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So you want to teach English abroad and you want to know what to do. Well, for starters you are doing the right and the right thing is to do research.


It all starts by asking questions and doing research. It's good. Be patient and do your research. Don't rush, don't hurry and before you know it you'll be abroad living that lifestyle.

You can jump on the first thing that comes your way and that can work out for some. But it's also more likely that you'll have some problems if you aren't prepared.

Teaching and living abroad is very different from what you are used to. It can be great for some, o.k for others, tough for some and horrible for a few.

I think most bad experiences can be avoided just by doing your research.

Here are some things to research:

  • requirements where you want to teach
  • culture
  • food
  • environment
  • standard of living
  • weather
  • salaries
  • safety (most places in Asia are safer than the USA)
  • the kinds of schools you can work in
  • TEFL courses
  • visas
  • cost of living
  • start up fees where you want to teach

The requirements to teach English abroad

The requirements are going to vary from school to school and country to country. Most of the time you need a bachelor's degree and to be a native speaker. You need those to get a work visa. There are sometimes exceptions too.

Other requirements

The first thing that you will probably find will be that schools prefer experience. Then you may find that some schools may prefer or require TEFL certification. Then there are schools that may require you to have a teaching license or maybe even a master's degree.

It depends on the school. So should you take a TEFL course? There is a lot of marketing out there regarding them. Much of the information provided about teaching abroad is provided by TEFL companies.

Keep in mind that some of their information may be biased in favor of selling their courses. Like they may lie and say you need it when you don't actually or they may tell you a story that you are going to get a better job or make more money.

So do you take a course or not? It's your judgement call. Like I said it can be required by some schools or programs and not by others. Do your research on where you want to teach to find out. Forums can be a good way to get different takes on things.

I would say that whether you take a course or not is kinda irrelevant. However, the point of a course is to learn. So you can learn about teaching English by reading books, watching videos, taking courses, etc.

I would apply yourself here, because I know from experience the more you put in the more you'll get out of it. I took a course before going abroad which I thought sucked in terms of preparing me to actually teach. 

I didn't realize that at first, but I did when I actually got to Taiwan and started to teach. 

But now there are better online resources compared to when I started. 

Anyways I said to apply yourself as that will make your time in the classroom better. And if your time in the classroom is better then you'll probably enjoy yourself more.

Generally speaking having a certification may give you an edge over someone who doesn't have one. But remember experience is usually more valuable than any certificate.

Learn more about TEFL courses.

What about the language? 

Can you teach English abroad if you don't know the language? Yes, you can. It normally isn't required, but learning some will make your life outside the classroom much better.

Choosing a location

I would spend a considerable amount of time choosing a location.


  • the culture
  • the people
  • the weather
  • the environment
  • the language
  • the food

Are you going to be able to adapt to it? A third world country is going to be harder to adapt to than a developed or 1st world country.

Is there a language you want to learn? How much money do you want to make? Money is important, but I personally wouldn't make this your driving factor for teaching abroad.

Look at the big picture.

Prepare your resume & other paperwork

You will need to prepare your resume to teach abroad. For this you will need to put all of your related experience towards the top of your resume. It will be best to if you write a cover letter about why you want to teach abroad in ___ (name of country). 

Then you'll want to gather some reference letters. You can learn more about creating a resume for teaching abroad and you can start adding related experience to your resume by taking a course

Again related experience is often the best qualification for teaching abroad.

What documents will I need to teach english abroad?

Get your paperwork together.

In some countries you may need to do some paperwork and get some documents together prior to going over such as:

  • a diploma
  • criminal background checks
  • passport styled photos

In addition you may need a language teaching qualification.

In China and Korea:

  • Apostilled copy of your diploma
  • Apostilled copy of you TEFL/TESOL or other language teaching qualification.

Some countries like Korea may require an FBI background check and in others a state level check is okay.

Start looking for a job

After you have your resume and paperwork ready you can start looking for a job.

You can use those sites to find jobs in Asia and around the world. In some cases you can find a job from your home country and in others you'll have to be there.

Learn more about how to get a good job teaching English abroad.


In some cases you may be responsible for getting a visa especially if it is not a full time job. The school that you are applying to will often help with this. If you enter the country without a job and work visa lined up then you will usually have to leave it again on a visa run.

So will the school pay for this or not? Sometimes, but it depends countries and schools are different. 


I just outlined the steps for making teaching English abroad a reality. The bottom line is to do your research. Research everything including:

  • where you want to teach
  • the requirements where you want to teach
  • jobs and how to get one where you want to teach
  • schools
  • visas


  • your resume
  • your documents

Also learn

  • how to teach
  • some of their language

If you are interested in teaching English in Asia then you might like this course on doing that. You'll get advice from teachers there, learn about the different kinds of schools, salaries, how to find your best location and a whole lot more about teaching English abroad.

Before you know it you'll be a teacher!

You can start by calling yourself, "Teacher ___ (insert your name here)".

Are you confident in your teaching skills? It wasn't easy for me. If you want to get more confident here is a specialized course.