4 Steps How to Become an English Teacher Abroad and Get Paid To Travel The World

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One of the most asked questions I get from readers, friends and family is how to become an English teacher abroad and how to get a TEFL certificate. Working as an EFL teacher is a highly attractive job where you basically get paid to travel the world.

I taught English in China for a year each and started working for ITTT, the leading TEFL and TESOL provider, after teaching in South Korea for another year. Over the past five years, I have learned a lot about the global teaching market and know it like the back of my hand.

Here are the 4 steps you need to take to become an English teacher abroad, plus a 20% discount on your TESOL or TEFL certificate course!

What is the difference between TESOL and TEFL?

The above are generally used interchangeably, however, TEFL is most commonly used within the UK and TESOL is usually preferred in Australia and the USA. Although some countries may favor one acronym over the other, it is important to remember that a TEFL certification and a TESOL certification are exactly the same thing as the training involved is identical.

Step 1: Get TEFL Certified

A TEFL certificate is the first step towards a successful teaching career. If you possess a TEFL/TESOL qualification, your employer knows that you are qualified to teach and know what you are talking about. At the same time, the employer can be sure that you are serious about teaching and aren’t only looking for a fun time abroad.

I taught English in China and South Korea and took my TEFL with International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT). The courses also come with tutor support and videos and you’ll have access to thousands of job offers worldwide after graduating. As most employers worldwide require their teachers to possess a certificate of at least 100 hours of study, I recommend the following course options:

If you’re interested, you can get a 20% discount through this link.

Step 2: Specializations

While your basic 120-hour TEFL/TESOL certificate is the first step towards your ESL adventure abroad, you should consider adding specialized qualifications onto it. The reason for this is that the competition for well-paid positions in competitive teaching regions is incredibly high. That’s why I took the 50-hour teaching English to young learners certificate and the 50-hour teaching Business English courses from ITTT as well.

hostel in Chinatown Singapore

A TEFL certificate is the first step towards a career in teaching English abroad!

Step 3: Apply to multiple schools

Once you have passed your course and have your certificate in hand, you can start applying. Be sure to apply to as many job offers as possible to be able to choose the best ones once they offer you a job. Also, make sure that you look professional during the interview, e.g. dress up for a Skype interview and do research about the region and school if possible.

Step 4: Be flexible!

Being flexible will get you a long way in the world of teaching English abroad. That means, get your paperwork and passport ready to be able to start a job as early as next month. At the same time, don’t be set on a particular city or country but branch out and be open to other opportunities.

Teaching English in China with EF

EF, or English First, is the biggest English language school chain in China and a great company to work for if you are looking to teach English in China for four main reasons:

  1. Legal Working Visa Provided
  2. Arrival Support and Orientation
  3. Choose Where You Teach
  4. Promotion Opportunities

EF English First has over 300 schools across 60 cities in China – and you can choose where you want to teach in! If you decide to work with EF, they will also pay for your flight to China! Besides China, EF also has schools in Russia and Indonesia.

The best part is, EF hires year round, so the best time to apply is now.

Salary package:

  • Up to 16,400 RMB monthly, based on qualifications
  • 8,000 RMB annual flight allowance
  • Sponsored legal Z work visa
  • 10,000 RMB salary advance available
  • Health insurance
  • 10 paid annual leave days plus 11 national holidays
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Free hotel accommodation during your first two weeks at EF English First
  • Free Mandarin Chinese lessons
  • Weekly EF sponsored social events
  • Teacher advantages discount scheme
  • Job rotation scheme


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • A TEFL Certification
  • The ability to obtain a clear background check
  • The ability to live abroad for at least one year
  • Applicants must be citizens from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand to meet China’s visa regulations.

Teaching English Online From Anywhere in the World

If you don’t want to commit to living abroad for a long period of time or simply want to remain location-independent, teaching English online is the perfect way to earn a living! With MagicEars, you earn between 18 and 26 USD per hour, which is 30% higher than the average. There are no minimum working hours and you can arrange your lessons freely at a time that suits your schedule and lifestyle.

MagicEarns provides their teachers with their very own virtual classroom, a program that you simply download onto your computer. You then have access to your own personal lesson planner and the lesson material for your upcoming classes. You don’t have to prep anything yourself and are provided interactive slides to work through with your students.

So here’s why you should work with MagicEars:

  • 30% higher pay than other online teaching platforms
  • flexible lesson scheduling – no minimum hours
  • teaching material provided – no prep time
  • easy payment via PayPal

Have fun teaching abroad!

Teaching English abroad is one of the most exciting and rewarding professions in the world. There is no greater joy than exploring a new country and culture while teaching English to locals and seeing your students improve at English.

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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.


  1. Muskan on April 7, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    I’m from India and I’m still studying in 12 class. What degree do I need to get an English teacher job in Korea (there is a cepa agreement between Korea and India but my phone is not working properly 😐to know about it) do I need b.ed or b.a. or a TEFL with them I’m so confused please tell me

    • Linda on April 12, 2021 at 6:47 pm

      Hello Muskan! Thanks for your comment. This is what the official EPIK program website says: Under the CEPA agreement, Indian citizens are eligible for positions if they meet all other requirements and hold a teacher’s license in English. Please inquiry with the EPIK Office at epik@korea.kr for more details.

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