TESOL instructors teach the English language to those who speak other languages in countries where English is not the native language. Additionally, TESOL markets exist in countries where English is the native spoken language for immigrants and international students.
Instuctional opportunities include:
1. company or “in-house” business courses
2. private tutoring
3. private schools specific to language
4. public or private primary, high school, and colleges and universities
Our classes explain in detail what the opportunities are, and the advantages and challenges of each of the different work settings; we help you find the position that is right for you. Open this document for a more defiitive description: global guidelines for the TESOL industry and employment pathways.
ESL – means English as a Second Language (this term has been replaced by ESOL)
ESOL – this term is short for English for Speakers of Other Languages (Engish is often a third or fourth language for people these days.)
TEFL – this means Teaching English as a Foreign Language (similarly, more than two languages are often learned these days)
TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language (this term has been replaced by TESOL)
TESOL - Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages
NESB – This term refers to students from a non-English-speaking background
The terms TESOL, TESL and TEFL are often interchangeably utilized, but there are minor differences.
Traditionally, TESL referred to teaching NESB students of all ages in English-speaking countries. Recognizing that English is sometimes now the third or fourth language learned by those students, the newer term, TESOL has replaced it. TESOL and TEFL can be accurately used interchangeably.
Teach International supports and exercises the Communicative Approach to English teaching. The Communicative Approach focuses on conversational English and how it is used in everyday life. What this means for students is more practice, and student English talk-time. There is no translation, and English is the only language spoken in the classroom. Completely different than the way English used to be taught, there are no lists to memorize or vocabulary words to learn. Difficult English grammar is made simple when taught this way, which makes English teaching and learning more enjoyable, leading to better results.
Being fluent in English opens doors around the world personally and professionally!
Teach International provides forward-looking and practical programmes to help students succeed! Constant modification of courses and programmes is done based on feedback from students. A wide range of training options is available to suit all needs, whether moving quickly in to a new career is the goal or the flexibility to take a year off for travel is needed.
- Teach International requires that you be 18 years of age to enrol in courses.
- Also required is that you have completed Year 12 or equivalent, or submit a CV* with your form upon registration to be considered.
* For a CV submission, we will be reviewing it for employment and/or educational experience and achievements that show English capabilities at or above the level of the course you intend to enrol in.
- Teach International requires that you be a native English speaker**, or meet IELTS entry criteria.
For those wishing to enrol in Teach International courses that are not native English speakers, evidence is required of English competency. Evidence can be a Teach International English Skills Competency (ESC) Test that is completed and passed prior to enrolment, or a copy of IELTS equivalency test results to accompany the registration form.
The IELTS, ESC exam results, or eqivalent are required:
- iTESOL Certificate (completed totally online ) has no English entry criteria.
- iTESOL Certificate requires IELTS 6.5 or equivalent when the Intro to TESOL
element is taken via a 5 day course on-campus.
- Certificate III in TESOL requires IELTS 7.0 or equivalent.
- Certificate in TESOL requires IELTS 7.0 or equivalent.
- Certificate IV in TESOL requires IELTS 7.5 or equivalent.
** “For the purposes of teaching the English language, a native English speaker is a person that was educated in an English speaking educational system from early childhood and is competent with standard language usage. In addition, English was the language first learned at home and/or it was the common language in the country of upbringing.”
- You must have Internet access and have the ability to work with email, word processors and browsers.
2. Will a certificate be given upon successful completion?
Yes, a certificate will be given to you upon completion of the TESOL course components. The back of the certificate contains a breakdown of course components. Upon completion of the Intro to TESOL on-campus course will earn a Verification of Study document for successfully finishing that component.
3. When is the Certificate Awarded?
The Certificate is awarded to a student upon completion of the mandatory courses in our TESOL program.
4. Can I complete the courses completely online?
We do offer an iTESOL program, which can be completed 100% online; this happens when you opt for the Introduction to TESOL online component. You still have the option to take the Introduction to TESOL component online while taking others on-campus. The practice teaching component must be completed, and that can be done in various ways. Sometimes it is directly organized with Teach International and sometimes through your contacts and the assistance of the Teach International graduate and affiliate network. This component can also be completed through our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process, as some TESOL trainees become employed before their course of programs is completed.
5. What order should I follow for the online work?
The Intro to TESOL class component is the logical place to start (if you have decided to take that online). Often, the Grammar unit is completed next. This often proves challenging because the western educational system grammar can be a daunting subject. Still, this is often tackled early, with an online exam for the course. Electives in the program include subjects that you might be assigned to teach on a job. You might work with children in the early afternoon and young adults later in the day, or spend your mornings at a company site teaching English to the staff. Each course requires a score of 80 percent to pass; you can retake them if needed.
Our higher level certificates include supplemental components that cover learning schemes and practical application. They are completed with submitted written work. Many students feel it is more natural to do them after the electives and grammar courses, but there are no prerequisites.
6. How do I get started with online courses?
First you enrol, then we email your Password and Username that you can use to access the Teach International Student Centre online. In the centre you will select electives and be able to track which units are completed.
7. Does it matter where I am located?
No matter where you are located, you can access the courses and do the online components from anywhere.
Please note that we will mail your completion certificate to the address you gave us when you registered, unless you advise of a change.
You can also complete your Teaching Practice overseas by a number of means. If you are involved in our Study Overseas Programmes, we will completely organise it for you. If you are completing your studies online, you will have to arrange your own Practice Teaching. Teach International does offer students some assistance with arranging the practicum; we do have a network of affiliated and qualified assessors that we will share for students to contact. However, students are not required to be assessed by anyone in the network, but simply by someone who meets the qualifications for an assessor. Alternately, students that find employment before completing their certificate (which happens frequently!) can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning for practicum component after they have completed 300 hours of ESL classroom teaching experience.
8. How long do I have to complete the courses?
You have twelve (12) months from the time you register for your TESOL course with Teach International to complete your studies and exams.
Upgrading certificates: If you wish to upgrade to a higher level certificate, you can do so at any time. Upon upgrading, you will be entitled to an additional twelve (12) months for completion.
9. How are the 12 hours of preliminary reading assessed?
Upon entering the Student Centre, you will see on the left a link to a 'Preliminary Reading' file. It covers information about the material and the industry that we believe is helpful for you to know prior to your studies. If you take the Intro to TESOL online component, this material is an integral part of the work and online exam. If you take the Intro to TESOL on-campus, an informal test of the preliminary reading material will be given.
There is a manual given to you at the start of the TESOL course, both on-line or on-campus. This manual covers numerous areas from this component and more resources for classroom teaching.
10. What is the difference between a diploma and these courses?
Teach International uses the word 'certificate' and aligns it with government authorized levels. When 'diploma' is utilized for government authorized qualifications, it follows the level of study you would receive earning a certificate, and can be done before year one at the University. Advanced Diplomas are often equivalent to year one at the University. In non-government areas, 'diploma' has often been used interchangeably with what are certificate-level accomplishments. Typically, a Certificate in TEFL or TESOL is all that is needed to find work in the field.
11. Do I need the highest level certificate for overseas teaching?
Overseas teaching positions in growing economies like China are often available to teachers without our higher level qualifications. Many recent iTESOL Certificate graduates have found amazing overseas positions! We actually recommend the iTESOL program for volunteer and community teaching jobs, but our students have found work in many countries with the iTESOL.
If you plan to teach in a country that has a well-established market for English teachers and a lot of job competition, you should consider one of the higher qualification types for marketability. We will happily advise you about the job market and likely qualifications and experience in the countries and areas you are considering.
12. How is practice teaching organised?
Students who attend a Study Overseas Programme will complete their practice teaching during the programme. Students completing their certificate online will need to arrange their own practice teaching, though Teach International can help students arrange the practicum through our network of qualified assessors and affiliates. We will make their contact details available for our students to view. Students are also permitted to arrange assessment outside of this network, if the assessor meets the requirements. As an option, students that find employment before completing their studies can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning to take care of the practice teaching component after they have at least 300 hours of ESL teaching experience accrued.
13. What other resources will I need to buy?
You will need to have a good teacher’s grammar reference book when on your ESOL job.This is not necessary at the beginning of your studies, but we do recommend picking one up before beginning a teaching job. All other materials are provided to you.
14. Is failure of the course possible?
Teach International, and its academic department, is available to give you as much help as possible so that you can successfully finish the courses.
Each of the courses is competency based, so our students have the option to retake each component until they reach the required competency level for passing the unit. This is provided without the need to pay any additional fees.
For the practice teaching requirement, some students may be required to do additional practice if ongoing issues are noted. We do also help by reviewing lesson plans. If you experience significant ongoing issues, we may allow you to exit the program with the iTESOL qualification while leaving your other enrollment open. This allows you to gain some teaching experience and then return to the practice teaching assessment.
Not only do we want to teach you, we want you to succeed, and our entire team is here for you.
15. Is it possible to get academic credit for prior teaching experience or education?
All students are asked to complete the intro to TESOL component as it trains you in the aspects of delivering lessons the way that Teach International has developed. Our methodology was created according to the industry accepted "communicative methodology" along with our integrated formula. Some of the most experienced teachers often need this course the most, teaching English is very different than teaching other subjects. You may have habits that you must unlearn.
For other components it is possible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). In areas where you have experience or prior study, you can apply for Recognition for Cross Credit (RCC). You can do this if you have completed a degree or other courses which included information about TESOL methodology. Our main aim is to find TESOL relevance, so differing areas like Literacy or Communication Skills do not apply.
16. Is there any guarantee that I will find work?
We do have a job assurance, covered in detail on the Registration form.
17. Can I take TESOL courses if I live in another country?
Absolutely! You have the option to complete all of your studies in your own country, or join our Study Overseas Programmes.
TESOL - The Job
1. Where can I find TESOL jobs?
This is a strong industry and the past decade has seen extraordinary maturation in the market globally. In areas like Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong, English is widely spoken, but the ESL market is still growing rapidly. Countries like Korea, Japan and Taiwan have a foundation in the ESL market, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Locations like China, Latin America and South-East Asia have the greatest demands for English teachers. Only countries which have English as an official language, and therefore it is taught at home and through the school systems, have seen lighter demand for ESOL teachers. These countries include Malaysia, India and the Philipines.
Many places will offer full time contracts in areas where it is common to be interviewed via Skype, and there is typically reimbursement of your travel expenses to begin the job written in to your employment contract. The countries this is typically true for are South Korea, China and Japan. You should realize that Internet job advertisements are just a small amount of all the jobs that are available. In nearly all countries (China is the exception) if you go to a country as a tourist and then visit schools, you will most likely be successful in landing a job. You will also probably be able to support yourself within just a month or two of seeking a job in the country. In fact, the majority of TESOL teachers become employed overseas in this way, and the contract offered is typically a consultancy basis because that helps to overcome work visa issues. Teachers can then renew their visa with a simple border crossing, and after you are established at the job you can ask the school to help you get an official work permit for that country.
For example, the city of Istanbul has a population of more than 10 million people, and it is estimated that 500 to 1000 language schools exist in the city. There is literally a language school close by no matter where you are in the city. Just one of the franchise groups, 'English Time', employs 200 to 300 native English language teachers spread among many schools.
You will clusters of jobs around the month of August, just before the start of the school year, on the Internet. However, there are many more jobs available on the ground. Of course, the best time to arrive looking for a job is in August, but with some markets (Istanbul for sure) you will find work no matter when you show up'!
July and August are the slower periods during the holiday time in the summer. Many TESOL do shorter course work in the UK during this time as there is a lot of TESOL work available in that country during the academic break. A little research will show that the story is similar in many countries.
Click here and you will be taken to our Job Centre - it offers only a sample of the thousands of available jobs that you qualify for when you complete our TESOL certificate!
2. Which country is the best one for me?
We will help you decide! We have lots of experience with teaching and travel, so we can help you make the best choice for you, based on your background, skills and interests.
We are very interested in helping you see all of the opportunities, and want to open your eyes and your mind to places you may have never considered.
You can start to sort out the different areas, by simply starting your coursework. During the on-campus course, we discuss each of the different areas of the world and talk about each of the markets. Our Study Overseas Programmes are another way to help open yourself up to the possibilities available in the TESOL world. Join the programme in Hanoi or Istanbul, and you will get a real feel for what it is like to live there; this often gets teachers really excited and ready to make the leap there, or even try a different country.
3. How do you help with job hunting?
We will let you know where the best opportunities are and give you an idea of salaries and cost of living in the areas you are considering. We will also give you tips on which areas might suit you best. We will assist with building a global resume, and help you revise and tweak it until it is perfect. We also will give you a list of questions to ask that you might not have thought about. You do not want to find out there is something you cannot live with after you make the commitment and sign a contract. We also show you where to look for thousands of current job openings online.
We do not make placements, but guide you toward the perfect job for you. We are quite confident that you will obtain employment after you have gained the TESOl skills found in our programmes. We are so confident that we happily offer a money-back job guarantee.
Additionally, our wonderful online Job Centre is where employers from all over the world advertise their open positions. There are many other places to look for TESOL jobs, but this is a good start. Our ongoing job search support is always free, even after you have finished your courses. Additionally, in the Job Centre you can read reviews about schools from other TI graduates, use our job forums to ask questions and discuss the schools, living and working conditions, and overall information about different countries. Overall, we can help you be in touch with and part of a huge network of grads that have been where you are and where you want to go.
4. But-- what if I cannot speak their language?
Effective ESL teachers only speak English within the TESOL classroom. You are not there to be a translator; your students want immersion in the English language, so they will communicate with you in English, even as beginners. This is why they are in your classroom, and it helps them immensely if you never speak (or attempt to) their first language. One of the key principles of English teaching overseas is scaffolding complexity, so that your students understand about 70 percent even before you start. The course books control this process for you and it is wise that you naturally use a course book you are comfortable with, and make additions or modifications as you go along.
5. What is the job like in terms of work conditions?
Each job is different, but some common features are:
- Contracts are written from 2 weeks - 2 years
- Gaining employment in the country of your choice, but outside of peak employment times will often garner you 'a class' which affords 5 to 10 hours work per week. You might then get another class at a different school, if the first school does not add more hours first. You will work your way up to the hours that you want, through one way or the other. You may take on some private lessons along the way as well, as TESOL teachers are frequently approached for private teaching.
- For one or two year contracts, accomodation and travel expenses may be reimbursed.
- Health insurance typically is paid.
- Salaries range from volunteer work to $5000 monthly.
- Severance pay equal to a month's salary is payable at the end of the contract.
- Perks like Internet access, cultural and language lessons are negotiable.
- Freuently, very low cost of living and low taxes.
6. Do I need to have a degree to teach English overseas?
See 'Where are the jobs' above for a little background on becoming employed directly in-country. In these cases, which is most frequent, you do not need a degree. The employer's aim is to hire a native English-speaking person with TESOL certificate credentials. Typically, a demonstration lesson in English and a good natural rapport with the hiring manager will get you the job. Most jobs advertised online ask for a TESOL certificate and a degree, because these positions typically have an official work permit set up.
If you are younger than 30 years old, some countries will allow a one-year working holiday visa; this is dependent on your country of origin and where you would like to teach. Visit embassy websites for each country you are considering to see if this is the case.
Keep in mind also that employers often publish their “wish list” of qualifications; these are things they would like to have, but not necessarily requirements. Depending on the pool of applicants, they will typically hire someone that does not meet every criteria in their ads. Also know that rules relax at schools that are further away from the country's central government.
7. Must I have teaching experience to gain employment?
Absolutely not! In fact, the majority of new ESL teachers do not have any experience. Most new ESL teachers are doing this for the first time! However, look into your life experience, and you will likely find lots of instances where you have taught in the past. Have you any experience with these things?
- camp counselling
- informally teaching English to friends or relatives
- hosting non-English speakers in your home
- community involvement
- training others at work
- student leadership
- office management
As you can see, you probably have a lot more teaching experience than you realize. These are only a few experiences that help you develop teaching skills and will definitely make you better prepared for work in the classroom and more "marketable" during your job search.
8. Am I too young or too old to teach overseas?
Students of TI range from 18 to 70 years of age. We have retired people looking for new challenges enrol regularly; if you have the energy and health to travel and teach, as well as a desire to do so, then you are never too old! Full disclosure means that we will tell you about countries that are ageist, like Japan and Korea; it would be more difficult to find a position in those areas as you get older. China does have age limits; 55 years for women and 60 for men. But, there are seniors teaching around the globe, and now is a great time to go! Young people gravitate toward positions in the metropolitan areas where there is a lot to do and lots of entertainment. With that in mind, looking at cities a little outside those metro areas will likely net you more open opportunities. You will find a range of TESOL teachers in most schools, from different countries and various ages, as well as some teachers who are natives of the country.
To take our courses, you must be a high school graduate or equivalent and have reached the age of 18 years old. Work experience recognised as suitable learning may be considered instead of the high school requirement.
9. What if hate the job I get?
This is a situation that is best avoided altogether...so we help you research extensively and give you the right questions to get answers to before the contract is signed. This helps to make sure that you do not get any unpleasant surprises and love the job that you land! There are lots of ESOL instructors that renew their teaching contracts and stay with the same job, and the same school for many years.
There are lots of opportunities available once you go overseas; a better teaching position might present itself once you are settled in and have some experience under your belt. We do, however, encourage all teachers to honour any commitments they have made, and contracts that they've signed. Check your contract, however, as often there are clauses which allow you to give your notice and move to another position.
Fitting in to the culture is often a huge concern, so we do try and indoctrinate you before you make the move. Our goal is to help you understand the culture and get the most out of your cultural journey. We set you up to succeed!
10. How long of a contract will I sign?
Those teachers who become employed in-country and outside of peak hiring time will be offered 'a class' that is 5 to 10 hours per week. From there, you will often be offered additional classes by the school or other schools nearby. You should also consider private lessons, as you will likely be asked to do them. In these ways, you will work yourself up to the hours and pay that is comfortable for you. When you have a job that you are happy with, you can stay as long as you are happy.
Positions advertised online for most schools will ask teachers to make a commitment to a one-year contract. After that, many TESOL teachers extend their contracts. It is not unusual for a teacher to stay at the same school for two to three years or longer.