What type of TEFL teacher is most in demand?

Before discussing the demand of different TEFL teachers we must first be aware of the different roles that these teachers can take. Perhaps the first distinction or grouping would be between online and onsite teachers. What are the different roles TEFL teachers take?

For online teaching there are a few types of teaching jobs that you can undertake. These include:

  • Working for an online teaching company
  • Working semi-independently with a profile company
  • Working as a freelancer

For onsite teaching there are also a few types of teaching jobs available, such as:

  • Working in government schools
  • Working in private schools
  • Working in language centers with adult students
  • Working in language centers with kindergarten through K10 students

Which teachers are in most demand?

There is no single answer to this question as it depends very much upon whether you want to work online or onsite and if so, which country you are considering. It will also depend to a certain extent on your qualifications and experience.

In general, the minimum qualification is a 120-hour TEFL certificate and this immediately gives you access to the highest number of jobs, which are teaching online. Demand for online teachers has soared in recent years and shows few signs of slowing down. One of the areas where most teachers are needed is China. It is important to know, however, that due to recent changes in employment laws, if you wish to teach online for a company teaching students in China, you must actually live in China.

You should also be aware that demand for all TEFL teachers varies over the course of a year. There are certain hiring periods that schools and companies have and you should look out for these. This is particularly true for government and private schools.

It is probably true to say that at any moment in time there are more TEFL positions available than there are qualified teachers to fill them. This means there is always a demand. As long as you are realistic about your qualifications, experience and where you would like to teach, you will almost certainly be able to find a teaching post.

What other roles can TEFL teachers move into?

Another factor to consider is all the areas peripheral to being a teacher. This is particularly true if you already have a few years experience in the classroom. In this case you might consider some of the other possible employment opportunities out there. These may include:

  1. Becoming a TOEFL/IELTS or similar examiner
  2. Text book writer/contributor
  3. School manager/director of studies
  4. Coursebook sales person
  5. Teacher trainer
  6. School owner
  7. Teacher recruitment

and many more.


When you add all these extra opportunities to those for standard teachers then overall the worldwide demand for TEFL teachers is huge. The number of available jobs that could open up for you by simply investing in a TEFL certificate is immense.