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The Ultimate TEFL Teacher Guide

TEFL Teacher Guide Feature

Ready, set, teach

In 2021, any English speaker can become a TEFL teacher without any prior teaching experience or even a degree in some cases.

Whether you want to teach abroad or online, you can easily do that by using the right tools and resources.

This how to become a TEFL teacher guide will help you start your career from scratch without any knowledge of TEFL

Once you’ve finished the guide, you’ll be fully prepared to launch your TEFL teacher career. Ready? Let’s dive right in.

Things you need to become a TEFL teacher

ESL Teacher

To become a TEFL teacher, you’ll need:

  • Any type of Bachelor’s degree and
  • An accredited TEFL certificate

These two qualifications ensure you have the proper education and training to become a TEFL teacher.
Without one or another, you still CAN BE a TEFL teacher. Albeit, fewer options than others who have these two qualifications.

Do you need TEFL teacher certification?

Teaching isn’t as easy as people think. Especially teaching students in a foreign language isn’t easy. Regardless of your teaching experience, TEFL certification shows employers that you are serious about becoming a highly-trained TEFL teacher.

There’s a lot you can get out of a TEFL certification. For example, it teaches you how to develop lesson plans, manage classrooms, and correct language mistakes. We recommend TEFL certificate programs like the International TEFL Academy, Premier TEFL, and the TEFL Academy.

TEFL certificates can also satisfy immigration for some countries. This speaks volumes about how valuable it is to be certified. If students are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for English education, TEFL certification is the bare minimum that you can do. Best of all is that it also improves your employability.

READ MORE: How to Get a TEFL Certificate

Should you know the local language?


Although it’s helpful, you don’t need to know the language your students speak. It just takes a bit of practice. And there’s no better chance than actually being immersed in a new culture.

Also, think about how useful it would be to pick up on grammar mistakes from your students. When you know the local language, you understand better some of the nuances of language learning.

Not to mention how far basic phrases can help spark up a conversation with your co-teachers and locals. If you can, try to pick up as much as you can of the local language.

READ MORE: Language learning apps to help pick up another language

Do you need to be a native speaker to teach English?

English Language Teacher

To be a TEFL teacher, it’s not necessary to be a native English speaker. Although some countries have indicated they prefer native speakers, it completely depends on where you want to teach.

In general, schools show a preference for teachers from the Big Seven countries. The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa are collectively known as the ‘Big Seven’.

If you have difficulties getting hired as a non-native speaker, try taking a formal exam to show your proficiency in English. Contrary to popular opinion, there are just as many non-native English teachers out there working as a TEFL teacher.

Where should you teach abroad?

World Map

When it comes to teaching abroad, the number of destinations is almost endless. For example, there is potential to teach in Asia, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Africa.

There are also several different types of English teaching jobs abroad. For example, you can apply for government programs, go through a recruiter, or even send your application directly to an English school.

In some cases such as in Central/South America, it’s easier to be onsite to hand in your CV/resume. But in countries like Africa, it’s mostly volunteer work with groups like the Peace Corps.

READ MORE: 10 best places to teach English abroad

Are there career-building opportunities as a TEFL teacher?

Road Uphill

As with everything in life, you start at the bottom and work your way up. There are a lot of opportunities for career growth in TEFL.
By all means, it’s entirely possible to make TEFL a long-standing career in any type of career below

  • Become a licensed teacher in a university or international school
  • Start your own English academy
  • Become a teacher trainer if you have enough experience
  • Curriculum development
  • Recruit TEFL teachers
  • School and admissions counselor

Where can you teach online?

Whether you have a degree or not, there are tons of platforms for you to teach online. You can start with our list of online English teaching platforms.

One of the major benefits of teaching English online is that you can work in the comfort of your own home. Besides the convenience, you can also earn a decent wage and gain experience.

Some teachers find it a very rewarding experience because they make friends across the world. Also, you can make your own schedule and balance your personal life.

READ MORE: How To Teach English Online

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