. Where? Just about everywhere/anywhere that teachers are in demand. Pretty much if you do a good job and keep your employer happy they will keep you around.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Clark, December 25, 2010 @ 6:53 AM

    do think it matters whether the certification is done online or in a classroom setting?

    if you were starting off – would you got to thailand or south korea?

    thanks! happy holidays!

  • By Ted, December 28, 2010 @ 10:41 AM

    Hi Clark,
    GREAT questions and I will address them in an upcoming post. I will send you the text of the post shortly.

  • By Gemma, January 17, 2011 @ 3:53 AM

    Hi Ted
    I am interested in applying for a programme in South Korea. I will start the Cambridge CELTA in just over a month. I have a Master’s degree in Journalism, however, I completed this without having a BA.
    My HNC in Business Studies, and meetings with my University professors allowed me entrance onto the course. Would this lack of BA affect my application?
    Many Thanks

  • By Ted, January 17, 2011 @ 3:19 PM

    Hi Gemma,
    I suspect that having a master’s degree without a bachelor’s degree may be problematic. Your best would be to go ahead and apply directly to a few recruiters and let them find out for you. Some won’t bother, thus I suggest trying several. My guess is that you would still qualify, but schools, hiring authorities and recruiters are are not familiar with the idea of a masters without a bachelors will be wary of the validity of your degree and some will not follow through with you. This is often how people/systems respond when meeting with something that doesn’t fit in their familiar box.
    I suspect that is not what you were hoping to hear.

  • By Ron Quick, January 18, 2011 @ 9:04 PM

    I am very interested in teaching in Tailand.
    I do not have a degree however I am very well
    versed in the English language. I have worked in corp. America for over 25 years as a certified financial planner and raised three children who all have collage degrees. Can you show me where to start?
    Thank You,

    Ronald Quick (Tampa)

  • By Ted, January 19, 2011 @ 11:18 AM

    Hello Ron,
    Thailand will require a degree in order to obtain legal working papers. You will do better going to Cambodia and purchasing a business visa at the border for US$30 good for 30 days and then renewing it for a one-year validity. That’s all you will need there – lots of jobs.
    Go get ’em!

  • By julscb, January 20, 2011 @ 10:18 PM

    Hi- I would appreciate it if you could answer my questions. I have a bachelor’s degree in General Studies, previous overseas pre-k and elementary teaching experience in the Middle East and the US. I would like to go back to teaching overseas. I was wondering, would a Masters in Education or a TEFL certificate be more “attractive” to potential employers? I’m looking at long term teaching and probably at international schools in the Middle East or Asia. Or where/what would you recommend???
    Thanks alot.

  • By Ted, January 22, 2011 @ 9:23 AM

    Hello Julscb,
    For international schools, an MA would take you a lot further than a four-week TEFL certificate. There is a much deeper level of understanding provided in terms of how learning works that is very useful in terms of analyzing what you students will need. First tier international schools won’t be much interested in a TEFL certificate, but will quite like the MA.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Francisco Rodriguez, January 24, 2011 @ 9:57 AM

    Hi Ted, Thank God that a ran across your website; it is extremely helpful and informative. I am currently working on my double major in Psychology and Spanish and I will graduate in June of 2012. I have been seriously considering teaching abroad in Latin American countries, and especially Spain, for three years in order to pay off my student loans; and, of course, to experience the different cultures the region offers; however, you have mentioned South Korea as the best place to pay off student loans since the pay is high and the hours are not long. What about the fact that I will have my bachelors as well as a TEFL certificate? Will this increase my pay in Latin American countries? Sincerely, Francisco Rodriguez

  • By Ted, January 24, 2011 @ 10:38 AM

    Hi Francisco,
    Most Latin American countries pay well enough for you to live well on the local economy, but you won’t really be able to save much if anything at all to help pay of student loans. And BTW, as an American, you are going to have real difficulty landing legal working papers in Spain as they will have to take EU citizens first and both the UK and Ireland are suffering high unemployment rates right now. And Spain has an almost 20% unemployment rate right now, slowing down their ability to pay for language classes. That leaves the Latin America countries and they are known for paying poorly. Having a TEFL Cert and a degree? That helps but is no longer exceptional these days. Countries like Thailand already require both. The better jobs in China require both. A TEFL Cert is not currently required in Korea but will certainly help you be more competitive and land a better job. Without previous experience, it is quite unlikely that you will find anywhere in the world other than Korea that allows you to save US$1000 a month without struggling to do so. Just my opinion, but I live by it. Last time I needed to replenish the bank account, I went to Korea for three years (’02-’05).
    I hope that helps!

  • By Marge, January 24, 2011 @ 11:48 PM

    Hello Ted

    I have 2 questions.

    1. I completed my Trinity CertTESOL in the UK 10 years ago. (Had lived in Asia for 5 years and planned to return). Due to family reasons, was unable to move back abroad. During this time I ‘kept my hand in’ and did some sessional/part time classes in the UK. I now want to work abroad. I have also undertaken in house workshops and even an on line ‘refresher’ course. How would I construct a CV around this? i.e. I’m a ‘newbie’ but my certificate isn’t recent?

    2. I thought about doing short term contracts over the space of about 1 year i.e. 4 months in say 3 countries. Would I be best to apply in country?

    Thanks a lot. Great site.

  • By Ted, January 25, 2011 @ 9:57 AM

    Hi Marge,
    For your first question, I tend to put a section called Relevant Professional Experience at the job of the experience section of my CV/resume and that would be a way to separate out what is useful for an employer to know and see right away on your CV. Don’t present yourself as a “newbie” if in fact you have done some related teaching. That it wasn’t overseas – may or may not be perceived as being important. For #2 – I am not a big fan of short-term contracts as they usually meet the needs of the teacher and do very little for the schools/students involved. My personal opinion is that it takes even a skilled and experienced teacher a couple months to really get to know a school/culture/country/group of students and to become really effective. So . . . about the time you will become useful to a school, your thoughts will have already moved on to your next assignment and you will soon be gone. I realize that is a rather harsh view of short-term teaching, but it is what I have observed during my 20+ years abroad. I hope you don’t mind, but I think I will use this topic for a post to comment a bit more on the short-term issue.
    I hope what I have said helps at least a bit.

  • By Kai Bei Lerorone, January 25, 2011 @ 12:26 PM

    Hi Ted! I am a 37 yo graphic designer/photographer who wants to teach in Korea! I was TEFL certified several years ago in Prague and taught briefly there and in Barcelona. I currently living in NYC and would love a positive experience outside of the states. I’ve been to Hong Kong and Thailand and really enjoyed that part of the world. My only stumbling block is that I do not have a B.A. but instead a A.A. in communications plus a degree from an accredited art college two years back. Please tell me that there is a way (maybe life experience, work experience) that I could get employment in Korea preferably in one of the larger cities?

    Kai Bei

  • By Ted, January 25, 2011 @ 1:30 PM

    Hello Kai Bei,
    To the best of my knowledge a BA/BS degree is required. However, I did read a discussion once that some non-degree people can work in the very rural areas where they can usually place people. That will not be “one of the larger cities” though. You might check out this thread on Lonely Planet where someone claims to know something about these rural type programs. Here:
    I hope that helps.

  • By Becca, January 31, 2011 @ 1:04 AM


    I’m a 30 year old well-traveled woman who’s at a crossroads. I need some advice from someone that has taken chances in their life. Should I stay in Chicago and finish the last two years of my bachelor’s degree, so I can have more teaching choices? The other option is to teach in Indonesia with my associate’s degree and pursue my bachelor’s degree while there.

    The ideal situation would be to teach in Indonesia and pursue my bachelor’s degree part-time. Eventualy I would like to transition to Japan or S. Korea, but I know they will not accept an online degree. I’ve contacted a few state universities that have online programs and they assured me the degree wouldn’t mention online. I guess I’m just a bit paranoid because I don’t want to get my degree and be told it’s not good enough. I’m not considering any exclusively online universities, but only those connected with actual locations. What would you suggest?

    Here’s the plan:

    1. Focus on teaching in Indonesia for one year.
    2. File my U.S. tax return for my year in Indonesia.
    3. Apply for universities and fill out FAFSA.
    4. Qualify for more financial aid due to low earnings in Indonesia.
    5. Pursue my degree at a leisurely pace.

    I’ve suffered from wanderlust my whole life and the thought of being in Chicago another two years is too much. This is one of the coldest places I’ve ever lived in (metaphorically and physically). The happiest time of my life was living in Indonesia for two months. I knew my neighbors. I became part of the expat commmunity. I lived a healthier lifestyle.

  • By Ted, January 31, 2011 @ 2:14 PM

    Hello Beca,
    You answer your own question here if, in fact, you KNOW that Korea and Japan would not accept an online degree, but that you would eventually like to work in those countries. It is easy enough for someone to figure out your degree was online if your resume shows you were in a country/location other than where the college/university is located during the time you were “in school”. But . . . online or distance programs are becoming more accepted these days. If you were to take one, you would probably do best to take on where you might be required to attend in person for your examinations or at least a couple weeks per year. The general hesitation that some countries have with distance programs is that they want to be sure it was YOU who in fact earned the degree (there are people are people around who take examinations for other people as a profession).
    Be sure that you also understand that hanging out in Indonesia for two months, having a good time, is quite different from the day-to-day grind of making a living and paying one’s bills. I am sure you have considered that, but many people don’t!
    One caution also – that degree is pretty important and becoming even more important. Be careful that if you decide to pursue your program at a “leisurely pace” that you absolutely make sure that you do FINISH it. We all know many people who quit college after a year or two and just never finished up, much to their later regret. All that degree does is open more and more doors for you. If you don’t like Chicago – try Oklahoma – the friendliest people I ever met anywhere.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Madeline, February 7, 2011 @ 6:38 PM

    Hi Ted,
    Firstly thank you for this fantastic website. I do have a degree in English from a UK university, only it is over 15 years old now. Is that still ok?
    Many thanks

  • By Ted, February 8, 2011 @ 10:35 AM

    Hello Madeline,
    No problems. Fifteen years is as good as new. Get out there and chase your dreams. My M.Ed. is 35 years old – still accepted, still good.
    Good luck!

  • By Pauline, February 17, 2011 @ 1:50 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I have just turned 58. I have a top honours degree in English, ( UK Uni) a Masters with Distinction from a UK Uni ( also English) , a PGCE, also UK Uni, and I’ve had 18 years full-time, 10 years part-time ( recent) teaching experiencein the UK. I also worked for BBC Education on revision programmes for KS3 and 4. I want to teach English ( not TEFL) abroad. Where has no age restrictions?

  • By Ted, February 17, 2011 @ 11:53 AM

    Hi Pauline,
    Probably everywhere has some age restrictions, but you might try and think about teaching at a first tier international school where age discrimination is less likely. Teaching straight English is an option at many universities abroad as well. Best advice: read the post I wrote on dealing with age issues. Here is the URL for it:
    I hope that helps at least a bit!

  • By Theo, March 10, 2011 @ 5:17 PM

    Ted hi, if I go to Thailand to study for the TEFL certificate will I get a 12 month visa?

  • By Ted, March 11, 2011 @ 9:15 AM

    Hello Theo,
    I am not an expert on visa things for different countries, but I do know that when I was working for a TEFL Training school in Thailand that they helped people get one-year non-immigrant-B visas. You might check with any school that wants your business. Two good places to check out: TEFL Plus on Phuket and Text-and-Talk in Bangkok/Pattaya/Chiang Mai.
    Good luck!

  • By Greg Tonks, March 13, 2011 @ 10:12 AM

    Hello Ted!
    Congratulations on a wonerfulwebsite. It is a no nonsense information source and one that supports a clearer decision making process if waniting to TEFL teacher.
    I live in Australia and was born and raised here. I went to live in Europe for 15 years and returned to Australia 7 years ago. I like yourself like Australia alot, but once you have lived abroad for a period of time, you see a new version of the world and again once you have experienced that then it is very hard to go back to the old way of living in safe and expensive suburban land that many of us in the Western world have been enslaved to.
    I hold a EU passport and I am now seriously considering returning to Europe to teach English. I have no ties here in Australia and yearn for working and living in Europe again. I would like to go out of my comfort zone and teach/live in Italy or Spain or even France.
    Can you advise me of any reputable places in any of those countries I can actually study for my TEFL in those countries? Also I realise that your audience is aimed at the USA market but are the avenues for an Australian pretty much the same.
    Thankyou for all your shared information and I look forward to hearing from you some time soon.
    Best regards


  • By Ted, March 13, 2011 @ 11:08 AM

    Hi Greg,
    If you want to teach specifically in Europe, there is a strong preference for the CELTA course there. I know TEFL International has made some progress breaking into that market, but as we get older we also need to start to think about age discrimination (sometimes even at 35+ in TEFL!). So – if you have a choice of programs and can afford a CELTA, go that route. I would anyway. It often also works best to take your TEFL training – from whatever company – in the country in which you intend to teach. Your school should have lots of connections and employers will probably even be dropping by.
    Good Luck!

  • By Will Rogerson, March 16, 2011 @ 6:29 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m a 28 year-old Mancunian and to be honest I’m desperate to leave the UK and experience other cultures beyond what a one or two week holiday can offer. I’ve a love of English and a pretty good command of it. What I don’t have is a degree – I’m currently studying towards a BA History at the OU but that’s a few years off yet. My ideal destination is Japan but I’ve read that the lack of a degree would put paid to that.

    My questions are thus:

    1. Should I wait until I finish my degree – by which time I will be 32-33 (I guess I’m worried about age limiting my options) – or take the plunge and try to get a TEFL qualification and see where I can get with it, and

    2. Is there anywhere in Manchester you could recommend for part-time TEFL qualification? There are many many options offered on the interent but I’m worried about finding the right one.

    Thanks in advance.

  • By Ted, March 16, 2011 @ 2:01 PM

    Hi Will,
    My opinion will always be that you should finish your degree. Your job options will expand geometrically – from very few countries where you can work legally to more than you will know what to do with. And – be aware – countries often tighten their requirements and rarely loosen them. Thailand – for example – only a few years ago decided to require BOTH a degree and a TEFL certification, with the result that many teachers had to move on to elsewhere. Don’t worry about your age. I didn’t head overseas until I was 37 – you have plenty time. Why not go well prepared and ready to have the time of your life – rather than worrying about a job – and if you meet the requirements?
    Sorry, I can’t recommend a specific school in Manchester – but I will say that it is almost always in your best interest to take your TEFL training in the country in which you first intend to teach. You will then have practice with students with similar problems as those you will face on the job. Also – employers will often be dropping by looking for a few teachers. That won’t likely happen in Manchester.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Nick, April 7, 2011 @ 3:19 PM

    This is an amazing website. Before I even begin I want to thank you for your time. I am currently an air traffic controller in training. I’ve been doing this for over a year, and I still have a year to go until I’m fully certified. It’s a 6 figure job, and I’m in my mid-20’s. I’m extremely fortunate to have it. But I just don’t think it’s for me… It requires a certain kind of person, and I don’t want to be that kind of person. It also terrifies me. Literally hundreds of peoples’ lives are in my hands everyday and the weight of that responsibility takes its toll. I do have a degree, but it’s a BS in Air Traffic Management with a minor in Business. Ever since I studied in Europe over a summer in college, I’ve been hooked on the idea of living abroad. I have a more than a few countries in mind, and I even know some people who live there. If I had to choose between my job that will make me wealthy or the opportunity to experience living in a different country, I would choose the different country. But I’m really not sure where to start, and what difficulties lie ahead. How are my chances of teaching English abroad with an aeronautical degree? How does this whole process even work? Who would I be working for? Please email me. Thank you.

  • By Ted, April 7, 2011 @ 3:54 PM

    Hello Nick,
    Probably the best way to understand how to get started would be to read ALL of this website and also go see our sister website: TEFL Daddy Especially see this page: and think Aviation English. Also go over to TEFL Boot Camp and pick up the free ebooks on How to Teach English Abroad.
    Those things should give you a good start.

  • By Tori, April 17, 2011 @ 4:57 PM

    Hi Ted,
    Think I left my comment on the wrong page- sorry!
    Thank you for a great website- really useful advice.
    I have done a bit of English-teaching in Spain, and I want to go to South Korea to teach out there, with the aim of saving money. Do you think I will be able to teach for just 5 months, or do most employers insist on one year contracts?
    Keep up the good work- great to have someone to ask advice on, what for many, is a life-changing opportunity :)

  • By Ted, April 17, 2011 @ 5:19 PM

    Hello Tori,
    The great majority of employers in Korea are going to ask for a one-year contract. When you apply there you will see why. The employment/work visa process can be long and difficult. Your school will invest a fair amount of time and money getting you there and thus, will prefer a longer commitment.
    Not the answer you wanted perhaps!
    But I hope it helps.

  • By Amita Singh, April 19, 2011 @ 10:01 PM

    Dear Ted,

    I am strongly considering teaching English overseas. I have not registered for a TEFL course to get certified, do you have any recommendations which/where I should get certified (I am in Atlanta, GA)? There are so many online sites that offer getting the certification, but I don’t know which ones are worth the time and money and which ones are not. I want to get certified ASAP and start looking for employment. I am 35 with a Bachelor’s in Horticulture and am also pursuing a second Bachelor’s in Accounting. I don’t know if it’s too late for me to start doing this, but I feel that it’s something I need to do. If you could please email me whenever you get a chance that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!

  • By Ted, April 20, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    Hello Amita,
    You asked if it is “too late” for you to start working in TEFL, but you should know that my first TEFL job was at age 39 and I stayed at it until I was about 55. So – in my experience – you are just right! I work with TEFL Boot Camp for online TEFL Training – so I have a real bias. Take a look at it at: However, if you have the time – four to six weeks – and the money -US$1500-2800 – then an inclass TEFL training course is always preferable.
    Not too old!
    I hope that helps.

  • By Christine Lim, April 22, 2011 @ 7:24 AM

    Hi Ted! I’m so glad I discovered your blog and that you’re willing to answer questions in all your valuable expertise! I’m in my early 20s and I’m very interested in teaching in Brazil, but teaching permanently (or, at least for some time), rather than moving to a new location in about one to two years. Is that possible in a Latin or South American country like Brazil…do TEFL teachers stay permanently? If so, how would you go about securing a steady job for 5+ years? Any advice?
    Thank you very much for your time and help. I hope to hear from you soon!


  • By Ted, April 22, 2011 @ 2:54 PM

    Hello Christine,
    LOTS of EFL teachers have spent extended periods of time abroad – I am only one of many. Some stay permanently, but that is usually due to marriage or others find countries that allow you to stay long term.
    How do you secure long-term reliable employment? Make yourself valuable. I’ve stayed in two different countries five years or more and in one country three years twice (six years). Not difficult to do. Some good references: and and especially:
    I hope that helps!

  • By Margaretta, May 4, 2011 @ 6:55 PM

    Hello Ted

    This is a great site – really good advice!

    I completed my Trinity CertTESOL many years ago after living abroad, but then had to remain in the UK. Basically, I just ‘kept my hand in’ doing sessional Esol work – i.e. only 2 – 4 hours a week(and not continuously). I now want to work abroad, but I’m not sure what to put in my CV. I was advised not to class myself as a ‘newbie’ – but I don’t have full time experience. How would I get round this on my CV? I don’t want to mislead a prospective employer!

    Thanks for any advice.

  • By Ted, May 4, 2011 @ 6:59 PM

    Hello Margaretta,
    It is best to never misrepresent your experience or qualifications. If you have not taught before – make that clear. It won’t stop you from getting a job, but it might make a big difference to an employer and what classes they might assign to you when you first arrive. That doesn’t mean you have to say, “I am a complete NEWBIE.” Just state the experience you have an leave it at that. That is more than the majority of people looking for teaching jobs – so you will be just fine.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Amy, May 5, 2011 @ 7:47 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I have been seriously considering teaching in Thailand. I am already living oversease but although I spent many years studying and specializing in the history of my current country I find that I do not like the modern culture here. I also love the tropics and have found that living here is dispiriting for me due to the winters.

    I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and wanted to know if it would be possible to teach for a university there(preferably literature or history)? I would also be interested in teaching English if that was my only option.

    Also, I have to pay off student loans and cannot even afford to do that in my current country. I would like to have a better standard of living than I do here. Is it possible to make enough money in Thailand to live well within that country and pay off some debts? From what I can see I would probably be making more money as a teacher there than I am currently in the West anyway.

    I also love the sea and would like to live on the beach, in a house of my own, if possible. Would any of this actually be possible in Thailand? Sorry for all the questions but I have not been able to find out all these answers yet. Thanks in advance.

  • By Ted, May 6, 2011 @ 8:41 AM

    Hello Amy,
    You won’t likely be able to save any money in Thailand. You can live well on the local economy, but you certainly won’t be paying off any loans or debts. For that – Korea, Taiwan, China and Japan are probably your best bets. I would suggest the Middle East also – but you’ll need a couple years of experience first.

  • By Amy, May 6, 2011 @ 5:41 PM

    Hi again Ted,

    Thank you for your reply. You mention on your site that it would be better to go to Korea, save, and then attend a TEFL course in the country you are interested in (currently Thailand for me). After getting certified and working for a while, is it then possible to work anywhere in the world if you want to?

    I also have the opportunity to do a PhD but I am concerned about getting into more debt so I am considering either this or going back to university. I would like to work at university level, particularly in the fields of history or literature, so I wanted to know if anything like that generally comes available? How is the pay compared to working as an English teacher?

    Finally, I was interested in whether sexism might be a problem in any of the ‘newbie’ countries. I am a very unconventional woman even by US standards so I try to look before I leap, so to speak. Similarly, what are the dress rules/behavior rules for women at interviews, while teaching, etc and could you recommend a source for reading more on the subject? Most advice I read is directed towards men, which is normally not a problem, except that I get puzzled when I read that you ought to wear a suit and tie to the interview.

    Thanks so much again for your wonderful site!

  • By Ted, May 6, 2011 @ 5:42 PM

    Hello Amy,
    Yes, with a TEFL cert and a relevant graduate degree, you will be able to work just about anywhere. From that though – I would exclude the EU – but pretty much the rest of the world will be no problem. Wages of history teachers compared to EFL – about the same. Sexism? Yeah, there is some – schools tend to prefer females. It’s not fair!
    I hope that helps.

  • By Everett Ford, May 7, 2011 @ 10:01 AM

    Hi Ted,
    I have a two year degree and some additional classes at the university level. I don’t realy want to spend more money on completing a formal four year program. Do some of the countries that you have spoke about accept Life Experience Degrees?

    Very helpful Blog, thank you.

  • By Ted, May 7, 2011 @ 10:03 AM

    Hello Everett,
    Schools – or really countries – are becoming more careful about degrees. “Life experience” degrees are generally considered to be fakes and frauds. If you are only two years aware from a real degree – why not just get that? If money is the issue – life experience degrees tend to be expensive too – look for an inexpensive distance degree program.
    I hope that helps!

  • By Nick, May 11, 2011 @ 9:46 AM


    I am looking into the company dwi, based in Frankfurt. Their website says they are looking for “freelance” English teachers. What exactly does this mean? To me, it sounds like it is a contract where they don’t really help you out in the work visa department, and don’t pay for any relocation costs.

    What are your experiences or opinions of a company offering “freelance” work?

    I was also stumbled upon English First. I have a friend from Indonesia and English First has openings there. Do you know or have you heard anything about the reputation of English First?

    Thanks Ted,

  • By Ted, May 11, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    Hello Nick,
    Freelance means freelance – you work the assigned job, but don’t expect any assistance with anything. English First tends to have a good reputation, especially in Indonesia. They dominate the market there – in my opinion. BUT . . . the quality of certain individual schools? I don’t know. Ask to speak to a current AND past teacher at the school. If they are hesitant to provide that, you have your answer.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Jeannine, May 13, 2011 @ 1:57 AM

    Hi Ted:

    I have always had a secret fantasy of traveling and teaching English. I am a writer with many years of editorial experience, but no degree. If I could obtain only ONE of the following three: a BA, a TESOL/TEFL certificate or about 3 months of real world ESL classroom experience (I have an opportunity to be an ESL classroom volunteer this summer), which would be the most important? I don’t want to waste a year getting an online degree only to find out that I have to go back and get a TESOL, too. Also, I have a novel just about ready to publish – can that credential substitute for a degree? I am pretty flexible about where I will go to teach initially.


  • By Ted, May 13, 2011 @ 1:58 AM

    Hi Jeannine,
    Pick only one of the three? Get the degree. So many countries require them that without one, your options will be quite limited – TEFL cert or not. In some countries a TEFL cert is required, but in most they are not – but will help you get the better jobs. If you spend “a year getting an online degree” – I am not sure it is going to be worth much – or accepted. Online and distance is okay, but plan on at least 2-3 years of work for a decent program.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Jeannine, May 13, 2011 @ 2:37 AM

    After a bit more research I guess I should add that I am non-white (mixed race) which I’ve heard is a problem in some countries.

    Thanks again,

  • By Ted, May 13, 2011 @ 5:48 PM

    Hi again, Jeannine;
    To a large extent, if you don’t tell anyone, they won’t know and often, you might be surprised, they won’t care. Most of the world has figured out that America is a mix of peoples and shades. Don’t hide it, but don’t feel like you have to explain it either. And remember that you are an American – period. Hyphenated nationalities such Chinese-American or even African-American confuse most people outside the Western world and can lead them to wonder if you are native speaker or not – and that can stop your hire faster than anything else.
    Might you run into some prejudice? Yeah, sure. Just work your way around it. People over 50 have trouble landing jobs in TEFL also – there are lots little problems out the world, don’t let any of them stop you from getting what you want.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Joanna, May 15, 2011 @ 8:25 AM


    My husband and I are currently working with Adventure Teaching on an exclusive basis. Should we be working with multiple agencies or at least one more to ensure success in obtaining the desired positions, e.g.: Footprints? We are in our late 40’s.

    I would much appreciate your feedback.


  • By Ted, May 15, 2011 @ 9:03 AM

    Hello Joanna,
    Be aware that if you work with more than one recruiter, it is possible that several will present you to many schools and you will often be presented by several recruiters to one school. Schools then believe that you are scouting many schools just looking for money. They will take your interest as being less sincere and wonder if you will show up or are just looking for a better offer – thus leaving them without a teacher – and then they won’t even make an offer.
    So – my opinion – work with one recruiter only. One caveat though, if they don’t perform, then tell them forget it and work with someone else. Some recruiters are super – others are a disgrace.
    Good luck!

  • By Megan, May 17, 2011 @ 8:59 PM


    I would really like to live in the Middle East in the future, even though it is a bit chaotic now. I have my TESOL Certificate and have been working in Australia for 3 years in a volunteer orginization teaching English. What do you think the chances are for me to get a job in the Middle East. I would be looking at moving there with my Husband (Egyptian) so a visa wouldn’t be the problem. Is there much market for private language centers or private tutoring? If I pursued a degree is there one that is more valued than another? I have seen a lot on websites saying any discipline is fine.
    Thanks for your help

  • By Ted, May 18, 2011 @ 1:44 PM

    Hello Megan,
    To work in the Middle East you are going to need a degree to go with your TESOL certificate. There is a strong jobs market in countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar and more. Best degree? Probably the very best would be something in English as a major. There might even be a few schools that would have BATESOL – bachelors in TESOL.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Billie Rose, May 25, 2011 @ 11:56 AM

    Hello Ted,

    My name is Billie and I am a 24 year old graduate, trying to decide what to do next. My partner and I are currently living in New Zealand (originally from the UK) and since being here have decided that we want to spend plently more time overseas and would love to experience teaching.
    As I mentioned, I have a degree and am currently trying to figure out the best course to do. CELTA and the Trinity Tesol look like good options due to their prestigiousness- a generous fee to match the course too however! My partner does not hold a degree- do you know if it is usual for couples to travel abroad to teach together? I’m guessing that if it is, they will both have degrees. Perhaps you can offer me some advice on what Thank you for your time,

  • By Ted, May 25, 2011 @ 11:57 AM

    Hi Billie,
    CELTA and Trinity are certainly consistently excellent courses. But you are right – the price is high. Many countries don’t require a TEFL certificate, so you can try a good online course to get a feel for teaching English – perhaps volunteer a bit too. Good destinations? As your partner doesn’t have a degree, head for either rural China or Cambodia. A good online certificate like TEFL Boot Camp is fine for both destinations (fair warning – I am the tutor for TBC). Do couples head out and do what you are proposing? You bet. My wife (GF at the time) and I started out in Korea in 1992 and so have many many other couples. It’s a wonderful lifestyle.
    Go get it – it’s waiting for you!

  • By Billie Rose, May 25, 2011 @ 6:22 PM

    Thank you for your swift reply Ted, it is great to be in touch with someone who knows what they are talking about! Are rural China and Cambodia they only places you would recommend to us? We are definitely interested in visiting China- a facinating place it seems. And one more thought which has just come to me, would both of us having something like the CELTA/Trinity make a difference to destinations? Your comments have furthered my interest even more, thank you again! Billie

  • By Ted, May 25, 2011 @ 6:56 PM

    Hello Billie,
    Most of my experience has been in Asia – so I tend to recommend places there. IMO, Cambodia and rural China are your best bets (for someone with no degree). Both are happy with any kind of TEFL certification – online is fine. Indonesia is another option, but tends to prefer a CELTA.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Alison, May 25, 2011 @ 10:56 PM

    Hi Ted! I am thinking about taking the online course at the TEFL Institute. I am very interested in teaching abroad but I have some concerns, the most important is my 3 1/2 year old daughter. I am shooting for the Fall 2012 which would make her 4 1/2. I have a BA in psychology and am willing to go pretty much any where. I have talked with a couple people at the institute and they say it’s okay to have her with me but I would like to get your input. Any information you have is appreciated! Thank you for your time.

  • By Ted, May 25, 2011 @ 11:12 PM

    Hello Alison,
    I am not a big fan of single parents heading overseas to teach English. At least not at the language school level. If you had a graduate degree and where heading somewhere that would allow you to earn significant money and paid for the schooling of your child (in the contract!) – I would support the idea. Even if you get the best job around – Korea – in a language school or even at public schools there, the best you are going to be able to do is save about US$1000 per month – without taking your child with you. However, now you need to purchase daycare and health insurance. And it is about time for her to go to preschool or kindergarten soon, where will she go for that? Most international schools (the best places for her to attend) charge at least US$1000 per month for tuition – many charge double that. Can you do it successfully? Maybe. I don’t like to say never. But have I ever seen it done successfully? No. And it is usually the child that suffers, not the parent. Even if you can find an inexpensive international school – she will go to school in the daytime and you will often work afternoons and evenings in a language school. You will still need daycare. If you can land a public school position – then you might both be able to get on the same schedule, but I suspect most schools will consider a single parent with a child only after they give everyone else a shot at the job. Just too many problems involved, from visa to schooling to health to daycare to . . . And most employers in most countries are required to “sponsor” you – meaning they are responsible for you and in this case – also your child.
    I suspect that the school who is hoping to sell you something, has overstated the possibilities without considering your circumstances. I am sure this is not what you wanted to hear, but it is my opinion.

  • By Eimear, May 26, 2011 @ 9:45 PM

    Hi Ted,
    I am a 19 year old college student studying in UCD in Ireland for a degree in Mathematical science. Currently I have finished my first year. Lsst Week I completed my 140 hour TEFL course with the view to go to South-East Asia next Summer (2012). I was wondering is it possible to get a job teaching English in Indonesia without a college degree? (I will have two more years left to complete my degree) Also, have you any recommendations of a school or academy that would be suitable to teach in because I will most likely be going on my own.

  • By Ted, May 26, 2011 @ 10:22 PM

    Hi Eimear,
    My apologies for the delay in responding to your questions. But, yes, Indonesia is an excellent destination for EFL teachers with no degree. Some of the large chain schools – English First, for example – sometimes ask for a degree, but not always. Certainly the smaller schools have no problems hiring people without degrees. Just for an example, see this job from a large English First chain of schools, hiring now, no degree required: English First Swara Group
    Good luck!

  • By Noreen, June 3, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Thank you for this blog. Reading your articles and responses is quite inspiring, as I’m one of those people who generally knows what she wants and just needs to hear it from someone else to trust herself. I have been thinking about teaching English abroad for over a year, ever since I got out of a hobby that I was once very passionate about. Seems like my current job was more means to that end (financing the hobby)and does nothing for me in and of itself despite the more than adequate pay considering my liberal arts background. I have a bachelors in English and a minor in Business, and spent 3 years in Kuwait as a child, which gave me a more global perspective early on. I am particularly interested in Italy, took an Italian class last semester with this very specific purpose in mind, and was wondering if adding a solid TEFL course to my English degree would allow me to land a job with which I could both live and pay down my student debt. My choices are to stay at my current job two more years to completely pay off this 20,000 of debt, or do it slowly while abroad. I am willing to take a significant pay cut. I am 30 and really do not want to waste too much time! I agree with your sentiment that there is just too much out there to stay in one place!



  • By Ted, June 3, 2011 @ 10:17 AM

    Hi Noreen,
    You can probably pay that debt off in about 18 months in Korea. It is very difficult for Americans to get working visas in the EU these days. Your employer would have to prove that there is no EU citizen that can do the job you are taking. And – with the UK and Ireland having big unemployment and other problems – there are plenty of those people hunting for the same job you want. Look toward Asia and you will probably do better.
    It’s not all about total wages – it’s about how much you can SAVE. Even if you are earning much less in Korea – you will be able to save FAR MORE than you can now. With income taxes at 7% (roughly), no FICA taxes and very few other withholdings – plus FREE accommodation – even a modest wage means you can save more than you could with a big income in the States.
    And – yes, a good TEFL course will help you land the better jobs. For Korea and most of Asia – TEFL Boot Camp is fine and inexpensive.
    Just my opinion.

  • By Noreen, June 4, 2011 @ 9:00 AM


    Thanks for your timely response and insight…it didn’t occur to me that there would be so much competition for the EU jobs from within the EU itself, but it makes sense because they speak English too! It’s sounds like you definitely think Asia is a better idea and I will consider it for sure, but out of curiosity, would you say it’s virtually impossible for an American to get a job in an EU country? Would knowing someone that knows someone (as in someone who runs a school) help? Or is it irrelevant due to their nevertheless needing to submit justification?



  • By Ted, June 4, 2011 @ 11:54 AM

    Hello Noreen,
    I don’t think it is as much a matter of competition as it is a restrictive visa policy for the EU. Of course, knowing someone helps – but make sure that someone can get you the legal working papers you will need. If you need to pay off debts, do be aware that the cost of living in the EU is very high and you’ll not likely be saving much – if anything – while working in the EU.

  • By Jim, June 4, 2011 @ 6:16 PM

    Hey Ted,

    Just came across your site and I have a question.

    I am a native english speaker 50 years of age. I have no degree but have a lot of language learning experience. I speak english, Spanish, Portugues, Italian, Thai and some Mandarin. I have taught english in passing volutarily in Thailand and Vietnam – just coversational.

    I do have some language qualifications in Spanish (Institute of Liguists)and I was enrolled in a degree for modern languages but never completed.

    My background is in entertainment and media and I have a lot of experience in that area and indeed in business generally.

    Would really love to teach english in Beijing or Shanghai. Is there some way I can enter the profession at this late stage (TEFL certificate perhaps?)

    Any advice greatly recieved.

  • By Ted, June 4, 2011 @ 7:31 PM

    Hello Jim,
    Yes, a TEFL certificate would help you – a lot. With no degree, you need to target countries where you can legally teach without a degree. Two good examples are Indonesia and Cambodia. You can probably land a job teaching in China without a degree, but you’ll likely be teaching with a tourist visa. I can’t recommend that you do that, though many people do. You will also have more success if you go where you want to teach and apply in person.
    I hope that helps!

  • By mohammad, June 7, 2011 @ 5:19 PM

    Hi, thanks for such an excellent website! I’m based in the uk and completed a law degree but decided to pursue teaching instead.I am hoping to start a CELTA in September but what other qualifications would I need to be able to teach abroad? I’m aiming for the middle east, Qatar, Saudi, and possibly Egypt. I’d like to do a masters but I’m not sure what in.

    I’d like to add,I want to do a masters in something which will benefit me in the UK too.

    And do you recommend ANY of these online tefl courses, and if so, which one would be most widely accepted for where I want to go ie mid east?

    Phew, enough questions for now I think. Sorry if it’s a question overload and thankyou for your time!

  • By Ted, June 7, 2011 @ 6:36 PM

    Hello Mohammad,
    The Middle East is a bit more stringent that other places, but most TEFL certifications are fine.
    The better jobs in the Middle East though, you are are right, will want a masters degree. If you have the money and the time, a CELTA is always a good option as is just about any other program.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Mary, June 7, 2011 @ 9:34 PM

    Hello Ted,

    I came across your site today and it has so much practical infomration. It is great to hear the first hand experiences too.

    Like everyone else coming on here, I too am thinking about teaching English as a foreign language. Teaching had been on my mind for the past year and when I was going to University I was torn between doing teaching and business and I opted for business. Over the past 12 months I have been looking into the various teaching options that I might have..I have thought about teaching children/teenagers/adults, have looked at lecturing and looked at becoming a trainer. The reality is that I feel teaching is the next step in my career. I have already spent 12 months abroad (I travelled independently) in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. Here is my educational background:-

    BA (Hons) Business Studies and German, Masters in Business Studies (specialising in eCommerce), CIPD Certificate in Learning and Development Practice.
    I have 10 years experience in the public and private sectors working as a project/product manager and am currently self employed.
    I am 32 and I don’t have a TEFL qualification.

    Looking at the qualification that I have, what would be the best course for me to do? Would I be best going down the ESP route targeting Universities/Business Colleges?

    If you have any advice on the above, it would be most appreciated.

    I look forward to hearing from you.


  • By Ted, June 7, 2011 @ 10:40 PM

    Hi Mary,
    You are a GREAT candidate for teaching ESP courses, Business English and more. Do get a general TEFL certificate to back up your two degrees and view it that way, not the other way around. Look in business environments, business colleges and universities. Read Teach English with Your Special Skills – it will give you some good direction.
    Go get ’em – you will find success, I am sure!

  • By mohammad, June 8, 2011 @ 4:31 PM

    Thankyou for the reply. I was just wondering, for the masters course, which course should I do because there are a bewildering amount of masters language courses out there!

    And for the TEFL online , you mentioned any TEFL but are some not more recognised than others?

  • By Ted, June 8, 2011 @ 5:31 PM

    An MATESOL is the #1 requirement for the better teaching jobs in universities and colleges around the world. A degree in applied linguistics would be roughly similar, but not as well recognized. And in M.Ed. in TEFL is a decent option as well.

  • By Mary, June 9, 2011 @ 2:24 AM

    Hello Ted,

    Thanks for getting back to me. Where would be the best location for me to go to earn/save decent money teaching ESP courses? What would the earnings be like for someone teaching ESP courses and what are the opportunities for career progression abroad? Also,
    if I was to return home after teaching ESP courses, would it help me to secure a lecturing position in the UK?

    Thanks for your help! I look forward to hearing from you.


  • By Ted, June 9, 2011 @ 3:35 AM

    Hi Mary,
    Korea and the Middle East are typically the best places for saving money – ESP or just regular teaching. For career progression, you can become a DOS, perhaps head of an EFL department (of the foreign teachers) or similar. Academically, you’ll need a Phd to move up the university food chain. Experience teaching ESP abroad, would probably help you in the UK – if you could find a similar position. ESP just helps you get your head above the crowd of generic English teachers.

  • By Michael Russell, June 15, 2011 @ 9:13 AM

    Hello Sir,

    I teach English Language Arts (6th-11th grades), Social Studies (6th-9th grades), and am the Dean of Students (1st-11th grades) at a private French-American school in Manhattan. Almost all of my students are from other countries, and many start off as ESL students before becoming full English students. The ESL teacher and I confer with each other constantly. I’ve also tutored and have been a literacy coach. Most of students have had some ESL connection. I’m looking to get my TEFL certificate within the 2011-2012 school year, and hopefully get a university-level job in Japan for sometime after June 2012. My school building also houses a Japanese nursery school, and I’m friendly with it’s teachers and the mostly Japanese administrative staff. Except for getting my first Master’s degree in the UK, I haven’t lived abroad, but as a New Yorker in an international school, I am itching to make a life out of it. What would be the best TEFL certificate to get? Is the JACET website the best website for me to check out? What if I wanted to get a university teaching job in Seoul, Korea? Would I get the same TEFL? I plan on getting my PhD in the future. Thank you very much. I’m finding your website to be incredibly helpful.

  • By Ted, June 17, 2011 @ 11:46 AM

    Hi Michael,
    If you are a qualified teacher already, just about any TEFL certificate would do you well – even online – just so you get the methodology. That would serve you well for both Japan and China. I like TEFL Boot Camp but . . . I am the Academic Director there – just so you know!). Your existing teaching qualification is your foot in the door and more important than the TEFL cert in your case. You will find it much easier to land a position teaching university in Korea than in Japan. Japanese universities tend to like to hire foreigners who are fluent in Japanese. Are you? But, even Korea will want you to have at least a year or two of EFL experience. Teaching EFL is different than teaching ESL. What you teach tends to be different, the skill levels of your students tend to be different as does their motivation. ESL students are obviously more motivated and can use the language in their environment daily which is rarely true for EFL students. So the approach is different.
    Korea is a GREAT place to teach – I spent six years there (three years twice) at university and college level. And – you can save some serious money there as well. In both countries – connections can land you good jobs you otherwise would not be able to get. These are connections-oriented societies. So – if you want Japan as your destination – let the Japanese staff where you work know what you would like to do. Tell them of your respect and interest in their culture and . . . well, I bet you can land a pretty good job. It might take six or twelve months, but look at it like fishing for a good job.
    Go get ’em! You’ve got the qualifications – almost – for what you need.

  • By Patricia, July 1, 2011 @ 10:33 PM

    Hi Ted,
    I just happened upon your blog while researching on teaching in Korea. Currently, teaching in the land of the rising sun, and thinking about my next step. Unfortunately I noticed that Korea does not accept person outside their 7-listed `English-speaking’ countries. It’s a bit sad, because it would’ve be another interesting experience to teach in Korea, and still be close to my current home.

    Any feedback, would be helpful. Thanks

    andie_ph at hotmail dot com

  • By Ted, July 1, 2011 @ 10:35 PM

    Hi Patricia,
    There are more than a few countries that accept people that are not from the “approved list” that Korea has. You might also try China, Thailand and Cambodia.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Michael Marcello, July 2, 2011 @ 6:59 PM

    Hi Ted,
    I want to move to either vietnam, china, thailand or the philipines. I don’t mind paying for esl certification but I don’t have a degree. All of the ads I see for esl jobs requre a BS. Is there any hope for me getting a teaching job without a degree, And if so, can you make a recomendation.

  • By Ted, July 2, 2011 @ 7:00 PM

    Hello Michael,
    China, away from the megacities, often employs people without degrees. Cambodia is another option as is Indonesia. Try reading this article to help you focus your job search to where you can be successful:

  • By Adrienne, July 13, 2011 @ 12:49 PM

    Hi Ted,

    Thank you for your informative site. Can you tell me what differences there are between TEFL and TESOL? Also, if there are major differences which would you choose or is it necessary to do both? Thanks in advance.

  • By Ted, July 13, 2011 @ 1:16 PM

    Hi Adrienne,
    Good question! TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. They are roughly equivalent. A TESOL certification is pretty much the same as a TEFL cert. It is not necessary to do both.
    I hope that helps!

  • By Star*, July 20, 2011 @ 5:58 AM

    Hi Ted,
    Is this a pipedream?
    I would like to teach abroad for a year with my family in tow. I would like a paid position with housing provided for myself, my husband and our three young children. He would homeschool them while I work. We would all be afforded the benefits of learning a new culture while I invigorate my teaching and help others. Do such an opportunities exist for a veteran teacher of 18 years with the complete “family package”? And if they do, where do I start in pursuit?

    I came across your blog whilst randomly searching “teaching abroad” websites. I found it refreshing in its straight forward, cut to the chase, real person to real person approach. Yipppeee! => I would greatly appreciate any insight and direction you could lend as I have never been one to easily abandon a pipedream.


  • By Ted, July 20, 2011 @ 6:00 AM

    Hello Star,
    As an experienced teacher, your best bet would be to check out International School Services at An international school can provide you with what you are looking for in terms of benefits, accommodation, family visas, etc. Regular jobs teaching English at language schools or even at many universities will not provide the comprehensive benefits you are looking for. Universities and colleges in the Middle East will often provide those kinds of packages though, but will also require a graduate degree – which I am guessing you might have if you have been teaching for 18 years.
    Good luck!

  • By Amy, July 23, 2011 @ 7:09 AM

    Hey Ted!
    First things first, your website is very helpful. Thanks for that! I have a couple of questions regarding teaching abroad. I will graduate from my university with an undergraduate degree in English, and a minor in Spanish and International Studies. I’ve had a lot of experience with teaching children, but not in a formal classroom setting. I would love to teach abroad in London or somewhere in Spain. What should my next step be? Do I need experience in a classroom setting? What qualifications/certificates would I need to teach abroad?

  • By Ted, July 25, 2011 @ 11:52 AM

    Hi Amy,
    If you wish to teach in Europe, CELTA and Trinity seem to be the preferred name brands. Most of the rest of the world typically doesn’t care or often hasn’t even heard of either of them. So – it depends a bit on where you want to go. CELTA though – has an excellent reputation.
    I hope that helps.

  • By John, July 30, 2011 @ 6:47 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I am also an IT skilled person (25 years) and I read you biog with some interest. I’d like your help (if possible) with how to go about teaching English in Brazil, where I have recently relocated, using TFL. Can you help?


  • By Ted, August 3, 2011 @ 3:35 PM

    Hi John,
    I don’t have any real experience in Latin America. The great majority of my time abroad has been in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. So . . . go check out TEFL Tips. The lady who writes that blog has spent a lot of time in Latin America – contact her and see if she can help you out.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Gabe, August 5, 2011 @ 9:58 AM

    Im graduating from college at the end of the year and am looking to teach english in the middle east. Before I apply for any jobs I will be getting a TEFL certificate. Now I have lived in the middle east before, I spent 8 months last year with three months spent studying arabic at a unversity in Jordan, and 5 months studying arabic and history at a university in israel. I would say I am at a intermediate level of arabic (and can handle most of my daily interactions in arabic like going to the doctors, asking for directions, or getting a apartment). The reason why im saying all of this is because I notice that all of the job listings for saudi arabia or UAE require at least a year or two if not more of previous teaching experience. Will my lack of previous experience be major a problem with getting a job or can I use my experience of living in the middle east and knowledge of arabic to better my odds? Im already planning on not mentioning my time in israel when I apply since Im sure that would stop my application right there.


  • By Ted, August 5, 2011 @ 10:16 AM

    Hello Gabe,
    Schools in the Middle East are usually looking for two years TEACHING experience – not just living in the region. In my opinion students in that part of the world can be difficult in terms of discipline and behavior problems and I suspect that is one reason why they require a couple years under your belt first. Yes, you don’t want to mention your time in Israel, but the stamp in your passport that will be an issue also.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Gabe, August 5, 2011 @ 10:40 AM

    I know living in a foreign country doesnt replace teaching, what im wondering is that by me knowing arabic, knowing what its like to learn a foreign language from someone that doesnt speak my own native language, and knowing what is expected in a strict muslim country, will I have a better chance of getting a job? I taught english in israel for 3 months as part of a program with the USA embassy but of course I cant mention that on a application. Should I even try those countries, or give up and go somewhere else that requires no experience?


  • By Ted, August 5, 2011 @ 11:41 AM

    Hello again, Gabe;
    Yes, once you have the teaching experience you will likely have an edge over people with similar experience and qualifications but no experience in the region.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Melanie, August 8, 2011 @ 12:29 AM

    Hi Ted

    I hope you can assist me with the following.

    I want to teach English but I don’t have a Bachelors Degree yet but I am studying part-time. Do you know of anyone that can assist me with job placement in countries where a bachelors degree is not a requirment for Visa purposes. I do have a 120-hours TESOL Certificate and a Police Clearance Ceritificate.

    Thanking you in advance.



    Email: mel _ vdv @ yahoo. com

  • By Ted, August 8, 2011 @ 9:12 AM

    Hello Melanie,
    In Asia, you best bets are Cambodia and Indonesia. Cambodia, you will need to apply on the scene. Indonesia, you can often apply from a distance. Recruiters don’t usually work with non-degreed people as schools won’t pay a recruiter for finding them – though they will pay for finding teacher-candidates with a degree.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Peter, August 9, 2011 @ 2:29 AM

    Hello Ted,

    Do you know of any good sites where schools’ contact details can be found?

    I have previously taught English in Colombia and China, but “accidentally” fell into these posts. I have no degree, no TEFL certification and am not too keen on using recruitment agencies. I would be much happier contacting schools myself – it’s just where to find the contacts.

    I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you have. I have no real worries with regards to where I end up. All I know is that I thoroughly enjoy the work, have no sky-high expectations re: salary and in some ways the stranger the destination the better.

    I hope you have some bright ideas for this unconventional teacher.

    Many thanks in advance,


  • By Ted, August 9, 2011 @ 9:03 AM

    Hello Peter,
    There are a zillion jobs websites listing open positions, but I am not aware of many lists of schools. If you want to go to Latin America – try TEFL Tips. I believe she sells a fairly comprehensive list of school throughout S. and C. America. I am not aware of anything similar for Asia. Sorry!
    I hope that helps at least a bit.

  • By Sophia Seremetis, August 11, 2011 @ 3:02 AM

    Hello Ted,

    Years ago I tossed around the idea of moving abroad to work and recently my excitement and desire has been reinvigorated, particularly by the fact that my partner is at last on-board. Through my research I have decided to focus on Hong Kong, for several reasons.

    After reading your post on international schools vs. univeristy teaching, I lean heavily toward the university path. However, after going though a list of EFL schools (both international and university) in Hong Kong, most of even the international schools are asking for at least one year of teaching experience – understandably so.
    My question is whether these schools ever consider waiving that requirement for new teachers, or even perhaps outlining a development program that would get the teacher up to par before commencement of employment? Just for your reference, I have a B.S. in print journalism, I worked in the sports department of a pulitzer-prize winning newspaper in the U.S. for four years as a clerk and freelance writer, I have more than 50 articles published with my byline in U.S. and Canada, and I went on to spend two years at ESPN doing stats and analysis. I have also worked in the hospitality industry my whole life and extensive professional experience with wine. I don’t know how that would apply but I didn’t want to leave it out :)

    I’m willing to do almost anything to make the possibility of teaching at a university in Hong Kong a reality. I will take TEFL/TESOL courses, become a certified subsitute teacher and log some hours that way if need be, but I wanted to get your opinion before I start going nuts (and broke) with this stuff.

    Thank you very much for being the most accessible TEFL resource on the Internet.

    Sophia Seremetis
    shseremetis @ gmail . com

  • By Ted, August 11, 2011 @ 4:05 PM

    Hello Sophia,
    Universities and international schools tend to stick rather rigidly to their hiring criteria. Qualifications of teachers is often related to the school’s accreditation, thus something with which they tend to have no flexibility. So – the best path is to meet their criteria rather than hoping you can get them to change or adapt them. Wish I had better advice!

  • By Theresa, August 15, 2011 @ 4:15 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m glad I stumbled upon this great website! I just graduated with my undergrad in Business. I am overwhelmed with the information available online about Teaching English abroad. I am hoping to get a TEFL certification and head over to Spain because I would love to start traveling there/Europe. Also, I know a decent amount of Spanish.

    I saw ([a course in Madrid] – edited). However, it’s 2000 Euros (about $3000 US Dollars) which is really pricey.

    I feel clueless and somewhat lost.
    What are cheaper alternatives/methods/ways to go about teaching English abroad in Spain? Do you know if Spain accepts online TEFL certification? I heard Europe prefers/requires(?) in-class training.


  • By Ted, August 15, 2011 @ 4:16 AM

    Hello Theresa,
    You biggest problem will be obtaining legal working papers in Spain. An employer in the EU – to hire you – must prove that can not find an EU citizen who can fill the job. With high unemployment in the UK and Ireland – it will be difficult for them to do that. Yes, Europe tends to prefer the traditional in-classroom TEFL training.
    You might want to try to Latin American countries?

  • By dennis, August 15, 2011 @ 9:52 AM

    Hi, I’m curious about TEFL overseas. I’m a university grad. But 60.

    Also, I’m a produced screenwriter and wondering about garnering additional to TEFL income teaching screenwriting in foreign countries like the Phillipines, Korea or China/Taiwan? This would not necessarily be for a school but my organizing seminars, etc.
    Is that feasible?

    Also the woman I’m involved with has a criminal record. Would that bar her entry into countries with me? She’s a university grad also and are there any countries she could TEFL with me?

  • By Ted, August 18, 2011 @ 9:04 AM

    Hello Dennis,
    You might want to cruise the posts here about job search methods for older folks. If your intention is to teach a subject area though – such as screenwriting – then you are quite possibly going to need to teach it in the local language. Most screenwriters – I am guessing! – will end up writing in their own country and in their own language. That doesn’t mean you won’t find the odd international or bilingual type college that will have such classes in English. There is BTW an entire university dedicated to TV/movie occupations in Korea – I don’t recall the name, but if you just searched “Korea universities” – you’d probably find it. However, that leads to the second issue. Korea fingerprints everyone and also requires a police clearance. So my guess is that your GF would not be able to live there. I don’t know from which country your GF has a passport – so it is difficult for me to suggest where she should teach. If she is not perceived as a native speaker and is from other than the usual USA, UK, Aus, etc – then probably Thailand is one of your better options, but Thailand too – will want a police clearance. So . . . maybe on to Cambodia . . .
    I hope that helps.

  • By Jana, August 18, 2011 @ 10:54 AM


    My husband and I are looking into this whole endeavor and I just have a few questions.

    You mention “this country” accepts TEFL, and “that counrty” doesn’t require it. Where can I find information like that? Are requirements country-wide or is it job to job. It’s probably just a matter of doing research, huh?

    We are interested in Thailand and we both have BAs. (Buisness and Biology) I’m looking into online TEFL courses, but don’t want to waste time and money. We are also interested in South America, but everything I could find made it sound very complicated?

    Also, do you know anything about school loans during overseas teaching? We have some hefty ones that I’m hoping to put into forbearance? Any ideas?

    Thank you for your time and information. After looking over your website I feel like this is something I could figure out. And I’m STOKED.

  • By Ted, August 18, 2011 @ 11:37 AM

    Hello Jana,
    There is not one specific place – to the best of my knowledge – to find out what is required. And even the few places that mention a few are sometimes not up to date. The problem is that requirements change, schools can have different (more strict) requirements than the government immigration requirements and in some countries, requirements might be different even from one province to another. So it is best to find where you want to go, figure if you meet those requirements and proceed as needed. For Thailand, I would recommend an in-class TEFL training as you will quite possibly teach large classes of relatively undisciplined students. Any certification – even online – over 100 hours – is fine for Thailand. If you have hefty student loans, head to Korea where you can probably get them paid off pretty quickly. It would be fairly easy for each of you to save about US$1000 a month in Korea – without really trying. While wages are only about US$2000+ a month for a newbie – free housing, very low taxes (3-7% TOTAL), reimbursed airfare and even an end of contract bonus – mean most of your wages for left for food and fun. Sorry – I know next to nothing of Latin America having spent the last 22 years in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
    I hope that helps. I might use your questions as an idea for blog post – it is a good set of questions!

  • By FrenchyFierce, August 18, 2011 @ 12:01 PM

    Hi Ted,

    My boyfriend is French, and I’m American. I’m 38 yrs old, and I hold a Bachelor’s degree. We’ve been long distance for nearly 2 yrs, and part of the problem is finding a job from this side of the pond. If I get my TEFL certificate, what are the chances of me scoring legal work in France? Any advice or recommendations are appreciated. Would it be better to take the courses here or there etc?


  • By Ted, August 18, 2011 @ 12:02 PM

    Hello FF,
    Since it is difficult for Americans to get working papers as an English teacher in the EU – it would be far better to take your course there – hoping that your school will have connections that will help you find the job you want. EU countries though will require that your employer prove that they can’t find an EU citizen to do the job for which they are wanting to hire you. With high unemployment in Ireland and the UK – well . . . it is easy for them to hire those people and no special paperwork or expense. But – as with everywhere – there are often ways around the rules and your TEFL Training school may know the way around them. Communicate with a good school IN FRANCE before you go and ask them specifically about the ability to get working papers. CELTA is often the preferred TEFL Cert name brand in Europe and if I was going there, that’s the course I would take.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Sally, August 18, 2011 @ 12:08 PM

    Hi Ted – love the site. I’m currently almost 4 years into what I hope will continue to be a rewarding career. I’ve already taught in 3 countries and am currently back in Indonesia which is a country I love. My question is I’ve just turned 50 and was wondering realistically how long I’ll be able to teach overseas given the huge numbers of much younger people on the market? I’m going to follow your advice re ESP as I have a marketing background, where I figure age/experience may be an advantage… have I just answered my own question? Any insights or advice would be welcome. Cheers. Sally

  • By Ted, August 18, 2011 @ 12:22 PM

    Hi Sally,
    Yes, you have answered your own question! AND – take your ESP skills to a university or college where age of the teacher is much less of an issue. Then you are in good shape for another ten years anyway . . .
    Good luck! You’ve got the right ideas – build your niche with an ESP.

  • By Angela, August 23, 2011 @ 9:09 PM

    Good morning, Ted! I’m about to move to China to begin my TEFL career. My brother has been there for three years and has just been sending money to family members via Western Union to deposit in his bank account. This is a pain for the family members, of course, and due to a change in circumstances it isn’t possible to do that anymore (wire money to family members). What companies would you recommend for wiring money directly to bank accounts? We both have credit union accounts – should I open a traditional bank account instead? I want to do this as efficiently as possible, AND get the most bang for my buck.

    Thank you for your help!

  • By Ted, August 24, 2011 @ 6:15 AM

    Hello Angela,
    Western Union is a notoriously expensive way to transfer money. High fees and lousy exchange rates can mean losing as much as 10% of your money or more. Why not just use a regular bank? Lowest fees, best exchange rates. Credit Unions are okay for receiving funds – you just need the routing number. Some banks in some countries (probably China included) want a SWIFT address and in that case you should open something like a Bank of America account (you can open an account online quite easily). B of A has a SWIFT address that works just fine.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Susana, August 24, 2011 @ 3:51 PM

    Thanks so much for this great web site Ted.

    I’m about to enroll in a local CELTA class and I’m wondering if it’s the right decision. I am a 59-year old single woman living in California. I have little by way of retirement plans that can go very far here in USA. Because I speak Spanish, I’m thinking of moving to a South American country and teaching English for several years until I can collect social security. At that point my plan is to live on social security and probably private tutoring or whatever entrepreneurial ventures I might come up with between now and then.

    I’ve been doing lots of research online to figure out what the holes might be in my brilliant plan. I do enjoy living in Spanish countries. I am entrepreneurial. I am in good health and look and feel much younger than 60. I have small savings and no debt.

    Before I invest in this course I wonder what issues you might suggest I take into consideration.

    Thank you,
    ~ ~ Susana

  • By Ted, August 24, 2011 @ 6:29 PM

    Hello Susana,
    I think your plan is fine. You are purchasing the Rolls Royce of TEFL Training, so if you can afford it, no regrets. I think you are fine and doing the smart thing. I would add some wisdom, but you already have it!

  • By ida, August 25, 2011 @ 11:22 PM

    hi ted.
    i am not new to teaching english my first experience being directly out of university. i am looking to go back and take a shot at making a career out of it. i am trying to get as much research under my belt before doing this. can you give me advice? i just don’t know where to start looking. my goal is to go back to S. Korea to start. shoot me an e-mail. thanks,

  • By Ted, August 26, 2011 @ 6:49 AM

    Hello Ida,
    If you really want to make a career out of TEFL, the best thing to do is get yourself a graduate degree in something related. MATESOL, M.Ed or similar. Some people do distance programs while to get their graduate degree while teaching abroad and that is a super way to do it. Just be sure it is a reputable degree and you are fine. Jobs in Korea? Take a look at: for their Korea page.
    This would be a great topic for the TEFL Teacher Training blog and if you don’t mind I might expand on the topic over there:
    I hope that helps.

  • By Kerry, August 31, 2011 @ 5:46 PM

    I am from Canada and will have my teaching degree in April. I have experience teaching in Costa Rica (in english and spanish for 2 months) and tutoring students who’s first language is not English. I have spent several months in South America traveling so my Spanish is good enough to get by but definitely not fluent. I would like to teach in Peru (Lima or Cuzco) when I graduate but all I find on the internet is jobs through TEFL. I feel that I do not need to have this certificate with my qualifications and would like to know how to find a job not focused on having the TEFL certificate. Thank you.

  • By Ted, September 1, 2011 @ 8:57 AM

    Hi Kerry,
    Many jobs require a TEFL certificate because the school KNOWS that it is a specific skill that a teacher needs to maximize the learning of their students/customers. Teaching subject matter in your native language to native speakers of that language is very different from Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). I know. I have masters degree in education and I taught EFL for several years – quite poorly – until I learned some method. I did that by taking a course. So – even if you have some experience, you quite possibly do not have the skills required to really help your students in the best possible way. I am not suggesting that you might not be a good teacher – I am suggesting that you could, perhaps, be a MUCH better teacher if you got yourself some training. Good online courses are not so expensive. Invest a bit in improving your skills.
    Just my opinion.

  • By Araceli, September 5, 2011 @ 11:07 PM

    Hi Ted! My husband and I are really looking at teaching abroad. What countries to you recommend that are nice and you are able to save money?

  • By Ted, September 6, 2011 @ 11:23 AM

    Hello Araceli,
    The best place for a newbie teacher to go and save money is Korea. Korea requires a degree and a fair amount of paperwork, but once there it is fairly easy to save US$1000 a month without really trying. Wages are only about US$2000 a month – maybe a bit more, but free accommodation, very low taxes, reimbursed airfare, end of year bonus and more – means that your wages are basically for food and fun – and savings. Lots of people go to Korea to pay off school loans or other debts. And – it is a great place to get your start overseas.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Selva, September 12, 2011 @ 5:20 AM

    Hi Ted, and thanks in advance for any information you could give me. I am a citizen of Guatemala with a legal US residency card. I learned English at a very early age, since my mother is English. I want to get a certification to be able to teach abroad, although in my twenties I taught for a few years in High School and at a local university. I looked into teaching in Saudi Arabia, but because of visa regulations, Guatemalans can not get a job there. Is Korea the same, as far as visa regulations go? Thanks a lot.

  • By Ted, September 12, 2011 @ 9:50 AM

    Hello Selva,
    I would certainly consider you a native speaker, but as you mention some countries have a list of the countries from which your passport must be issued. Because your passport is from Guatemala, most employers will automatically assume that your English skills are not good. The best way to counter that is to show up in person and interview – in person. That way they can see and hear your excellent English skills. Thailand is probably one of the best places that is most accepting of English teachers from the non-traditional countries. China also – but for both countries you will probably need to interview on the scene rather than attempt to be hired from abroad. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it will just be much easier on the scene. I hope that helps!

  • By Matt F, September 12, 2011 @ 12:48 PM

    Hi. I was hoping that you could point me toward more information about teaching English at universities. I am currently enrolled in an MA TESOL program in the States and I want to start preparing the practical planning now, prior to graduation.

    Thank you very much for this fantastic site and your devotion,

    Matt F

  • By Ted, September 13, 2011 @ 6:52 AM

    Hello Matt,
    Where and what setting in which you might want to teach will have a lot to do with your personal goals when first getting out of school. Is it more important to save money and pay off school debts or to experience different cultures? To maximize your learning of teaching skills or to build your resume? Most university/college settings will want at least a year or two of previous experience. So you might head to Korea where colleges and universities often have attached language schools and it is easy – with your MATESOL – to transition over to the professorial side once you have shown your skills. Frankly, I don’t think there is much written or on the net about building that career path. Your best bet world bet for learning more about college or university setting would probably be first, to join – especially for networking their job fairs – and the second might be to contact me directly and we can exchange a few ideas on how to best met your goals. I would be happy to help with that if you wish.
    I hope that helps!

  • By Andrew, September 19, 2011 @ 6:31 AM

    Hi Ted–Thanks for all your advice and tips. I have come to see this website as an invaluable resource. I have a question concerning resume writing for TEFL jobs. I have reached a point as a recent college graduate with a bachelor of science in chemistry that I am tired of going to degrading interviews and living in this self-defeating rat-race, competing for entry level jobs in the science field with people who have years of experience. I am ready to take the steps to start a career in the TEFL world. I think S. Korea would be a great place for me to start and begin repaying my student loans. However with no teaching experience, I am not sure what I should do with my resume. As it is, I have laboratory experience and skills that I obtained while taking chemistry lab courses in college and working as a research assistant for a professor. I also have unrelated minimum wage jobs on the resume from when I was paying my way through college. What revisions would you advise for me to make on my resume so that I can be more appealing for a TEFL position in Asia?

  • By Ted, September 19, 2011 @ 6:48 AM

    Hello Andrew,
    In addition to your resume questions – you might also look at international schools where you might teach Chemistry in English. Such schools often have a difficulty finding science teachers. Have a read of this blog entry that has a similar idea: For your resume ideas, take a look here: Those two things should get you going. If not, ask more questions.

  • By Janette, September 22, 2011 @ 7:24 PM

    Hi Ted, I would like to teach EFL in Saudi but I do not have a degree – I passed the TKT course. I have worked in Admin for the past 13 year and I’m 33 year old. Can you help me find an organisation in Saudi that do not require a degree?

  • By Ted, September 22, 2011 @ 7:30 PM

    Hello Janette,
    In many cases employers’ requirements in terms of a degree and or TEFL training are set by Ministry of Labour/Education and or immigration. Thus you often won’t find much flexibility in reducing the requirements as it isn’t really up to the school/employer – it is government policy. In some countries there are ways around things, but generally the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular – tends to stand by its standards. Better to not beat your head against that wall, in my opinion. You might do better to look at countries like China, Indonesia and Cambodia – all of which either require or prefer a TEFL certification, but not a degree.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Gabby, October 4, 2011 @ 9:50 PM


    I am 41 years old and thinking of taking the Celta course to teach overseas. However, I am married and my husband is not interested in teaching. If I get a job overseas, can he work on something else? How common is this situation? How can we get more information on jobs he can do abroad? Thank you!

  • By Ted, October 5, 2011 @ 11:08 AM

    Hello Gabby,
    The ability of your husband to find a good non-teaching job in a specific country will depend greatly on the skills he has to offer. Certainly you would have more luck if you looked at the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, UAE,etc where many jobs are open that are not teaching jobs. is a good resource for that part of the world.
    Good luck!

  • By Connor, October 26, 2011 @ 5:44 AM

    Hi Ted!

    You are a rich vein of information! Think you can help me outÉ

    In January I would like to move abroad and teach english either in Central or South America, or South East Asia.

    I have worked as an Inclusion Facilitator (one on one with children with special needs), and a Teacher Assistant for the past five years at the University of Guelph Childcare and Learning Centre. Volunteered for a year as a teacher assistant in an elementary school with Grade 4, and 5 year students. Lastly, I have the 60 hour intensive TEFL Oxford Seminars Certificate…

    Ok… So my questions are:

    1.What countries can offer me opportunity for workÉ I do not want to work with kindergarten children; some older ones in elementary.

    2. I would like to do some tutoring on the side.. Do you have any info., advice on the conceptÉ

    Thank you so much Ted.
    This means a lot.

  • By Ted, October 27, 2011 @ 9:36 AM

    Hello Connor,
    My apologies for the delay in responding. There are lots of countries where you could work with elementary level students. Kindergarten is not always the first job for a new EFL teacher. You don’t mention your age, but your level of experience says you are not 19 or 20 – young people and especially females are the people who often get directly tossed in with the kindie kids. Tutoring “on the side” is almost always illegal and will often be prohibited in your contract. However, most teachers have done it at one time or another. You will need to make a judgement on it when you are in the country where you would like to do it. If it seems everyone is doing it and there are no problems – then maybe it is okay. If no one is doing it or at least not daring to talk openly about it – probably better not!

  • By Connor, November 1, 2011 @ 3:52 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I am 22.

    Would you mind mentioning some of those countries; and ones where it is legal to work without a degree.

    That’ll be all. Thank you so much.

  • By Ted, November 1, 2011 @ 7:00 AM

    Hello Connor,
    Your best bets without a degree are Cambodia and China. You can do well both places, but will need a TEFL certificate to get legal working papers in China and you will need one to compete for a good job in Cambodia.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Frances, November 16, 2011 @ 11:34 AM

    Hello Ted

    I am 47 years young female British citizen, now residing as a permanent resident (green card holder in America). I am half way through my Bachelors degree in French and considering doing the M.A.T in French. This is all very well, but will I be considered too old to teach English as a foreign language in France? I will be doing the TESOL course in America before I go. How do I find out about getting an opportunity to teach in France? it appears that most government programs in France and Britain will not consider the over 35’s.
    Any advice most appreciated, thanks!

  • By Ted, November 16, 2011 @ 11:59 AM

    Hi Frances,
    If you get an MAT – then you are not really too old to start out. Your job target should be colleges and universities then, which are usually much less discriminatory about age than language schools. Unfortunately, I know almost nothing about teaching teaching in France or even Europe in general – so you migh ask over at Dave’s ESL forums. You’ll probably find some good guidance there.
    Good luck!

  • By sulekha, November 19, 2011 @ 12:49 PM

    i have completed my BA as well as MA in English literature. i have also done a pre-doctoral degree in english lit. i am a non native speaker of english langauge. now i wish to take up a job in oman. is being certified in tefl necessary for me?

  • By Ted, November 19, 2011 @ 7:00 PM

    Hello Sulekha,
    Yes, some level of TEFL training would help you a lot. Understanding English literature is very different from teaching the actual skills of speaking, reading, listening and writing English. Is TEFL Training required in your case? WIth some employers probably not. But it is good to get some skills in what you are hoping to do – so you can do a good job at it.

  • By Lee Zaslofsky, November 22, 2011 @ 6:00 AM

    Great website!

    I’m in Saigon looking for work as an ESL teacher. I’ve got a CELTA certificate plus some workshop certificates like Teaching Business English. I’ve got an M.A. degree. I am familiar with Vietnam and especially Saigon and I love it here (I’ve been here four times in the past three years). I am a native English speaker.

    I am 67 years old, healthy and smart, but I spent most of my life as a political/community worker, not a teacher. I have loads of experience working with people from different backgrounds, and I have a friendly personality with a great sense of humour.

    During the American War, as it is called here, I was drafted but went to Canada rather than fight the Vietnamese people. I mention that in my cover letter, as well as the fact that I have come to love Vietnam in recent years of visiting — too personal/political?

    My CV shows me working for politicians in Canada, shows me being a community leader in multicultural downtown Toronto. No good?

    I am deermined to teach English here — I think I could develop into a fine teacher. But I wonder whther I’m wasting my time, or simply making newbie mistakes in presenting myself.

    I would really appreciate any comments you might have.

  • By Ted, November 22, 2011 @ 9:39 AM

    Hi Lee,
    I would avoid political comment/connections of any type in your CV/resume. You simply provide an opportunity for someone to wonder exactly what that is all about and take a safer bet hiring someone else. The school is not looking for community leader or even for a political person who agrees with them. They are looking for teacher. A nice low-profile teacher that will do their job and not create any problems of any sort. Focus on and emphasize that – only. Look around on this website also for previous posts about older teachers looking for work – there is a good amount of material that might help you here.

  • By Matthew Constant, November 29, 2011 @ 1:20 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I had a few quick questions for you since you seem incredibly knowledgable on TEFL 😀

    So, I am 19 and am interested in teaching in China…I do not have a degree but do have two years of university under my belt…

    Any suggestions on TEFL courses or recruiters who can help
    Me find a job legally?

    I attended Webster University Thailand and have experience TEFL…any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • By Ted, November 29, 2011 @ 3:48 PM

    Hello Matthew,
    Your best bet is probably to take a look at TEFL Internships. That’s at – I work with that program and we have placed several young people in the program. You don’t need a four-year degree, but do need a TEFL certification to get legal working papers in China and the internship also comes with a job offer built into the agreement. Check it out and let me know what you think.
    Most recruiters won’t or can’t place you as the schools won’t pay them (how their business operates) for someone without a degree.
    More questions?

  • By Matthew Constant, November 29, 2011 @ 4:03 PM


    I looked at that
    Program…does the cost cover the 80 hour program before leaving for China? Or must I take an 80 hour program by myself?

    Is the internship worth it? Like when I’m done I’ll be able to work?


  • By Ted, November 30, 2011 @ 3:57 PM

    Hi Matthew,
    The internships come with a job offer as part of the agreement – so, yes, you will be able to work when you complete the internship, right at the very school where you trained. The program fees cover everything.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Dustin, December 6, 2011 @ 3:18 PM

    Fellow long-distance runner here…

    Can you discuss the availability of good running routes and trails that a TEFL teacher may expect in China or Japan? What about the availability of gyms and fitness centers? I would imagine gyms/fitness centers options vary greatly according to the size of the city?

    Thank you for all of the wonderful information on your website…

  • By Ted, December 6, 2011 @ 5:41 PM

    Hello Dustin,
    You won’t tend to find organized running routes or trails most places though Japan would probably be the exception. But if you go out looking you will find plenty of places. I run very early in the day, so traffic is rarely a problem for me and I pick the quietest roads and trails I can find. Fitness centers – yes – varies a LOT by city and city size. Sometimes the hygiene of the shower room can be suspect and other places will be spotless. Japan especially will be super clean but make sure you learn the proper etiquette there for those settings. It can be quite specific.
    Good luck!

  • By Sarah, December 15, 2011 @ 6:34 PM

    Do you have any experience with (a specific school – name deleted)
    Do you know if they are generally known as a good TEFL training school? What is there reputation like?
    I have asked them lots of question and they have all been answered favourably. I just want to make sure that I get a good classroom based course.
    I’m hoping to do a course in maybe Beijing. You’ve been a recruiter for China, were you happy to accept their graduates? (If you ever came across them of course).
    Thank you for any information you have about them.

  • By Ted, December 16, 2011 @ 7:13 AM

    Hello Sarah,
    Most programs are just fine and it would be extra-ordinarily rare that an employer would reject a specific program. Your question is a good one and I think I will turn it into a blog post if you don’t mind. The basic idea is a question that everyone has.
    I suspect their program is fine. China in particular – I have never heard of them refusing any programs at all.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Zoe, December 17, 2011 @ 8:18 PM

    Er I kind of have a similar question to Sarah, but have you heard of Will-Excel in Harbin. They offer a four week course and then a 6 month kind of internship placement and after you do 500 hours of teaching practice you get a diploma. Have you heard anything about them?
    Sorry for asking such a similar question, I’m just trying so sort through the conflicting information on the internet.
    Thank you

  • By Ted, December 17, 2011 @ 9:07 PM

    Hello Zoe,
    Probably 99%++ of programs are fine. It is very rare for an employer to reject a certification and even that is usally just if it appears to be a fake. The notion of an employer rejecting you is usually just a scare tactic certain programs use to get you to sign up with them and or to charge more money. Meanwhile they are no different, no better and really offer no more opportunity than most anyone else. As the school for a reference or look to see if they have testimonials and you will likely do just fine.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Brooke, December 23, 2011 @ 1:32 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Fantastic site and information, thank you.

    I’m wondering what you might recommend for me as far as teaching/living abroad is concerned. More specifically, I’d like some advice about being a librarian, and potentially a librarian-teacher-combo abroad.

    I’m currently a public librarian (and have library experience for nearly 4 years now). I’m 30 years old, have a BA and MA in English, as well as the MLIS. I have experience teaching English at the community college level (and as a graduate student, of course). I also do a fair amount of instruction as a librarian–though not in the formal sense–and often work with high school aged and ESL library patrons.

    I’m interested in going anywhere, really, but have more interest in South America and Africa than anywhere else (at least to start). I have a severe case of wanderlust but have never managed to see much of the world outside of the US, Mexico and the UK. Eventually, I hope to build a career–like you have done–abroad. What should I do? Where should I start? I greatly appreciate any advice you can provide.

    Thanks, Brooke

  • By Ted, December 23, 2011 @ 1:42 AM

    Hello Brooke,
    You have some special skills and a super education. You should be sure to use it in your job search. In your position, I would try for a good university/college position at a school that has an MLS/MLIS program. Take a look at this blog post for more details.
    That should get you headed off in good direction with better possibilities than just a regular entry-level language school position.

  • By Doug Walker, January 13, 2012 @ 12:51 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I want to teach abroad but I am weary because I am 3 classes away from my B/A Degree. I finished all my upper division course work but now I’m waiting to finish 3 general education classes at a local Community College. Should this deter me or do you think I could find a job teaching abroad now? I absolutely plan on finishing my degree, but I have the urge to go now. I studied abroad in Spain, not sure if this will help, but all I know is I want to teach somewhere, anywhere, and asap! Any advice will be greatly appreciated.



  • By Ted, January 13, 2012 @ 4:19 PM

    If you want a reason to not stick it out with your degree at the moment, I am very much the wrong guy to ask. I quit school for one semester when I was in university, but I was absolutely terrified that I would not go back. Why? Because I knew many many – not just a few people – who SAID they were going back, but never did. If you have only three classes left, you have no excuse to stop now. Get it done. You’ll go from getting the crappiest teaching jobs – often without legal working papers – to being in the hunt for the better and best. Everybody is weary near the end. I just finished my first ever marathon on Christmas Day at age 60. I was weary near the end. Stick it out, suck it up, get it done. Your life can be full of excuses or full of accomplishments, but not both.
    Do it.
    You asked for advice. I gave it.

  • By Matt, January 16, 2012 @ 2:02 PM

    Hi Ted,

    Thank you so much for making a website like this. I’ve recently been turned on to teaching English abroad from an associate of mine as an alternative to Peace Corps. I’m finishing my BA this May, but would like to complete a TEFL Cert. before then. I did have a question though. My fiance does not have her degree nor is looking to teach English, but would she be able to live with me in my provided accommodations in (Korea, China, etc.) Thanks!

    mfehse89 @

  • By Ted, January 16, 2012 @ 2:05 PM

    Hello Matt,
    Most countries won’t provide a visa to girlfriend/boyfriend/partner unless you are married. Outside of the visa issue, how long someone can stay with you in housing provided by your employer, depends on your employer. You’d have to ask them. It would probably vary a lot from no problem to no.

  • By Darran, January 18, 2012 @ 1:41 AM

    Hey Ted,
    I am currently two years into my six year medical degree (MBBS) and am thinking of taking a gap year to teach abroad and travel. I know this may seem a bit unorthodox but I have come to the conclusion that now is the best time for me to do something like this before life catches up with me. Once I start my clinical years in medical school, it will be another 4-5 years before I will be able to find the time to travel for such a long period of time.

    Question 1:
    I am planning to either to a part time CELTA course or during my next summer break to get the relevant qualifications. I am very willing to invest my time and money in obtaining the CELTA but I would like your opinion on this. Do you think that this is too over-the-top for what I plan to do? Or should i just go for a 60 or 120 hour TEFL certification course?

    Question 2:
    Is a degree compulsory in obtaining a paid job? If yes, are there any volunteer opportunities out there which does not require one? Will volunteer organizations ever cover basic living expenses + accomadation?

    Question 3:
    I grew up learning Mandarin as a second language and can speak it fluently. I can also read/write simplified Chinese. Will having a background in Mandarin be a HUGE plus in getting a job in China?


  • By Ted, January 18, 2012 @ 1:43 AM

    Hello Darran,
    I’ll work on your questions in the order you asked them.
    1. A good 100-120 hour TEFL course is fine if you want to teach for only one year. CELTA, IMO, is not much better than anything else.
    2. For some countries, yes a degree is required. If you want to teach in China, no a degree is not required.
    3. Speaking the local language is useful for you, but not for your employer. They want you to teach in English and always speak in English. Speaking Mandarin might be seen as a small plus by some employers, but other employers might see it as a small negative. Bottom line: They are hiring you for your English skills not for your Mandarin skills.
    I hope that helps!

  • By Hayden Harrower, January 22, 2012 @ 11:05 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Love the website, very useful. I am a sophomore in college studying Communications, looking to teach english abroad for the summer. I was wondering if you knew of any way I could do so without having a BA, and still making a little money, as I am trying to save up for a semester abroad for the ensuing semester. I read before that you are opposed to short teaching contracts, and I do agree with you on the points made, I was just trying to better my self and create a worthwhile experience over the summer. Any suggestions?


  • By Ted, January 22, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

    Hello Hayden,
    Pretty much the countries where you could actually save a bit of money working only during the summer are going to ask for a degree (primarily Japan and Korea). There are some intern positions in China, but you won’t save much. By the time you pay airfare etc. you’ll be out of pocket.
    Wish I had a better answer, but I don’t.

  • By Alison, January 22, 2012 @ 2:11 PM

    Hello Ted- I’m so glad to find this website and thankyou for setting it up to help people find their way in the TEFL maze. I am 43, with no degree or TEFL qualification. I don’t think getting a degree now is viable but I am keen and willing to study for a TEFL. I also have 25 years solid work experience working my way up from clerk to Team Manager, Departmental Manager and now Project Manager for large companies in the UK and NZ, where I now live, and I have coached staff along the way to follow my career path too. I am PMP qualified and am considered ‘degree calibre’, so have the ability just not the qualification (it just wasn’t that common in the UK in the mid-80’s to go to university). My work roles have all encompassed coaching and leadership and I have developed a wide range of interpersonal skill experience. There’s been something burning though, to do ‘more’ and I am very interested in teaching in China. Not necessarily as a new ‘career’ but maybe for a year (but then I came to NZ ‘for a year’ 3 years ago :-) ). I could find a company that takes on volunteers but I would rather do paid work if only to ‘break even’ whilst I am there rather than have to use my savings. I saw your link to Internship Training in China and that looks great…it seems a fairly low cost way to do it and whilst not promising mega-bucks, its not voluntary work either. To me it seems a great way to get experience and a foot in the door for someone like me, and the only pre-requisite appears to be the 40 hour qualification ahead of going? I just wondered whether you had personally experienced that company or had any feedback on it as it does seem fairly inexpensive and ‘no frills’ and I guess I would like some assurance on its credibility & whether the ‘minimal hand-holding’ is sufficient? Also please let me know if you have any other useful advice for me. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience and also for your help. Alison

  • By Ted, January 23, 2012 @ 1:37 PM

    Hi Alison,
    The internship program is okay. Fair warning, I am the Academic Director for that program. The internships come with a job offer to stay a full year. An easy way to do what you want. The program is inexpensive as they don’t advertise a lot and they are tying to help the schools get good people. Credibility is okay, hand-holding is minimal, but most people don’t really need it.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Kathryn, January 27, 2012 @ 12:49 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks in advance for your time!
    I have a question about teaching at the university/college level. Is it sufficient to have a Master’s in Applied Linguistics/TESL or would you recommend having a CELTA/TESL/TEFL as well as the related Master’s?
    I currently have a BA, experience in banking/business and 2 years teaching adults in Japan. I’m trying to decide whether I should do the Master’s or the Master’s and certification.

    Thanks again! Kathryn

  • By Ted, January 27, 2012 @ 5:15 AM

    Hello Kathryn,
    An MA or MATESOL or similar is a far far superiour qualification over something like CELTA or even DELTA. The certifications are short courses built on method. The degree is a far deeper look at how things work and what to do about them and how to solve problems. Without hesitation, I recommend the graduate degree, every time I am asked. Better colleges and universities will not be interested in the CELTA, they will want that deeper education that a grad degree offers.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Kathryn, January 27, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for your quick reply. Your insight definitely helps.
    It gets confusing sometimes when the websites ask for the MA and then also list a certification. I can understand the need for the certification if the MA is in Education or Applied Linguistics but if it is a MA TESOL the certification seems like it would be somewhat of an overlap and I didn’t understand the need, particularly when one has teaching experience to account for practical hours.

    Have a great day! Kathryn

  • By Ted, January 27, 2012 @ 10:40 AM

    Thello Kathryn,
    The MATESOL is a far superior qualification over any type of certificate. Some pretty basic language schools will not know what an MATESOL is and that is likely the problem.

  • By Kristy, January 31, 2012 @ 7:38 AM

    Hi! WOW… Well done on all the info.
    My questions are for Thailand!
    My husband and I were about a day away from paying an agent a large sum of money to ‘guarantee’ us a placement! After researching this agent, and only found negative, we have changed our minds and decided to travel to Thailand and do a tesol course there. Do you reccomend teflplus? Also we do not have any type of dagree but only plan on going for a year. Is that a problem? I hope you can help.
    Thank you in advance*

  • By Ted, January 31, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

    Never, never, never pay an agent for a job in Thailand. Once paid, you will not likely hear from them again. Having solved that, you need to know that a bachelor’s degree is required to obtain legal working papers in Thailand. Try China or Cambodia, no degree required. TEFL Plus is fine – most schools are pretty good.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Shirley, February 5, 2012 @ 8:27 AM

    HI Ted, thinking about making a career change, and was wondering if you have any advice. I am a 46 year old female and am about to enrol for an online TEFL certificate. What are my best options for finding work. I don’t have a degree but am very enthusiastic and a real quick learner. I actually wanted to enrol for the BA in TESOL in Thailand but they have, unfortunately, postponed the course indefinitely. is there anywhere else int eh world that offers the same sort of course?

  • By Ted, February 5, 2012 @ 8:30 AM

    Hi Shirley,
    You might want to check the TEFL program at Chiang Mai university. I believe they have a degree program tied into TEFL training. That would probably be an excellent program. Super way to get your feet wet.
    I hope that helps.

  • By John, February 10, 2012 @ 2:41 AM

    Hi Ted, My wife and I are wanting to go to Korea and teach. We both have BS degrees in education and also Masters in another field. We both have 2 or more years experience teaching in public schools. I am 56 and she will be 59 in a few months. We have spent a couple of weeks in Korea recently on vacation and loved it. I am looking for any advice on making this change. We would like to start in late summer. Thank you.

  • By Ted, February 10, 2012 @ 11:05 AM

    Hello John,
    Your age will be a bit of a problem, but you might consider two things. One, teaching at first tier international schools where they will greatly value your previous experience and probably pay you well for it. Check out for information on that. Another possibility would be universities in Korea. They don’t tend to advertise much and you might do best just visiting them with resume in hand or doing a mass mailing of your resume. Take a look at: Most language schools are looking for younger people (right or wrong – it affects me too). But universities and internations schools are nicer and more reliable employers anyway. Don’t forget that for international resumes (particularly Asia), you need to include your photo. I hope that helps. Ted

  • By Marc Celley, March 1, 2012 @ 12:47 AM

    Both me and my fiance have only associates degrees(her in Cabinetmaking, and me in Graphic Communications.Would we be able to get a job together?

  • By Ted, March 1, 2012 @ 1:27 AM

    Hi Marc,
    China and Cambodia both accept people without degrees. Usually it is possible to get a job at the same school as a friend or spouse.

  • By Lauren, March 4, 2012 @ 6:32 AM

    Hi Ted,
    My name is Lauren and I am fresh out of college. I am certified to teach Early Childhood education by the state of NY. I need to pay back student loans and I am looking to make the most money possible. Do you have any insight into teaching in UAE? Do I need a TEFL or Celta certificate even thought I am certified?

  • By Ted, March 4, 2012 @ 8:48 AM

    Hi Lauren,
    Almost all jobs in the Middle East – TEFL or international schools will require a couple of years experience. But not always. You would do better to look for work in international schools – try for the most help. Yes, you are certified in Early Childhood Education, but that is not TEFL. If you apply for a TEFL related job in the Middle East, expect that they will want a TEFL certification.
    I hope that helps.

  • By annalisa, March 4, 2012 @ 9:26 AM

    Hi Ted I m looking for women that would like teach, help as tutor at a camp in Italy for 3 weeks maybe 4 it s important that they like children ,natur sports I don t neccessary need certification or expierence there is one week training and 2 with the children , I train and assist during the camp- ..the camp has been running for 18 years in a beautifull location on lake of Garda italy have you any to send or can u tell me where should I post pay is 800 euro net for 3 weeks …thanks

  • By Candice, March 8, 2012 @ 4:24 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I am 22 years old and have been doing some serious research on teaching abroad. I am having trouble figuring out which research to trust, etc. I’m looking at teaching in China, Japan, South Korea, or Thailand as they typically have higher demand. Do you have any blog entries, or insight on how to narrow my focus and choose a country? I’d like to make enough money to live off of, experience and see the country, and be safe. Also, should I go with a program like CIEE or languagecorps and pay a fee to have them place me? Is this necessary? If not, what are the best methods of searching for credible jobs? I don’t have my TEFL certification yet, and am unsure what companies are best to get this through. I’ve read a lot of contradicting research and feel like I haven’t really gotten anywhere with figuring out what is best for me, even though I’ve spent a lot of time doing research. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

  • By Ted, March 8, 2012 @ 4:31 AM

    Hello Candice,
    Both Thailand and China are going to require a TEFL certification in order to obtain legal working papers. Japan is beginning to ask for TEFL certs as well. Language Crops – recruiters – all are options to help you get what you want. Most TEFL schools are just fine. Safety? Japan and S.Korea are both super safe compared to most Western countries.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Miles Macdonald, March 13, 2012 @ 6:19 PM

    Hi Ted
    After a career in the Health Sevice (Finance) I was made redundant at a critical age and have since been unable to get back into health finance again, maybe an age thing !! I am 55 in April and would really like to do something completely different, not sitting at a computer be relating to real people. Is it too late to get a career teaching EFL, hope to be working for the next 10 years ?
    I have an Economics degree, and would like to do either the TEFL or CELTA qualification, is there much difference between them and does one give better prospects of work than the other ? I would like to teach in SE Asia as have spent a lot of holidays in different coutries there over the last 15 years.
    Would appreciate you advice.
    many thanks

  • By Ted, March 14, 2012 @ 6:46 AM

    Hello Miles,
    At 55, it is not to late to get started, but – yes – you better get started now as it becomes more difficult to get started every year beyond about 55. TEFL or CELTA? Most schools won’t care either way. CELTA is the name brand of the world, but you tend to pay a lot more for a CELTA course. As most schools don’t care about the name brands, most people go for a generic TEFL certification. China, Japan and Korea (three of the world’s four largest TEFL markets) all accept online courses – so that is a good option as well if you are on a budget.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Matt, March 27, 2012 @ 9:15 AM

    Hello, Todd. I am a Penn State student and I am currently working toward a BA in English. Can I teach aboard with that or will I still need to do the TEFL course? Also, do you recommend Argentina as a palce to do TEFL? I would like to become fluent in Spanish and I hear that Buenos Aires is one of the most incredible cities in the world. Many thanks – Matt

  • By Ted, March 27, 2012 @ 9:20 AM

    Hello Todd,
    You can probably land a decent TEFL job with just your degree. However, your students will be paying some serious money to sit in your class. You might want to learn how to deliver what they are paying for. Argentina? I don’t know – I’ve never lived/worked in Latin America – only Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
    I hope that helps.

  • By charlotte, March 31, 2012 @ 3:17 AM

    hi there, i am 16 years old and i have reacently passed the standard and advanced uk tefl course,many of the jobs on their website are for ages 21 +, i wanted to get a summer job teaching english either in england or spain in a summer camp. is this possible? and do you know any contacts that i can tak to ?

  • By Ted, March 31, 2012 @ 8:29 PM

    Hi Charlotte,
    Congratulations on doing so much and wanting to get to work! That said, I am not personally aware of any programs that hire people under the age of 18. I am sure they must exist in the UK, especially if you look at preschool or kindergarten programs where a high level of energy is needed to keep those kids going.
    Don’t give up! Keep looking and let up know how it goes.

  • By Theresa, April 3, 2012 @ 11:17 PM

    Hello I need you help i am a Jamaican who wants to teach English as a Foreign Language it appears that people with degree and EU nationals are the most favorable choice could you assist me with other options please.

    Thank you.

  • By Ted, April 3, 2012 @ 11:40 PM

    Hello Theresa,
    Most employers prefer native speakers from what they would consider to be the traditional English speaking countries – rightly or wrongly. There are certainly still job opportunties for you – though you may need to interview in person to oversome concerns from schools that might wonder if you are a native speaker – or not.
    I hope that helps.

  • By nick, April 7, 2012 @ 2:02 AM

    fantastic website!

    i was just wondering – i read your article on studying before beginning a career of TEFL. Is that in related degrees or including unrelated degrees? im currently studying for a Masters in Music, however the cost is becoming prohobitive for me, and im wondering wether to just stop now and begin studying for TEFL, or CELTA, and then hopefully a career of teaching english abroad!


  • By Ted, April 7, 2012 @ 7:34 PM

    Countries that want a degree are usually happy with any bachelor’s degree. The major subject does not usually matter. You would do fine. Go for it!

  • By Jeff, May 13, 2012 @ 1:42 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m a 41 year old guy with a MS in Educational Leadership, 2 grad certificates in Training and Development, and undergrad degrees in healthcare (Respiratory Therapy). I have a strong background now in healthcare IT and corporate training and development. That being said, im a little bored in this career and miss classroom teaching (previously done in healthcare).

    I’d love your advice on where to pursue opportunities. I have an opportunity to do either a TESOL or a CELTA program here in the States this summer, but your advice to others is to go to a country and earn this there. I have an intermediate level speaking proficiency of Spanish and I would be interested in Latin America.

    My one hesitancy is leaving and having student loans to continue paying on here in the US.


    Glad I found your site!



  • By Ted, May 13, 2012 @ 5:24 AM

    Hi Jeff,
    If your student loans are holding you back, go somewhere that you can make a decent savings per month, for a newbie in the profession that would likely be Korea. Get some good experience then cherry-pick a good job in Latin America. International hospitals, medical/nursing schools/colleges/universities etc would be good places to begin your search. For a place like Korea you might have to start at a language school, but focus on teaching adults. TEFL is like any job, for entry level positions you’ll need to sometimes take that less than perfect job.
    But in Korea you can easily SAVE US$1000 a month. Almost impossible to do at entry level for any other type of work.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Jeff, May 13, 2012 @ 7:55 AM

    Hey Ted!

    I have read through your sites & many others–but they haven’t been as…transparent AND as encouraging about the TEFL industry.

    I have been in & out of the job market due to some health issues related to diabetes. Things seem to be in really good shape now. Still overweight, but that’s improving as well. I am 50.

    I have a Master of Arts in Religion, ordained Chaplain, and my experience has ranged from mental health therapist, (private)high school teacher, cab driver, convenience store clerk, webmaster, network administrator –“professionally” i.e. paid. Scouting for 30+ years, youth ministry volunteer.

    I am also a veteran (Army) and was stationed in Germany for 2 years in addition to several stations stateside.

    I studied German in high school (7-12th), Chinese in college, a bit of Spanish in Germany while there, and Greek/Hebrew while in seminary.

    It will take a bit of reworking, but I should have a pretty solid resume regarding teaching experience.

    I have seen your recommendations for China & S. Korea as well as parlaying experience and education for business english, university, etc “as opposed to” hagwon or public schools.

    I like the idea of saving money rather than spending it all on lavish lifestyles.

    I do not have a TEFL certification, although I have heard that the TEFL BootCamp is pretty thorough!

    I have potential contacts in both China and Korea. Having a bit of familiarity with Mandarin would be helpful dealing with life outside of the classroom, and I have wanted to learn tai chi for ages! On the other hand, I would like to maintain my affiliation with Scouting and could easily find either a BSA troop (near a military base) or ROK troop to help.

    Being a TEFL newbie, I wonder whether I should see what I can find on my own, say at a university, or look for a good recruiter (like Footprints–their site looks pretty solid.)

    I am a bit concerned about the age thing, although I understand that it’s improving.

    I would appreciate your thoughts.

  • By Ted, May 13, 2012 @ 8:34 AM

    Hello Jeff,
    At age 50 a TEFL certification will help you overcome most of the ageism that exists in some TEFL markets and help you compete. There are jobs that focus more on teaching adults than kids and you might want to head in that direction. Recruiters are usually fine, just pay attention and don’t assume they are always working in your best interest. Do anything and everything to increase your opportunities and advantage – that includes a TEFL cert, recruiter, personal contact and anything else that might help. Your age is not so advanced. A university position in China (if you have a TEFL cert) will be easy to arrange.
    I hope that helps.

  • By Zanee, May 13, 2012 @ 11:18 PM

    Hello Ted!
    I won’t be the first one telling you this website is really helpful:-D
    I’d like to leave my email address here since my questions are more private, although if they will be of any help, I can paste them here.
    Thank you.

  • By Ted, May 14, 2012 @ 4:37 AM

    Hi Zanee,
    Unless your questions are extremely personal, please ask directly on the comments form. Usually at least ten other people will have exactly the same questions and another hundred will have similar or related questions. So you help everyone by asking. So – please ask!

  • By Chris, May 14, 2012 @ 8:54 AM

    Hey Ted! How are you? I found your website while surfing TELF. I have a bachelors degree in management and currently pursuing a masters degree in Educational Technology Leadership. I also am a single father of a 6 year old girl and she lives with me. She will be traveling with me. I have no prior teaching experience but i would love to teach english in other countries. I dont particular like EU. I like the Thailand, China, and all of central & south american countries. Can you give me any advise on how i can teach english abroad? Am i qualified to teach even though i only have a bachelors degree? I dont have any certifications either. Could you please give me some advise. I wouldnt mind teaching k-6 but i prefer teaching 6-12 and adults and even college.

    thanks in advance! I love your site!

    Las Vegas

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