How to Teach Abroad: What You’ll Need

Update: For a more concise, complete version of this article (with links to all the important stuff), please click here to view my five simple steps to finding a job in Asia over at

Native English speakers are truly fortunate to have English as their first language. In a world moving toward a global economy, other countries know they need to speak the global language if they want to keep up. In Asia, educated people are desperate to learn English. And you can help them, while you help yourself earn money, see the world and create a lifetime of memories.

Most schools require only a bachelor degree (in any field), fluency in English (check!) and either a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. These terms are often interchanged and most schools will accept either, even if the job posting only specifies one. Don’t worry, the hardest part of getting a certificate is deciphering which online providers are legitimate. Here are my recommendations:

ITTT (International TEFL and TESOL Training) is the school I used. It is straight forward and quick. They provide you with a tutor who will send your assignments (a PDF information sheet along with a set of related questions) and then correct your work and provide appropriate feedback on each. I earned a 120-hr certificate in much less (though the program gives you six months to complete it), and Asian schools recognize it.

American TESOL Institute – allows you to keep track of your progress online, and there is no deadline to finish the course. You simply log in to their database to receive your course material and submit your answers online.

CELTA – is offered by the University of Cambridge and is the most respected and universal online course around. It’s also the most expensive and rigorous.

A quick Google search will result in various options for onsite courses. They’re expensive and aren’t any more respected than an online course. Their selling point (other than travel, of course) is hands-on experience, but you don’t really need that. Honest. Even the most prepared ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, as you’ll often be referred, is not prepared to step into a classroom full of eager, watchful eyes and immediately feel confident trying to break down the language barrier. I’m not trying to scare you – it’s fun! – just prevent you from paying thousands of dollars for a course that really won’t benefit you in the end.

You can ignore everything I just said if you’re qualified to teach in a western country. A master degree (or higher) and/or experience with teaching any subject/age/class size will almost always replace the need for a TEFL certificate.

I’m serious, folks. It’s that easy. What are you waiting for?

Next in this series: How to Find a Job.

Do you have any questions?

How to Teach Abroad: What You’ll Need
Written by:Jessica Hill

6 thoughts on “How to Teach Abroad: What You’ll Need”

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