While it is true that some popular teaching destinations such as Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are restricted to native English speakers only, there are far more countries where no such restrictions exist. When referring to ‘native English speakers', it is worth noting that in the TEFL world this typically means teachers from the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Where can a non-native English speaker teach in Asia?
As Asia is the number one region in terms of job numbers, there are plenty of opportunities for non-native English speakers. Due to its popular culture, hot climate, and laid back lifestyle, Thailand is a popular choice with teachers from all backgrounds. To be eligible for a work permit you will need a degree in any subject and an English assessment score of 600+ on the TOEIC test, or 5+ on the IELTS test. A TEFL certificate is not an official requirement for a work permit, but it will greatly enhance your appeal when applying for jobs.
The Southeast Asia region in general is a popular destination for non-native speakers as there are typically fewer restrictions on who can legally teach English. Cambodia is another good option as jobs are widespread and most employers are not concerned about where you come from. Other options worth looking at are Vietnam, where demand is growing rapidly, and Laos which is particularly popular with teachers looking to get off the beaten track.
Where can a non-native English speaker teach in Latin America?
Latin America is one of the best regions for non-native English speakers as most countries have no concerns about a teacher’s native tongue and jobs are relatively easy to find in many areas. If you want to start a new career as an EFL teacher in this region, all you need is a TEFL certificate and the means to get to your country of choice for in-person interviews. Vacant positions can usually be found at any time of the year, in a wide range of different environments. The largest markets for foreign teachers can be found in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Where can a non-native English speaker teach in Europe?
Europe is traditionally one of the tougher regions for non-native English speakers to find TEFL related jobs, unless you are a passport holder from an EU country. One notable exception to this is Turkey which is becoming increasingly popular with non-Europeans as jobs are plentiful and employers are not usually concerned with your country of birth. However, it is worth noting that a degree is required by all teachers and some jobs will also require previous experience.
What can I do to help my job prospects as a non-native English teacher?
If you are not a native English speaker there are a few things you can do to greatly improve your chances in the job market. A TEFL certification is not an official requirement in many popular countries around the world, but having one on your job application can make a huge difference as it shows the employer that you are serious about teaching and have had some professional instruction in this unique field of education. Any amount of classroom experience can also dramatically boost the chances of non-native English speakers. Many teachers have benefited from a short period of volunteer teaching in a local community center or language school before heading overseas.
One other proven way to elevate your chances in the job market is to complete a test that can prove your English language level to potential employers. By completing either the TOEFL or IELTs English language test you can substantially boost the quality of your job application as a non-native English speaker. In many cases, teachers have also been successful in their job hunt by arranging an interview via phone, webcam, or in-person to demonstrate their English language skills directly to the employer.