The good jobs need qualifications, although in many cases just any old college diploma will serve. In many places an English school will only hire graduates but won’t object if your degree is in Estonian glass blowing.
The serious English schools want to see the appropriate TEFL certificates, though, especially in Europe. There are hundreds of schools all around the world where you can get certified so if you’re itching to travel you can study while you’re away.
The two most accepted names are:
- Cambridge/RSA (CELTA) – Also offers a job placement program to graduates.
- Trinity (TESOL)
The length and cost of the courses vary, but typically you might do a 4 week intensive course and it would set you back between $1200-$2000.
That’s a fair chunk of money but after that you have full access to the best schools and the biggest salaries. Some schools won’t even give you an interview without the certification. There’s even the possibility that you might actually learn something on the course that will help you become a good teacher. You’ll get to experience classroom scenarios and get coached on ways to keep a good learning atmosphere going. It’ll help when it comes to giving your first class when you land a job.
It’s a good idea to try your hand at teaching before you get the certificate though. You might find you’re a natural who doesn’t need any instruction. Or you might also find that you hate the job and doing the TEFL course would be a waste of money.
Teaching English can be a quick break for a few months, a travel stop to build up cash, or a serious career spanning years. Again, before signing a long work contract, or worse paying for placement as a teacher abroad, you should probably just go and try it. Buy a ticket to the country you want to teach in, look up the English schools in a telephone directory, and then pay visits to see if they need teachers (they all do.) Test the waters before you make any long term commitments.