Teaching English Abroad

Considering teaching English abroad? Learn about how to get started with the right training and find job opportunities.

About Teaching Abroad

Thinking about teaching English abroad? You should be aware that qualifications and preparation vary widely. In some cases, your B.A. in English is sufficient. In other cases, employers may require additional training such as a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language certificate, or a Master's degree in English, linguistics, or a related area of study. For example, some private language academies require less preparation, while colleges, universities, and international schools will usually require more. Market trends will also determine what a potential employer will ask of a competitive applicant.

Having a Master's in Teaching English as a Second Language provides the best preparation for those of you planning on teaching more than 1 or 2 years. Our department offers a two-year Master's program, as do other universities.

If you are planning to teach for a few years while traveling abroad, you may often secure a job without the master's degree or graduate coursework. However, it may be helpful to complete coursework such as:

  • ENGL 255: Introduction to the English Language
  • ENGL 355: English Sociolinguistics
  • ENGL 406: Modern English Grammar
  • ENGL 455: Introduction to TESL

If you cannot take these courses, or if you want additional training, the UA Center for English as Second Language offers non-credit certificates in Teaching English as a Second Language that can be taken online or in person during summer, for around $1,000.

Experiences in teaching or tutoring English Language Learners may also be very helpful. If you have an opportunity to tutor these English learners, assist in a classroom, or volunteer at a community organization, you will strengthen your application. Some places to begin gaining volunteering experiences are local organizations like Literacy Connects

Structured Programs

There are a number of structured programs recruiting new graduates for teaching positions abroad. Many provide orientations, trainings, and other supports. These positions typically cover the living expenses as well as providing a modest stipend.

Other Resources

Transitions Abroad – available from many libraries and international newsstands. This magazine often carries articles on the Teaching English as a Foreign Language job market as well as other topics relating to overseas work, life, and travel. The January/February issue each year concentrates on teaching English in a foreign country.

Dave's ESL Cafe – this is the biggest and best website for English as Foreign Language teachers. The Job Center section contains many useful pages, including jobs postings, job discussion forum, and teacher training discussion forum.

GoAbroad.com – contains directory for teaching positions around the world – educational opportunities, paid and volunteer international teaching positions, searchable by country.

ESL.net – this is a distributor of English as a Second Language (ESL), general educational development, and foreign language training software, videos, audio, handheld translation devices, and textbooks. They also have a list of ESL resources.

TheAsianLife.com – lists number of resources and opportunities in South Korea.

GoOverseas – lists English Language Learner/English as a Second Language teaching jobs and other resources.