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This blog is worth nothing if it doesn’t answer questions that are important to your decision making.

Request a specific topic of interest to you or that you think helps address the issues others in your position may have.Ā  All are welcome.Ā  I will get to them and address each – as soon as possible.

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72 thoughts on “Request a Topic”

  1. I have a BS in Management and a MS in Administration. I have not taken a ESL course yet and am trying to decide between TEFL and CELTA. How do my degrees stack up and what is your recommendation on course type? thanks.

  2. Hi Edward,
    With your education you should probably start at a college or university. Often these jobs want some previous experience, so China or somewhere that will let you start on that path with no experience is a good idea. TEFL or CELTA? In most of the world it doesn’t matter. People who sell the CELTA or took it would like to convince you that nothing else is useful. But China, Korea, Japan and even Thailand – the world’s four largest EFL markets – will accept either. Your power is in your graduate degree. It does the heavy lifting for landing the job you want. A certification just helps you get the method and will make you a better teacher. In some places you can even teach business classes in English. Enjoy!

  3. Hi Ted,

    I am 55 years old and the kids have flown the coop, leaving me in the enviable position of being able to travel and experience other cultures and hopefully put something back. I have recently finished an MA in Visual Culture (2011). In addition to which I have a BA in Media Design(1st class Hons)and a degree in Photography. My teaching qualifications give me Associate Teaching Status (CTLLS) and I am enrolled on a CELTA course which starts after Easter. My current teaching practise is two days a week teaching Creative IT on a non-validated course. Furthermore, I have taken every opportunity to Teach or act as an Arts Facilitator over the past seven years, which was the time it took to accrue the listed qualifications. Any advice on where to go and what type institution I should be pitching at would be most welcome. Or should I hang around cold and dreary Blighty for another year and pick up Full Teaching Status via a PGCE. Though to do this and as indicated in my introduction, age is not on my side. Thanks Ted.

  4. Hi Dave,

    A PGCE is nice, but probably a majority of schools that might be interested in hiring you would not really know what it is (I have one too) and would ask to see your TEFL certification. If it was me, I’d get to work as soon as you finish your certification. Your age is going to be a bit of a hindrance and will only become more so, thus the sooner you get out here and start working and building a relevant CV, the better you will do. BUT, I’d probably also try to go ahead and get that PGCE, possibly through a good distance program, while you are teaching at your first job. It can only help. Go get ’em! Ted

  5. Hi Ted, Thanks for the advice. Advice that I intend to follow, and if all things go to plan I should be out there come September. Just one further thing, would you advise that I look at the Colleges and Universities in China and try and bring my academic qualifications into play? Or is the career route through the language schools?

    Ultimately I would like to work for one of the International schools possible in Malaysia. But I feel that for the moment my lack of teaching experience would prohibit my entry. For me to realise this goal, and as you say, I need first to start working and building a relevant CV.

    Any further advice would be much appreciated.


  6. Hi Dave,
    You are absolutely right. The university/college track is the best path for you. Language schools tend to want younger teachers and universities like a bit of gray hair. The academic settings will also value your educational qualifications more than a language school. For some help read this blog post Ageism in TEFL Sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck!

  7. Hi Ted,

    I’m under 30, a native speaker of English (somewhat embarrassingly, it’s my only language), have finished my entire primary-secondary education in a British school, finished my communication degree from an Australian University last year, am currently learning Japanese and have a yearning to live and teach English in Japan. Sounds great right?

    My problem is, I am ethnically Chinese, and am a resident of Malaysia (hey, that’s where Dave wants to work!), where although English is an official language, it is not *the* official language. We have JET but it’s very token, and the embassy says that Japan hasn’t asked for any positions from here for years.

    What do you think my chances of actually getting a job there are? Do you think my Asian looks will be a problem, or my nationality? I had considered Korea as well, but apparently the door is completely shut on that one if you’re not from one of the ‘western’ nations.

    I forgot to add that Iā€™m seriously considering completing a CELTA course, and wondering if that would improve my chances any? (being a commonwealth country, the British Council offers fairly full services including CELTA)


  8. Hi Mark,
    The problem you are facing is very common and usually I suggest that you interview on the scene to overcome the issue. Several reasons: First the interview will have a more difficult time saying “NO” face to face; second, they will know you are a fluent speaker and won’t have to wonder about it and; third, you might well arrive just when they really need someone (hiring from overseas takes a long time to get someone on board and there is a drop out rate of people who never arrive of 10-20%). You might also take a look at university type positions and or international schools. Both are more focused on credentials and less on the ethnicity of the applicant. Will a CELTA help you? Probably a little bit. Take every advantage you can.
    I hope that helps.

  9. Hi Ted, just came across your site & I just wanted to say thanks for the informative & honest advice. It’s also great to see that your posts are fresh as a lot of other sites haven’t posted in years, which leaves you questioning the validity of their advice.
    I have a question for you (& you’re probably going to roll your eyes because it’s a totally newbie question that has been asked numerous times, but I’m looking for up-to-date answers):
    I am 33, female & living in South Africa. I am looking to do a TEFL course & teach English in an Asian country. I don’t have a degree however, but I do have 13 years of work experience spanning 3 industries.
    In your opinion, how likely am I to get a good job teaching English &/or do you think it is probable that I can successfully approach companies in those industries (or specialised training institutes in those fields)?

  10. Hello Desiree,
    Sorry for the slow response to your comment, especially after your kind words! In China you an probably land a decent job without a degree. Cambodia also. Teaching in a specialized (or ESP) area is always a good idea, but often those employers will want you to also have a little bit of teaching experience first. Though not always! Chase after both. One thing about TEFL is never say never. Almost anything is possible.
    I hope that helps.

  11. Hi Ted,

    One thing I was not able to find an answer to, is how to go about having a significant other go with you abroad. I’m in the process of finishing a BA, and would like to teach abroad when I finish. My boyfriend does not have a degree and is not able to work towards one due to complicated financial issues. We’ve been together for four years, and we’ve discussed marriage, but aren’t in a big rush to get married. Given that he doesn’t have a degree, although he is interested in teaching as well, would we have to get married for him to be able to accompany me if he cannot find work? I’m most interested in teaching in either Japan or Korea. I know the likelihood of him being able to get a teaching job in Japan is pretty much nil, but what about Korea? Also, I have ADD and take generic Ritalin. How easy is it to find this sort of medication in Asia?

  12. Hello Kristin,
    Taking a partner (to whom you are not married) with you is difficult or impossible if they do not qualify for some sort of employment and/or visa in the country where you are going. Both Japan and Korea are going to want a degree to obtain legal working papers as a teacher. There are sometimes special programs for people who have a two-year degree. The medication? I don’t know you might check on various expatriate discussion boards and ask them if your meds are available or not.

  13. Hi Everyone,
    I am a primary school teacher and am planning on taking a Tefl course during the summer prior to hopefully living and working in Thailand or Vietnam. My question is, which course provider do I go for? There is so much choice, how do I know which are good and which are not?

  14. Hi Wayne,
    Most course providers are fine. Your best option is to take your TEFL training in the country and/or even in the very city and area where you wish to find employment. If you do that, the school will likely have local contacts to help you find a job right away. A good school will often even have employers dropping by looking for newly trained teachers. An additional bonus is that you would be doing your observed teaching practice with students similar to those you would work with on the job – so you will already be familiar with their common pronunciation and grammar errors.
    Good luck!

  15. Hi Ted,

    I am from New Zealand and am about to graduate with a Bachelor of Education (Primary). I have also just completed a Global TESOL certificate.
    I am only 21, fresh out of university, but I have high hopes šŸ™‚ I am really wanting to teach in the UAE. Not just the money, but also the culture and atmosphere appeal to me.
    My question is, am I being realistic? I realise alot of jobs require experience, but I believe a lot of determination and passion can balance this out. Do you have any advice to offer on this matter?

    Also, I’m really enjoying your site! There is some really valuable inforation.

    Thanks šŸ™‚

  16. Hello Melissa,
    Most TEFL jobs in the Middle East – UAE included – prefer a couple of years of experience. Another option would be international schools located there, but they too, tend to prefer experience. It doesn’t hurt to try though and if you don’t have much luck, try a couple years in Korea or China before you head to the UAE.

  17. Hi Ted,

    I have a tesol certificate but no degree. Could you list some countries that will accept me?


  18. Ted–

    Great stuff! I have been doing a lot of research about teaching abroad and I love the advice and information you give on your website. I was hoping you could help out just a little…I am 22, have my BA with 1 year of non-teaching work expirence. I am ready to teach abroad–I’d hop on a plane tomorrow if I could!

    Given my age, education, and lack of tefl certificate, it seems from my research that my best bet would be to go to South Korea. I would love to get certified in South Korea before I teach, but I am a bit confused about what I need to do visa-wise, and how I’ll get one once I’m there. Also, do you have any recommendations for programs, schools, recruiters, etc? Or do you even feel that it’s necessary to get the certificate? I’ve been doing a lot of research, but I’d love to get your opinion too!

  19. Hello Laura,
    Korea is one of the few countries where it is better that you apply from abroad (China is another) – your home county. There are lots of things you will need to do and to provide for your legal visa and working papers that are easier done while in your own country. Korea will accept an online certificate if you are pressed for money. Is it required? No, but due to the high unemployment in the USA, UK, Ireland, etc – it is becoming a much more competitive jobs market. And it is a good idea to have at least a rudimentary idea about how to teach English as a Foreign language effectively. Most recruiters and most schools are just fine. Pay attention as it goes and if anything doesn’t seem correct, ask questions. Your potential employer and/or recruiter will guide you on the visa process. Korea has a more difficult visa process than most places, but they’ve had a lot of trouble with fake degrees and even people with serious criminal records.
    I hope that helps.

  20. Hello Ted!

    I’m in the same boat as matt(two posts up)and I was wondering which country is safest. Cambodia, China and Vietnam look like wonderful places but I’ve heard that none of them are safe choices do to crime and shady contracts.

  21. Hello Dru,
    Most of China and Vietnam are probably safer than where you are right now. Most schools are okay, the idea of “shady contracts” is quite overdone. If you are a valuable employee, no employer is going to burn you. Their business depends on you and your good work. A lot of what you read on the internet are sour grapes from people who got fired for often very justifiable reasons. But the employers don’t get to defend themselves. At least that’s what my 20 years in schools would indicate.
    Any of those three countries are fine. Don’t get involved with drugs, stay out of dark alleys and generally you will be very safe.

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