Teaching Abroad & ESL Jobs FAQ


Do I need any special qualifications to become an ESL teacher?

It certainly helps, but in many countries around the world, you only need a bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university. However, with more qualifications, such as TEFL and TESOL certificates or additional degrees, your initial pay will increase substantially, as will what you and your students get from class. It’s surprising how much the additional training will help your lessons, so definitely go for it if you can.


How can I find a job teaching ESL?

There are countless excellent job sites out there that can help you find the right one for you. Here are some popular ESL job sites:


Can I trust the job postings I find online?

Generally yes when using the main boards, but you never really know about a job until you are actually working for the company. In Asia, you’ll find that things are in constant flux, including contract terms you’ve agreed to. The best advice is to find foreigners (remember, you’re now a foreigner) who work or have worked in the school. Try talking to more than one person if you can. Use your judgment: don’t trust every horror story you read and don’t believe something that sounds like an advertisement for the company, especially if it’s fraught with grammatical errors.


Are there any government programs or placement agencies that can help find me a job?

There are many governmental programs offering job placements. We try to keep this list current, but let us know if you find a broken link.

Korea: English Program in Korea (EPIK)
Japan: Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET)
Hong Kong: Native-Speaking English Teacher Scheme (NET)
France: English Assistantship Program (US citizens only)


When should I apply?

Job postings come up year round for private schools and institutes, but for public schools, hiring often begins around two times: October and May. Public schools start to hire about 5 months prior to the start of a semester, so if you want a job ASAP, you’ll want to try private schools and institutes.