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In my years teaching ESL I have heard it and experienced it from all sides. And I can tell you the following. It depends on who you ask.

Some people (native English speakers in your country) will say that teaching ESL is "not" a real job or a career. Some will say that it's an escape and that anyone can do that. For most it's just something to do for a year or so before moving on to their "real" career. That's what it is for some people.

Some people think that it depends on what kind of school you work for. For example, in Korea a number of native teachers and Koreans alike think that working in a public school is more respectable than working in a hagwon. There, many people think that university teachers are on the top of the food chain, followed by public school teachers and then private school teachers. Most university jobs are the most respectable positions, but it can depend on the country and the specific school in question. It doesn't usually take amazing qualifications to teach in a university in China.

Most people in Asia will respect you for it though. Asian culture, that's been influenced by Confucius highly regards teachers and treats them with respect.

However, a few people there will be aware of the fact that you probably don't have a background in teaching. They may think that you're just over there for the easy money. A few may also think that you are there because you couldn't get a job in your own country. These people might be your co-teachers.

So even though most people will treat you with respect since you are an ESL teacher, a few won't since you are probably not a "real teacher" - a licensed teacher. If you are a licensed teacher with a background and a degree in education then I'd say you would have it pretty good and people will treat you with respect. Becoming a licensed teacher would be good if you are contemplating a career as a teacher/ESL teacher.

It entirely depends upon who you ask. Let's consider something else. I'd say that if this question is important to you, like it was to someone on Yahoo Answers then you might want want to value your own opinions more than other peoples opinions.