I want to work in TEFL & Teaching Abroad

Find out how you can start a career in TEFL & teaching abroad. Here we list potential job roles and some of the leading companies in that sector.

Job roles

The Careers and Employability Service receives many TEFL vacancies throughout the year – too many for us to personally check the organisations’ credentials. Therefore, before you apply for any vacancies, please do some research of your own.

What is TEFL? or TESOL? or is it TESL?

  • TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
  • TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • TESL = Teaching English as a Second Language

The terms TEFL and TESOL both mean teaching English to people whose first language is not English and who are normally resident in a non-English speaking country. These students may wish to learn English for many reasons – for business purposes, to improve their educational or career opportunities or to travel.
TESL normally refers to teaching English to people who have moved from their own country to the UK (or another English-speaking country) and need to develop their English language skills in order to work, study, access services and/or develop social networks.

Job roles

See Prospects for detailed job profiles of TEFL and TESOL teachers

Jargon buster

  • TEFL Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
  • TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • TESL Teaching English as a Second Language
  • ESP English for Specific Purposes e.g. law, technology, medicine
  • EAP English for Academic Purposes. Training EFL teachers
  • ELT English Language Teaching
  • CELTA Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. One of the two internationally-recognised TEFL qualifications
  • DELTA Diploma course for graduates with two years' ELT experience
  • UCLES The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, which validates CELTA courses
  • RSA The words 'RSA certificate' are often still used when referring to CELTA, although Cambridge ESOL took over RSA certificates and diplomas for teachers in 1988!
  • CertTEFLA - an even older name for CELTA
  • CertTESOL The Trinity College Certificate in TESOL – the other internationally-recognised TEFL qualification
  • JET Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme
  • PGCE Postgraduate Certificate in Education – the essential course to teach in state schools in the UK. A few PGCE courses include TEFL as a subsidiary subject
  • VSO Voluntary Service Overseas


Sites carrying recruitment information and job vacancies

  • British Council - advice on teaching and TEFL qualifications with many links
  • i to i TELF Courses and Jobs
  • ESL Job Project TEFL Jobs, ESL Jobs and teachers resumes mainly in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan
  • Love TEFL Worldwide TEFL jobs board and teachers' information hub, including practical guides on TEFL job seeking and country profiles

Find out more


For many of the better jobs in Europe you need a TEFL qualification. The TEFL Certificate is the preliminary qualification and the one sought by most language schools when recruiting teachers. Courses are open to undergraduates and graduates of any subject who are native speakers of, or completely fluent in, English. They take about 1 month and costs around £1,000.

Cambridge ESOL courses (CELTA) and Trinity College London (TESOL) are known to be well established and respected worldwide and these qualifications are often specified by recruiters. You can complete a CELTA course here at the Centre for English and World Languages

However, there is a great variety of TEFL courses available. Anybody can set up such a course – there is no requirement for any accreditation in this field. Always find out exactly what a course offers before signing up to it.

Some companies offer training as part of an employment contract but the certificate is usually specific to the company. However the experience may enable you to work for other companies.

You will see Diploma and even Master's courses in TEFL but it is not necessary to have one of these to teach: most students on these courses already have a TEFL certificate plus teaching experience and are often preparing to train teachers themselves.

TEFL course listings

TEFL course providers

These are just a few, mentioned here because they are based locally or regularly provide the Careers and Employability Service with details of their courses.

  • University of Kent Centre for English and World Languages CELTA course, delivered through CEWL, is open to suitably qualified University of Kent students and members of the public. It is scheduled to allow students to follow the course during vacation periods.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Concorde International
  • i-to-i One of the world's leading TEFL course and internship providers, running English government-regulated training and international placements for first time TEFL teachers
  • International House runs TEFL courses (for the Cambridge CELTA certificate and other qualifications, in London and overseas) and also has over 110 schools in 31 countries where you can be placed on completion of your training.
  • Saxoncourt runs Cambridge CELTA courses in Central London
  • The Language House Prague, Czech Republic.
  • TEFL Worldwide match people up with English, German and Spanish teachers in 12+ cities globally including Budapest/Prague/Barcelona/Madrid
  • TtMadrid TEFL school based in Madrid. Also offer information on TEFL, living in Spain and visas
  • TEFL Iberia Barcelona. Every month we train groups of students to teach English as a foreign language then help them find a job abroad.

General TEFL sites: advice, information, courses and vacancies


Teaching English in the UK

There are many language schools throughout the UK, with the largest number being in the South-East and along the south coast. They may offer vacation employment opportunities for activity leaders and social organisers (who will not need a TEFL qualification) as well as for qualified English language teachers. Much of this work is seasonal, from June to August. Again, we are only able to list a few of the many language schools individually.

  • English UK the national association of English language centres accredited by the British Council
  • English in Britain lists EFL courses accredited by the British Council
  • Concorde International, Canterbury
  • Pilgrims also uses the Canterbury campus for its summer courses
  • Studio Cambridge recruits staff with teaching experience or qualifications to teach English on summer courses and Activity Organisers to oversee the running of courses, help run activities and supervise students

Outside of Europe

Most of these organisations do not require a TEFL qualification and some will provide introductory TEFL training

  • Africa & Asia Venture placements teaching a variety of subjects and activities in primary and secondary schools, including English and sciences, music and art, clubs and sports. Now offer 4-5 month volunteering placements teaching in India, Nepal, China, Thailand, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa, and Mexico
  • ETIV do Brasil is a small NGO co-founded by a 2014 Kent graduate.  It offers volunteering opportunities in Brazil including admin/office support, marketing and communications, environmental conservation, teaching English and youth development.
  • I-to-I Ventures voluntary placements teaching in South America , India , Africa, Far east, and many other places. TEFL training is provided.
  • Projects Abroad short or long term volunteer placements Worldwide . Offer projects in Teaching, Journalism, Conservation, Law, Community projects, Sport, and Medicine.
  • Travellers Worldwide teaching conversational English, generally to children and occasionally to adults, usually in the poorer sections of society. Volunteer placements in 16 countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe
  • UNIPAL summer vacation opportunities to teach English to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon
  • VSO opportunities for English/Modern Languages graduates to teach English
  • British Council recruits graduates, and students taking a year abroad, to work as language assistants in schools in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain

Teaching in other European countries

British Council www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistants recruits graduates, and students taking a year abroad, to work as language assistants in schools in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain

Some private language schools known to the CES

  • Access Sprachschule Language school in Switzerland which has previously recruited a Kent graduate
  • Adom Lingua Language school in Paris which has previously recruited a Kent graduate
  • Angloville for university students who would like to use their summer break to support top business people or ambitious youth (12-18) from across Central and Eastern Europe. Includes free stay in a beautiful countryside hotel in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Czech Republic - including all meals. Teaching experience with access to free TEFL training (You can apply for the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship).
  • English Summer runs residential summer language courses for students aged 5-17 in southern Spain. TEFL qualifications are preferred but not always necessary.
  • Escuela Kilkenny Language school in Salamanca which has previously recruited a Kent graduate
  • Jump into English Language school in Madrid which also organises courses (including English+Rugby and English+Football) in the UK. Has previously recruited a Kent graduate
  • London Language Centre Language school in Barcelona which has previously recruited a Kent graduate
  • teflSearch teflSearch interactive budgets for China, Korea and Japan. People often rush into teaching English abroad with only a really basic idea about the financial side: living costs, taxes, social security etc. There are irritating subtleties, for example: British teachers can't withdraw a Korean pension when they leave but Americans can.

The above list is only a selection, of schools which regularly advertise vacancies through us or which have recruited Kent graduates, and does not imply any recommendation.


  • JET - the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme - is supported by the Japanese government and recruits graduates in any subject to work as Assistant Language Teachers in Japanese schools. ALTs work alongside Japanese teachers to develop English language teaching and international understanding. You don't need Japanese language skills or teaching experience - just an interest in Japan and its culture. Closing date is usually around late November for the following summer's entry.
    The JET site for UK candidates is.
  • Interac teach English in state schools in Japan. Japanese school year starts April but recruits can start work at almost any time of year. Take about 250 graduates per year from Europe but this number is rapidly increasing. Teachers get about £1600  (2018) per month (depending on exchange rate). Flights are not paid for but taxation is low and accommodation is cheap: Teachers get holidays in which they can travel. Teachers can stay as long as they want and quite a few stay permanently in Japan. The application process is much shorter and simpler than for JET. You don't need to be able to speak Japanese or to have teaching experience. Application to offer only takes about 6 weeks normally. The next stage after making an application is telephone interview, then an interview.
  • 121sensei teacher and student matching service for Japan based instructors of any language.

Assessment centre information

Assessment Centre Report: ESL teacher Canada with the British Council

Questions asked in 15 minute interview with 2 interviewers

  • How would you cope with homesickness?
  • What would you do on a snow day? (I applied for a position in Canada)
  • If you had to market Montreal to foreigners, how would you do it?
  • How would you meet new people or integrate yourself into the community?
  • What did you feel could have been better about this morning's session?
  • What tests were you given if any?: no value How long did they each last?

Group Exercise

There was a group exercise for an hour and a half. We had to come up with a 30 minute lesson plan which related to British culture then present it as a group.
They asked questions such as

  • 'what would you do if the projector broke?',
  • 'what would you do if one child was misbehaving?',
  • 'what would you do if no one wants to speak English?',
  • 'what would you do if the children couldn't understand you?'.

Tips: Research the country you are applying to really well. Even if you have lived there it might not be enough. Also have a lot of ideas of what kind of lessons you would plan and be forceful at getting your answers across during the group interview.

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