Ciara Kenny

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Teaching abroad: what are the options?

Gregory Rogan of Expat Teaching Recruitment shares his advice for professional and TEFL teachers

Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 16:45


Gregory Rogan

Teaching abroad is no longer just an option for new university graduates interested in backpacking and teaching their way around the world. The industry has matured to offer some great opportunities for qualified schoolteachers, professional English language teachers, as well as for those without previous experience who wish to travel and teach in a foreign country.

At Expat Teaching Recruitment, we work with a number of overseas education employers and we thought it might be helpful to share some of our observations and advice for those interested in teaching abroad.

International schoolteachers

There is a growing number of international schools being built and operated in various regions around the globe. In the past ten years, the UAE has seen a huge increase not only in the number of schools available, but also the quality of education these schools are offering.

Similar to the Middle East, Asia is witnessing a boom of international schools with China and Vietnam expecting a strong need for teachers in the coming decade. With any developing region experiencing an influx of expat workers, there will continue to be a need for quality education for their dependents.

With a BA degree and a Higher Diploma in Education (or a Bachelors of Education) along with two to three years teaching experience, you should find yourself qualified for most available opportunities.

Professional English language teachers

Private language schools, company education facilities and international universities all have a demand for professional English language teachers. Positions are available throughout Europe, but there are also some very attractive packages on offer further afield, many of which provide long-term job security.

Depending on the employer, teachers can be offered free medical insurance, housing allowances, and round trip flights to their home country each year. For the more experienced teachers, the Middle East offers higher-end packages, while there are also very good positions available in China, Japan, and South Korea at corporate and university level. Experienced teachers are also sought in Central and South America, but this market is still maturing.

To work with the most reputable employers, teachers should have a minimum of four years teaching experience, a BA degree plus CELTA certificate, and, in some cases, a Masters degree in TESOL or English.

New graduate/first time English teachers

As for new university graduates interested in teaching English abroad, we strongly recommend completing a basic TEFL course, a prerequisite for a job with the better employers. That said, those with a BA degree and without a TEFL certificate will still be able to find teaching opportunities throughout Asia.

A number of employers will only count your teaching experience post TEFL qualification, so it’s advised to get qualified as early in your career as possible if you intend to teach English for more than a year.

First-time teachers interested in teaching English overseas should focus their efforts on South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, where the most structured programmes exist for incoming teachers without previous experience.

Greg Rogan is the director of Expat Teaching Recruitment, an Irish recruitment company placing teachers and new university graduates with schools overseas. The company also owns and operates TeacherPort, a free resource for teachers to connect directly with overseas education employers to find suitable teaching jobs abroad.