Teaching English as a second language in a foreign country is an increasingly popular option as it is an accessible inexpensive way to travel, and the earnings can be quite good depending on the country. (South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are among the wealthier options). In many cases, schools also pay for travel and accommodations.
How to find a teaching job?
The most common way to find employment is to be hired through an agency or ESL (English as a second language) recruitment firm. In order to make the best choice, you are encouraged to investigate each company thoroughly and speak to ESL instructors in the field. If you tap into your network you may discover there are people close to you who have taught ESL abroad. They can share their experience with you, provide valuable advice and maybe even refer you to a school.
We recommend you reading the book Teaching English Abroad for preparation. The last edition is available at CaPS. Topics covered in this book:
- What ESL training and qualification are available.
- How to find a teaching job.
- How to prepare before departing to another country.
Some countries require TESL certification or experience but many only require you to be a native English speaker and have post secondary education. TESL Certification programs vary according to length and cost. You can opt to take an intensive 4-6 week program locally or overseas, or pursue undergraduate or graduate studies in TESL. For more information, please consult the Part 1 (Training) of this book: Teaching English Abroad
Find a course
If you are looking for a TESL/TEFL/TESOL course, please consult the following resources:
- McGill School of Continuing Studies: 4-week Certificate in TESOL program
- Department of Integrated Studies in Education: Graduate Certificate TESL
- TESL Canada: The site provides a list of recognized programs across Canada.
- Oxford Seminars: TESOL/TESL certification courses across Canada.
- Verge's TESL Directory: This site provides classroom-based and online certificate courses.
The following resources provides a list of job boards, short-term teaching opportunities and recruitment agencies.
Where to start?
MyWorldAbroad (Registration with your McGill email is required)
This database provides 90+ teaching English abroad job boards, resources and tips you should know before going abroad. Once you are logged in, visit What Do You Want To Do? -> Teach English Abroad for a list of resources.
Short-term teaching jobs
Are you thinking to gain some teaching experience in summer? The option to teach English in short-term period is limited as most language schools look to hire full-time teachers for one year contracts. However, you can still find opportunities by working or volunteering in summer language camps. For more information, read this article at International TEFL Academy: Can I teach English abroad in the summer?
- For a list of short-term teaching job opportunities: Short-term teaching organizations
- For a list of ESL or language camps and schools: ESL camps | Our Kids ESL Schools
ESL teaching job boards
- TIE - The International Educator (E-Newspaper & Job Board)
International teaching jobs posted by schools around the world. To obtain the full access of the job postings, please follow the instruction on this page: Career Databases & Periodicals and look for "TIE - The International Educator" online periodicals.
- For a list of job boards and recruitment or placement agencies: Teaching English Jobs
- Before you sign up for any ESL program, it is a good idea to read some reviews: ESL Review
Articles of interest
Below are some key information and advice for for ESL teachers planning to work abroad.
- Quick Facts by Region
TESL job markets and their demands in the different regions of the world.
- Country Guides
Key advice for Canadians planning to teach languages in popular countries - Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.