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Teach English Abroad

This is an increasingly popular option among students completing their degree. There are many companies that do not require an Education degree, or even any ESL experience, although it is recommended that you have a TESL qualification. You usually have to be a native speaker of English, and you are required to have a minimum of an undergraduate degree. 

Why Teach Abroad?
  • Enables you to experience another culture and context while working
  • Apply for international jobs with little work experience
  • Looks great on your resume!
  • If you are a teacher and would like ESL experience, it will be beneficial to be in an environment where you, too, will be a second-language learner


Where can I Teach ESL?

Anywhere in the world where English is not the primary language (and even some places where it is – these are just a lot harder to find without formal qualifications).  Keep in mind that the opportunities are varied and the experience depends on where, when and how long you go for.

Your Resources

Useful Research Links

QUIC has provided these research links to get you started as you begin your search for teaching English abroad opportunities.  Please note that while these are frequently-used links covering a wide span of countries and teaching English abroad programs, QUIC does not advocate for any particular program or organization, and therefore is not responsible for any misinformation connected to these links.

Access South Korea Now Inc. (ASK Now) - Agency that may help you find a teaching placement in South Korea.

Bridge-Linguatec Inc in Chile - BridgeTEFL has been chosen by the Chilean Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and the United Nations Development Program to recruit a select group of English teachers for the esteemed “English Opens Doors” Program. Recognizing the fundamental importance of English language instruction in the modern world, the Chilean government created English Opens Doors in 2004 in order to connect local children with native English speakers.

BridgeTEFLJobs - BridgeTEFLJobs specializes in locating quality teaching positions with reputable schools around the globe.  They have a vast network of global contacts and dedicated TEFL job placement advisors.

Canadian Connection - agency providing support to candidates interested in teaching opportunities in Korea.

Dave’s ESL Cafe - For ESL/EFL students and teachers from around the world, including a forum where you can search for jobs, join a job discussion forum and more.

English & Korea - An organization that specializes in the recruitment and placement of English teachers seeking employment throughout Korea.

ESL Jobs World - Hundreds of jobs posted every week from employers around the world. It has a straightforward interface to help English teachers find jobs quickly and connect with employers easily.Footprints Recruiting Inc - Employment agency assisting in ESL teacher placement in Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan, Chile and Brazil.

Global Experiences - This international education programs provider, specializing in international internships and work experience abroad, offers a 4 week TESOL Certificate course in 19 international locations. Intensive training courses provide participants with an internationally recognized qualification and prepare them for teaching English as a foreign language anywhere across the globe.Hess Educational Organization - Recruits teachers from English speaking countries around the world.

International Educator (TIE Online) - Online newspaper with every issue featuring advertisements for hundreds of job openings placed by American and international schools throughout the world. TIE also articles about international schools and international education, personal news briefs and instructions on how to secure an international teaching position.JET Programme - Run by the Japanese Government, the programme hires Canadian university graduates to teach English in Japan on an annual basis.

Language House TEFL Course - Offers 4-week TEFL courses in Prague for individuals interested in teaching English and living abroad.O-Hayo Sensei

O-Hayo Sensei- Newsletter reporting on English teaching jobs in Japan

Oxford Seminars Canada - Provides TESOL courses in Ontario, including Kingston. Upon completing the 60-hour in-class course, you will receive an internationally-recognized certificate and six months of free job placement assistance through the Oxford Seminars Teacher Placement Department.

People Recruit - An organization run by ex-ESL teachers, who help place you into teaching jobs in Korea.  Their website goes over how the ESL recruiting industry works and of teaching conditions in Korea. - Directory for teaching positions around the world where you can search through educational opportunities, paid work and volunteer international teaching positions.

Teaching Jobs Overseas - Information for educators and students seeking employment abroad.

Teach Away - Canadian recruitment agency helping North American teachers find employment in different countries around the world, including Japan, Korea and Thailand. Teach Away’s partners include a wide range of educational institutions including: Elementary, middle and high schools; international schools; businesses requiring English language instructors; summer camps;  adult learning centres; and private ESL schools.

TEFL Asia - Bangkok-based site offering teaching certifications, job placement opportunities, and creative outlets for teachers all over South East Asia.

TEFL Professional Network ( - Offers a professional register, a selection of current appointments, a resources section and a teacher development program directory.TEFL Worldwide Prague - Runs a 4-week 120-hour TEFL certification course in Prague. The course includes 8 to 10 hours of practice in a classroom.

Transitions - Site providing vast resources for teaching ESL abroad, study, paid and volunteer work abroad, living abroad, and cultural travel overseas. Includes a teaching English abroad advisor; links to ESL training, certification, and job placement schools and programs; searches by region and by country.

WorldTeach - Non-profit, non-governmental organization which provides opportunities for individuals to live and work as volunteer teachers in developing countries.

TESL/TEFL Qualification FAQ

Is it necessary to have qualifications in order to get a job teaching ESL?

  • No, many countries welcome individuals who wish to teach English and do not have qualifications or experience. The greatest problem, however, may not be finding a job; rather, it may be access to the job market and employment permits.
  • Some countries only offer work permits to those teachers who have been officially invited.
  • Some countries have access to many qualified teachers and therefore the standard for these countries is for applicants to have qualifications; hence, there are fewer places for unqualified applicants.

What does it mean to be a qualified ESL/EFL teacher?

  • What is needed in the way of credentials varies greatly from region to region.
  • A ‘qualified’ ESL/EFL teacher usually holds some form of certification. ‘Certification’ is the formal recognition, in the form of a document or transcript, given to participants who have completed studies in degree, diploma and/or certificate programs focusing on Teaching English as a Second Language, applied linguistics, studies in second language learning, English for special purposes, ESL literacy, English for Academic Purposes.

How does one receive ‘certification’?

  • There are no international standards for TESL/TEFL qualifications. Many programs and courses are offered worldwide. These vary in content and contact hours in the classroom.

Certification requires full or part-time studies in:

  • Bachelor’s degrees with a minor in TESL
  • Master’s of Arts/Education (TESL/Applied Linguistics)

Or short programs e.g.

  • Ministry Certificate (ESL) – 2 levels (4-6 weeks full-time/level)
  • Cambridge University – Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) Preparatory Certificate of CETFLA – 4-5 weeks
  • UK Trinity College London – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate Courses (TESOL) – 4-5 weeks

Are there admission requirements for the short courses?

  • Generally the organizations offering the programs require that the applicant have an undergraduate degree before being admitted.
  • The applicant usually must pass a selection interview.
  • Some programs require the applicants to pass a test on English grammar.

What are the benefits of taking a certificate course?

  • Obtaining qualifications in TESL/TEFL is essential for those who wish to make a career of teaching in this area.
  • Many positions with non-governmental organizations, universities, public schools and nationally and internationally recognized language schools (e.g. British Council) are only open to those applicants who have qualifications.
  • It is easier to get jobs. Employers, while they may not require qualifications, recognize that applicants, who have taken the time to obtain them, may be more competent in the classroom.
  • Job satisfaction also increases, as one becomes more proficient as a teacher in the classroom. Increased experience and skill also go a long way to reduce job stress in difficult classroom teaching situations.
  • The course content of languages studies leading to TESL/TEFL certification often leads to a greater awareness of the cultural factors affecting the learner of English as a foreign language, and hence, can increase the teacher’s ability to engage the learner from a culturally appropriate context.


Where can I take these courses in Canada?

For a complete listing, refer to the English Language Teaching Guide (QUIC Resource Library ID# 686). Several universities offer programs at the Master’s level in TESL/TEFL and applied linguistics.  Many of the same institutions also offer special diplomas in TESL/TEFL.



Columbia College, Vancouver $2500.00 4 weeks
Int’l Language Institute, Halifax $2000.00 4 weeks (plus 12 weeks of paid work experience)
Kwantlen University College, Surrey $2000.00 4 weeks (or 8 weeks part-time)
LSC Language Studies, Toronto $2300.00 4 weeks


University/College Certificate Programs*:

Algonquin College, Ottawa $1375.00 (per semester) 1year
Brock University, St. Catharines varies varies
Calgary University, Calgary ——– 2 semesters
Carleton University, Ottawa $3527.00 / $1100.00 8 months / 4 weeks
Concordia University, Montreal varies 8 months
George Brown College, Toronto $500.00 (per course) 2 semesters
Humber College, Etobicoke $5000.00 16 weeks
Vancouver Community College, Vancouver $6000.00 10 months
Woodsworth, Toronto $659.59 (per course) 1 year approx.

and other places…

Please note that information provided on certification courses is for reference purposes only. Please confirm specific costs, additional application/registration fees, dates, changes in programs, availability, specific requirements, etc. with the course provider.

  • The QUIC Resource Library has books and region-specific information on Teaching ESL abroad.
  • Visit the Oxford Seminars Country Reports and FAQ Page, which give detailed information about Teaching English in a variety of countries
  • The University of Michigan provides very useful information about teaching abroad both without certification and for qualified teachers.
  • For information on TESL/TEFL courses, use our  TESL FAQ guide.
  • There are many agencies and placement services that specialize in recruiting ESL instructors available on the Web or in newspapers. You will need to do a lot of research and investigate each company thoroughly. Tip: Always ask to speak to people who have completed contracts.