- Teach English to speakers of other languages in a range of settings
- Great opportunities to travel to exciting locations
- Work can be short term or part time and you'll need a TEFL qualification
As an EFL teacher you'll teach English to people whose first or main language isn't English. You could also specialise in teaching English for particular purposes, like business or entry to higher education.
- Prepare and teach language lessons and activities
- Produce learning resources
- Encourage talking to develop language and understanding
- Set and mark tests and exercises
- Organise social and cultural activities, like sports, social events and trips
- Keep learner records
You could work at a language school, at a college or from home. Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.
EFL teachers in language schools in the UK are often on short-term or sessional contracts and may be paid by the hour or week. You can get higher pay in further and higher education, but sometimes you'll need a teaching qualification as well as a TEFL qualification.
Your hours will vary depending on your employer or the type of teaching you do. Some jobs involve evening and weekend work, or intensive courses over the summer holidays.
Salaries in overseas language schools vary widely from country to country. Some companies offer incentives like accommodation and the cost of return flights, while others take off living expenses and health insurance costs. You should check what's included and the cost of living in a country before judging the value of a salary. You'd also need to know if you have to pay for anything in advance, like visa fees, even if it will be refunded later on.
This role would be ideal for someone with strong spoken and written communication skills, good listening skills, confidence and a lively personality, patience and a good sense of humour, the ability to get on well with people of all ages and from different backgrounds and cultures, the ability to adapt your teaching style to suit your students, and creativity to plan lessons that are both practical and enjoyable.
You might find that terms like EFL, TESL, TESOL, ESOL and TEFL are used. These are all different names for teaching English to people who don't have it as a first language.
There are no set requirements, but employers may expect you to have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. To be accepted onto a TEFL course, you'll usually need to be at least 18, have an excellent standard of English and have at least 2 A levels.
Some employers may also expect you to have a degree or postgraduate course that gives you qualified teacher status (QTS). Useful subjects include: English, linguistics, modern foreign languages or education studies.
You can take Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses at colleges and private training providers all over the world. They vary widely in cost and length. You can do a full-time course lasting 4 weeks or 120 hours, a part-time course lasting 11, 16 weeks or 36 weeks or a distance learning course where you may need to arrange your own teaching practice.
The most common TEFL qualifications are Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (Cambridge CELTA) and Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Trinity CertTESOL).
You could get experience as a paid language assistant in schools abroad. You do not need Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualifications for this, but you'll need to have completed at least 2 years in higher education. The British Council has information about working abroad as an English language assistant.
You may need foreign language skills for some jobs.
You can also work as an EFL teacher in further education. You'll usually need a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, which you can do through professional development. After the Diploma, you can get qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS). To work in schools in the UK, you'll usually need to be a qualified teacher.
To be a qualified EFL teacher you'll need to be at least 20 years old and pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults.
With experience, you may be able to progress to a management position in a commercial language school or a college. You could also move into private tuition or teacher training. You could open your own language school or write EFL learning materials, online resources and apps.