TEFL, where can I teach?

Completing a TEFL certification course brings many benefits and one of the most popular is that you get to choose exactly which country or region you want to live and work in. As the demand for English language instruction is so strong in many parts of the world, there is never any shortage of job options for TEFL qualified teachers. From tropical countries in Asia to the cooler climes of Northern Europe, there will be something to suit everyone. Whether you prefer a bustling major city or something more off the beaten path, there is sure to be the perfect destination out there waiting for you.


This vast continent is home to the largest number of TEFL jobs of any region in the world. Countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all have thriving markets for foreign teachers with a TEFL qualification. China alone has many thousands of vacant teaching positions at any one time, which means that jobs are all but guaranteed for teachers who take the decision to head there. Within these very popular countries there are a huge range of destinations to choose from, including major cities such as Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing, as well as countless smaller towns and cities. Whatever kind of environment you are looking for, you are sure to find something suitable among these major teaching locations.

If you would prefer to be away from the busiest teaching markets, you might want to consider other Asian nations such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, all of which have strong demand for TEFL qualified teachers. The average salaries in these countries are somewhat less than the previously mentioned destinations, but they still offer plenty of job options and endless possibilities for adventure.

If your strongest motivation for teaching abroad is to make as much money as possible, then the more developed countries in this region are the way to go. If you are more interested in finding somewhere where culture and adventure are more important, then there are many other great options across the region. It is also worth noting that if you choose a country with a more developed teaching market such as China, Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan, you should be able to arrange a job before leaving home. In contrast, in many less developed markets it is more beneficial to head to the country first and then look for work on the ground.

The Middle East

Although much of the Middle East is technically in Asia, it warrants its own section as the market for foreign English language teachers is exceptionally large in several countries across the region. The economies of many Middle East countries are highly dependent on overseas workers which has created a dream scenario for many TEFL qualified teachers. To meet the demand for teachers many employers offer very large salaries and exceptionally generous benefit packages that have made this one of the top regions for teaching jobs. The best packages are typically found in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, although other countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are also well worth looking at.

While salaries in this region are generally tax free and benefit packages routinely include free housing and paid airfares, it is not all plain sailing when applying for jobs. As the rewards are so appealing, the competition for vacant positions is very high as teachers from all over the world compete for each job. Because of this, employers are able to set the bar high when it comes to their expectations. Many jobs will advertise for teachers with high-end qualifications and at least a year or two of previous experience, and in many cases they will get what they are asking for. Although it is possible to secure a job in the Middle East without previous experience, most teachers find it is best to work elsewhere until they have the experience necessary to impress employers offering the top jobs in this region.


For decades foreign nationals have taught English in schools, language centers, and in private, right across Europe as a way of funding their time spent living in this fascinating part of the world. Teaching jobs can be found in almost every country, from the sunny shores of the Mediterranean in the south, to the breathtaking landscapes of Scandinavia in the north. However, the big issue that every teacher needs to consider in modern Europe is the cost of living which can be exceptionally high in some areas. Many of us would love to live and work in a major world city such as Rome, Paris or London, but that has become increasingly difficult in recent years as the average teacher’s salary has not kept pace with the rising cost of living. One other consideration is getting hold of the correct visas and work permits which allow you to work legally. These can be difficult to come by for non-EU citizens in some of the most popular destinations such as Spain, Italy and France.

For teachers who are determined to spend time living and working in Europe, there are ways to make it happen. Many teachers decide to work independently without the correct visas and permits. While this is technically illegal and we cannot condone it, it is common practice in many areas and teachers rarely face any severe punishment. Another popular way to get around the financial and legal issues associated with many parts of Europe is to head towards the central and eastern countries of the continent where costs are lower and government interference is less strict. Many teachers enjoy lengthy spells of teaching in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary as they offer a good balance between income and outgoings.

Latin America

Ranging from the Mexico-US border in the north to the spectacular Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the south, the Latin American region is truly huge and diverse. However, despite its size, this region does not have the same huge market for teachers nor the high salaries that you might find in some other parts of the world. Having said that, this does not stop the thousands of people every year who head to the region to work within the TEFL industry. What Latin America might lack in job numbers and high salaries is balanced out by other major attractions such as the region’s widespread natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and endless opportunities for adventure.

Within this fascinating region you will find several countries where English teaching jobs are relatively easy to come by, and top of the list come Chile and Mexico. Chile has a well developed job market for foreign teachers as the demand for English language skills is widespread throughout much of the country. Mexico is also very popular as jobs are available in large numbers in most cities, large towns, and beach resorts. Other countries that are starting to become more and more popular as job numbers increase and salaries rise include Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica are other popular countries with strong markets for TEFL qualified teachers that you might be interested in. If you want to head to somewhere a little different, feel free to research any other country in the region as they will all have some amount of opportunities for those looking for added adventure.