Ever heard of ESL teaching? Chances are you have, but have you considered that you could be an ESL teacher?
ESL (English as a Second Language) or EFL (English as a Foreign Language) is one of the biggest industries in the world right now. Driven by an insatiable demand from a newly emerging middle class in China and other countries recognising that English is the language of business and travel, providing endless opportunities for those who speak it.
There are all different levels of qualifications and experience required, and the worldwide opportunities are almost endless. You can work locally to your home, travel to other countries or work from home online.
There are plenty of opportunities, but are they for you? And can you actually get in on the action?
Read on and discover for yourself!
Is teaching English the job for me?
Are you a university or college student looking to make some money, then yes you can do this! (you don’t even need to be studying to be a teacher!)
If you are studying to become a teacher and looking to get some teaching experience? Then yes, teaching ESL is perfect for you!
If you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others then yes it is!
Do you want to earn extra money from home? This is your opportunity!
If you are open to adventure and travel, but need a way to pay for it, then yes teaching English is for you!
If you want to help students young, or old then yes, you should give it a go!
What kind of jobs are there?
There are dozens of online tutoring companies that are looking for ESL teachers. Some are focused on young learners, others have older students either teenagers or adults.
Alternately, you could start your own online teaching business and teach your own students.
You may want to travel to another country and teach English. It’s a great way to soak up the culture and be able to travel while getting paid to do it.
There are English language schools in all English speaking countries who cater for visitors and students.
Do I need experience and qualifications?
There are many online tutoring companies that have no education or experience requirements. Tutoring companies that service children under 12 are often just looking for teachers who are happy, bubbly and can keep the attention of the children while they learn for the length of the lesson. The curriculum is often provided by the school on their own platform which makes it even easier.
That’s not to say that qualifications and experience aren’t highly regarded but if you have completed a TESOL course and have some experience with children you have an excellent chance of securing a position. Bear in mind experience with children can include child-minding, coaching or organising activities for them.
Online positions are particularly useful for stay at home parents who need to earn some extra cash, university/college students who are completing a degree and others who want to work part-time to earn some extra money.
As for many industries, some jobs you need experience and some you don’t. If you are looking to travel, some countries have requirements for visas that must be met for teachers to work there. For instance in Thailand and China, ESL teachers require a Bachelors degree in any field to get a legal working visa, while in some South American countries no degree is required at all.
You will need to check the job descriptions to find out. If you have no degree or experience your options may be limited to start with, but with experience and contacts you could end up wherever you want in the world. While many countries are desperate for teachers they will still require you to have at least a minimum TESOL certificate.
You may wish to teach face to face locally in your home country, it’s a great way to get experience without going abroad. Unless the position is in a regulated education provider such as a child’s school or university, the qualification and experience requirements are up each individual school. You would have to check each job description but often you will just need a TESOL certificate and some experience teaching or training.
What are the qualification levels?
Most people when they start get a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) certificate. This is often the bare minimum needed to start teaching. There are many online and face to face courses available ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. We recommend eTEFL Online, which can be completed within weeks and gives you the basics to get started in the industry immediately for a very affordable price.
If you decide the teaching English is for you in the long run, you can also complete CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) or DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults). There is also opportunities to study TESOL as an undergraduate degree and at Masters and PhD level.
How much can I get paid?
Well like all forms of teaching you won’t get rich teaching English, but you can earn a decent wage no matter whether you decide to work online, abroad or locally.
Many roles offer at least a minimum 10 hours a week with the opportunity to work up to 60 hours a week! Remember you will be working in the most popular times for students in that region so for some time zones that might mean you are getting up at 4am.
Most roles offer a minimum of US$15/hour and some as much as $26/hour including bonuses. You can earn more by getting good reviews from students and having experience and qualifications.
If you start your own Teaching English Online business then you can earn even more. You would have utlimate control over your business, including the hours you work, the student ages, the course curriculum and the hourly rate that you charge. Jack Askew has developed a fantastic ‘business-in-a-box’ video course which takes you through step-by-step, exactly how to setup your own business, get your own students and be a successful online teacher. Take a look at what his course has to offer. Plus, you can get started right away instead of having to apply for jobs!
When working abroad you will often be paid in the local currency and it would usually be less than you would receive at home; for instance in Vietnam you may only earn US$2000/month but you may have free accommodation, work only 20-25 hours a week and a good meal can be bought for US$2.
You will need to do your research, but often times teachers will be earning more than local teachers and have enough to put away to be able to explore the region. Some contracts even offer free flights to get to the country you will be teaching in, or a free flight home once a year.
In the Middle East, the salaries can be much, much higher. It is possible to earn US$4000/month tax-free, which could include free accommodation and electricity, and free flights home! For these jobs, you will defintely need a degree and a few years experience.
Not sure what country is right for you? Check out the best countries for ESL teaching.
Wages locally will depend on the position and what your qualifications and experience are. Universities may offer a yearly salary, and language schools may just offer an hourly rate with no extra benefits. Make sure you check the position description for details.
Where to next?
Complete your TESOL certificate. Within weeks you will be qualified enough to start work.
Decide what kind of work you are going to do – online, abroad or local
Start applying for jobs. In fact, because of the time it takes to process an application, you could start applying for jobs as soon as you start your TESOL course. You could go from training to stepping into a job immediately.
Start earning! It really is that easy.
Still not sure? Check out some of our interviews with other ESL teachers.