Hot Markets for Teaching English Abroad

Teaching Middle School in ChinaAlthough not as portable in the short-term as some of the other portable expat professions, teaching English is a terrific way to see the world, experience other cultures, and earn a living.

Before you plunk down your money for training and certification, though, it’s a good idea to know where in the world you’d like to go. That’s because different regions expect different types of certification.

Here’s a sampling of teaching positions currently advertised in different regions.


The biggest demand for English teachers is in Asia, and by all reports you can save the most money if you teach in S. Korea. That’s because a free, furnished apartment is usually included in the deal. Also pretty standard is round-trip airfare home once a year, health care and generous vacation time.

Positions are available at all levels, from Kindergarten through University, at public and private schools and English language institutes. Minimum qualifications:

  • Native English speaker from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia or South Africa
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Absolutely clean criminal record

This is one country where a teaching certificate is no substitute for a degree. Some schools also require TESOL Certification, with CELTA being preferred, but you must have a college degree.

Click here to see a (lengthy) list of S. Korea jobs available.

China has an enormous need for English teachers, at all levels. And they don’t just need English speakers to teach English, they’re looking for subject teachers as well.

Growing numbers of Chinese students are choosing to attend college or university abroad, and they need English-speaking teachers to prepare them for it.

As in Korea, your Bachelor’s degree is more important than an English-teaching certificate.

The landscape for teaching in China is not without its quirks. Are you a Disney fan? You could teach English in China the Disney way!

In fact, the Disney program people are so eager to have you they will fly you to Thailand and give you a TESOL course, then fly you to China for your 10-day training program with Disney before you start work.

Click here to see teaching jobs in China.

A Russian institute wants 20 teachers with CELTA, Trinity TESOL or a TESOL degree. Teachers are also needed in the Ukraine and Georgia.

Middle East

If you’re female and want to be in Saudi Arabia, the Princess Noura University is looking for almost 200 English teachers. Applicants need a BA or MA in English, or a BA/MA in another subject with an ESL teaching certificate. They provide housing, and off a SIM card for your phone, pocket money, and an abaya on arrival to hide your sinful hair.

Also in Riyadh, a nursing school is looking for teachers to help nursing staff improve their skills. They want their teachers to speak “British” English.

Saudi Arabia wants male teachers as well.

And Abu Dhabi’s looking for licensed teachers in their public schools for Kindergarten, primary and secondary levels. You’ll need a Bachelor’s degree plus your teaching license or certification.

Cairo needs teachers with CELTA or TEFL certification to teach conversational English workshops. Also near Cairo, an international school wants math and science teachers.

Oman is looking for six English teachers with Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as well as CELTA, DELTA, TEFL or TESOL certification and at least two years experience teaching English to adults.

Latin America

The Latin American country with the biggest demand for English teachers right now is Chile. The country is growing economically, and has made a commitment to increase knowledge of English in their educational system.

One company hires teachers full- and part-time for positions in Santiago. They require a degree, CELTA or TEFL certification and one year of experience, minimum, teaching English to adults.

Another company offers a variety of jobs to teach adults, university students or K-12. Requirements vary with the level.


Not surprisingly, Europe doesn’t have nearly the demand that Asia does. There are jobs, but they’re a bit harder to find and the pay and benefits are less — often significantly less. They typically don’t help with transportation or visas either.

A company in Paris is looking for English teachers to work remotely over the phone to help employees with conversational business English.

Another company wants a part-time English teacher in Bordeaux.

A preschool in Warsaw wants a teacher for 3-5 year olds, must be willing to share accommodations.

Another preschool, this one in Prague, wants English-speaking Kindergarten teachers.

For first-class information about teaching English internationally, visit Dave’s ESL Cafe.

Class dismissed!

photo by Rex Pe on flickr


  1. I have been teaching (amongst other thing) in Asia for eleven years. I blog about South Korea and am happy to answer any questions anyone has about the country – or working here.

  2. Very interesting. A great place to start looking for a TEFL course is We have set it up so that it’s easy to search for the right course for your needs, i.e. by accreditation or location. We hope it’s useful!

  3. Hello,
    I’ve been a TEFLER since the 1980s and have lived in various foreign countries. As noted above, various restrictions can change quickly from year to year with the Ministries of Education. For example, in most Middle Eastern countries, the applicant must be under the age of 60 to land a lucrative, full-time position with all the perks (which as of this writing are progressively declining due to factors such as economy and nationalization of their work force). You should also know that in most Asian countries, the max age is even lower than 60 and that in SE Asia, for example, students do not take kindly to teachers who look middle age. If you visit Dave’s and click on “International Job Forum” in the left column, from there you can peruse threads arranged by continent and countries subsumed under those. There are some cynical posters who only offer negative comments, but there is also much valuable information about specific institutions. For one, Princess Noura Univ. is not a pleasant experience for most. You also need to be cross-culturally savvy and understand that different styles of behavior management and teaching pedagogy can vary drastically and present a real culture shock to those unfamiliar with the educational system in that particular country. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about any particular institution. One final note – to land a “lucrative” position, generally, applicants should have an M.A. Applied Linguistics and/or M.A. TESOL plus 3 years+ post M.A. experience in teaching academic skills, not just conversation classes as well as advanced technology skills. Of course, it all depends on the kind of teaching you wish to pursue and the kind of institution you desire (public school, private school, college, vocational, university). Best wishes, Judi

  4. I’ve been teaching English in Phuket, Thailand since 2006. I can help anyone who is interested teaching in the area.

  5. I found this article really useful, but can’t agree with the statements about Europe.
    I took my Tefl course in Madrid and i was specifically looking for an academy that offers more than just Tefl certificate. The one i made my final choice on gave me full support in getting my visa application and all legal paperwork, accommodation, setting up spanish bank account and other basic needs. Also they helped me to get job interviews after finishing my course. I am really pleased with everything they have done for me. If there’s anyone interested here is their website Really worth having look at 🙂

  6. No problem Susanna.
    I really hope this information can be useful for someone as I once too was searching for all responses I could get on the web 🙂

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