TEFL Teacher Career Guide

Are you looking for a rewarding career that lets you travel and make a difference? Becoming a TEFL teacher might be the perfect fit for you!

In this TEFL Teacher Career Guide, you’ll learn about the qualifications, training, job requirements, salary, and outlook for TEFL teachers. Plus, discover resources for getting started and tips for succeeding.

Read on to find out what it takes to become a successful TEFL teacher.

TEFL Teacher Job Description and Requirements

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and an active teaching license to become a TEFL teacher in most international K-12 schools. Private tutors may only need a degree and TEFL certification.

Either way, you’ll be teaching students how to communicate in English, such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. You’ll create lesson plans, engage students creatively, and monitor progress through evaluations.

TEFL teachers might teach students of varying levels and abilities in the same classroom, so you should be flexible and resilient. Teaching experience is always a plus.

You may have to work after hours or on weekends, and private tutors must factor in travel time.

Skills and Qualities of Effective TEFL Teachers

You need to be well-organized, resourceful, and comfortable with public speaking to be an effective TEFL teacher. Creativity is also essential for engaging learners of all ages. Having a natural curiosity and openness about other cultures can be beneficial, and resilience and flexibility are necessary to navigate challenges in a new environment.

Here are three key skills to succeed as a TEFL teacher:

  1. Good organizational skills

  2. Ability to think creatively

  3. Cultural awareness and openness

ESL Degrees and Programs

Gaining an ESL degree or participating in a program can help you develop the skills you need to become an effective TEFL teacher, and also give you an edge when applying for a job. Various degrees and programs provide training in teaching English to non-native speakers. Some focus on specific age groups or teaching contexts. Research and choose a reputable program to maximize your career potential.

Degree/Program Focus Benefits
Bachelor’s Degree General ESL Job prospects, skills
Master’s Degree Advanced ESL Job prospects, knowledge
Specialized Courses Specific context Specialized skills
Certificate Programs Teaching methods Certification, job prospects

Becoming a TEFL Teacher

To become a TEFL teacher, you’ll need to follow a series of steps:

  1. Obtain a degree: Get a bachelor’s degree, preferably in education, English, ESL, or a related field.

  2. Decide on your location: Research which country you’d like to live and teach in.

  3. Select a TEFL program: Choose a reputable TEFL program that fits your needs.

  4. Gain teaching experience: Get some teaching experience, whether through volunteer work or internships.

  5. Look for job opportunities: Start searching for job postings.

  6. Apply and interview for the job: Finally, you’ll need to apply and interview for the job.

TEFL Teacher Salary

Earnings for TEFL teachers vary depending on qualifications, country, and other factors. For example, hourly rates, monthly salaries, and median salaries in the US vary widely. In the US, adult basic education and ESL instructors earned a median annual salary of $58,590 in 2022.
Country Median Salary Hourly Rate
US $58,590 (2022) Varies
Asia & Middle East Varies Varies
Private Tutors Varies Varies

Asia and the Middle East are known for paying high salaries to TEFL teachers, while private tutors may be paid an hourly rate. However, salaries can vary depending on qualifications and other factors.

Job Outlook for TEFL Teachers

Your job outlook as a TEFL teacher is promising, and you can expect to gain many rewarding experiences. With TEFL qualifications, you can find employment in a wide variety of settings, from public and private schools to language academies, businesses, and non-profit organizations. You may even be able to teach students of different ages and levels.

Here are some benefits associated with a TEFL teacher career:

  1. You can teach in a variety of settings.
  2. You’ll gain experience in teaching English to students from different backgrounds.
  3. You’ll have the opportunity to engage with a diverse and international community.

Overall, the job outlook for TEFL teachers is very positive. With the right qualifications and experience, you can find exciting employment opportunities in many countries around the world.

Professional Development Opportunities for TEFL Teachers

You can enhance your TEFL teaching career with professional development opportunities.

There are many organizations that offer resources and events specifically for TEFL teachers. The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) is one of the most popular and provides access to workshops, conferences, online resources, and publications.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators also has professional development events for TEFL teachers, such as seminars, webinars, and online courses.

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) International Association both offer support, networking opportunities, and other resources to help TEFL teachers grow in their careers.

With the right professional development, you can stay up to date on the latest teaching strategies and be better prepared for the ever-evolving English language teaching landscape.

Resources for TEFL Teachers

You can find plenty of resources designed to help TEFL teachers grow in their careers both online and offline.

Consider joining an international association like IATEFL, NAFSA, NCTE, or TESOL International Association to take advantage of networking opportunities, professional development, and support.

Look for online courses, webinars, and workshops that can offer additional skills in teaching English as a foreign language.

Read up on curriculum design, classroom management techniques, and current trends in the field by accessing blogs, podcasts, and research papers.

Tips for Succeeding as a TEFL Teacher

With the right strategies and attitude, you can succeed as a TEFL teacher. Preparation and creativity are key for engaging and inspiring students. Brush up on the curriculum and create or adapt lesson plans to suit different levels and abilities.

Be open-minded and curious about your students’ cultures, and aim to build a strong rapport with them. Be organized, flexible, and resilient to handle any challenges you may face. Make sure to monitor your students’ progress and evaluate them regularly.

Lastly, stay up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and techniques. With these tips and a strong commitment to teaching, you can take your TEFL career to the next level.


If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career that allows you to make a difference in the world, becoming a TEFL teacher is the perfect fit.

With the right training, qualifications, and skills, you can make a successful career out of teaching English as a foreign language.

With the right resources and professional development opportunities, you can become a successful TEFL teacher and make a difference in the lives of the students you teach.

About Jessica Phillips

Teaching License Reciprocity Guidelines by State

Tennessee Teacher Colleges and Degrees Online Guide