Where to Work

hands_and_worldEFL teachers work in virtually every country in the world. They probably have more choice about where to work than any other profession. Choosing where to work is an important decision and on this page we aim to help you by providing current information about conditions in specific countries and areas. Please be patient as it will take several months to compile the initial profiles. We welcome information from teachers in all countries. Remember that wherever you decide to work you will have to make an effort to find a job. TEFL is not an easy option. You may also like to consider voluntary work. This has always been a good way to acquire experience and most major cities in the US or UK will have opportunities. It is also possible to work as a volunteer abroad. Many Chinese recruiters offer short term contracts for teachers who are interested in learning Mandarin.Often normal work permit restrictions are waived for such cases. Almost everyone who makes the effort will eventually find work. It does require as much, if not more, effort than finding any other job. Factors such as appearance, attitude and voice are as important as qualifications in some cases. We advise participants on our courses on the best way to go about finding work. People have done our course in order to fund travel, to enbark on a new career, to experience living in another culture or to fund retirement, plus many other easons. EFL teachers are a diverse group of people but they are almost always adventurous!


Every teacher working abroad should take out travel insurance. We have a comprehensive but inexpensive option for you. Travel Insurance


work_in_japan_teflJapan is undoubtedly one of the most desirable countries in which to teach English. Salaries are high and most teachers have an enviable lifestyle. However it is not as easy to find work as it was in the past and more schools now insist on some form of TEFL certification. Expect to work as hard to find work here as you might in your own country.

In order to get a working visa it is necessary to have a University/College degree. Some teachers are able to circumvent this requirement by various means. Australians and some others can apply for special visas which allow them to work without the usual qualifications.

Salaries are mostly around the 250,000 yen mark per month. This is sufficient to rent an apartment, live reasonably well and also save money to send home. Most teachers are able to supplement this through private teaching and other activities. Apartments are rarely provided in the cities but many schools in smaller towns offer cheap or subsidised accommodation.

The teaching burden [in common with most Asian countries] can be quite heavy. Twenty-eight or more hours of teaching contact is not uncommon. This may seem light but with preparation and possibly travel it can be hard going. There may be additional duties such as recruiting students on top of this. Private school classes can be spread over the entire day but most take place in the evening and 9.00 p.m. is a common finishing time. Holidays are poor compared to Europe but comparable with the USA.

Class sizes vary enormously. In private schools [which provide most jobs] they usually include one-to-one and small groups [2-8 students]. Company classes can be almost any size. In universities, colleges and schools the classes generally average around thirty but can be sixty or higher. The majority of students in private schools are female and aged 14 to 30.

Japan spends more money on learning English than any other country but with mixed results. It is not necessary to speak Japanese to work in Japan although some basic language will be needed to get by with living. Japanese people are usually friendly and helpful and most teachers quickly find someone to help them settle in.

Japan is a modern and relatively safe country. Food is cheaper than you might expect and of an exceptional standard and variety. Japanese culture is fascinating but it can take a long time for foreigners to adjust and culture shock accounts for the large number of teachers who fail to complete their first year in Japan.

Norwood English hold seminars on living and working in Japan and are preparing a guide to finding work and living there.


dubai_mosque_work_teflAlthough at the top end of the market considerable experience and a Masters degree are probably essential a second tier of EFL employment seems to have developed in recent years. Certainly a large number of those who have done our Certificate course are now finding work there. As these jobs are seldom advertised outside of Saudi Arabia you need to be on the spot or have contact with someone there to find work. A knowledge of Arabic is also useful although many employers now offer free Arabic lessons to their teachers. Indeed many people who are attracted to this sector are already learning Arabic or are keen to work in a Muslim country. Three years ago most of this work seemed to be teaching children but recently this seems to have changed and adult classes now figure prominently. The impetus for growth seems to be the large expatriate work force. Class sizes in this sector tend to be quite large in the case of children but smaller groups or one-to-one with adults. Salaries are high by TEFL standards and people who have remained in contact with us after taking employment there seem to have a good standard of living. Accommodation is often provided and at the very least help is given with finding somewhere to live. Reports suggest that private lessons can attract between 15 and 30 US dollars per hour. Working conditions vary. The established schools are superbly equipped but this may not be the case with more recent enterprises. You are advised to acquire health insurance. Some employers provide this but it is essential to check exactly what you are entitled to.


china_great_wall_tefl_workThere are probably more opportunities in China than anywhere else in the world. This is certainly the fastest growing market for English language and the demand for teachers is increasing exponentially. There are opportunities for every kind of teacher. Contracts are normally for one year and, legally at least, require a degree. However there are many shorter contracts which combine learning mandarin or Chinese culture with teaching. Several companies now offer the chance to gain experience through voluntary work [you’re usually given free accommodation and allowances]. Teachers work in all sorts of areas. Most jobs are in the cities but increasingly there are opportunities in rural areas. Accommodation is usually provided as is health care and sometimes return flights. Many contracts provide subsidised food and travel. Salaries are tax free. Conditions have improved considerably even in the past six months. Teaching is mainly in schools but University work is possible for virtually anyone and private schools are appearing in many areas.  Before you go to China check with your medical advisor/doctor about any vaccinations that are advised. It might also be worth taking out private health insurance with a company in your own country. There is no doubt that China offers some of the best opportunities for inexperienced teachers. It’s also one of the more interesting locations in which to live and work.


Many teachers still work without qualifications or  visas in this beautiful country. However a TEFL Certificate will generally mean better pay and working conditions; essential if you want to work for more than a few months to fund travel. Pay might not sound great but EFL teachers receive roughly double the wages of highly qualified local teachers. In fact they earn five times what most locals earn.

You do need a third level qualification if you are to work legally -i.e. obtain a work visa. As with most TEFL destinations it is easier to get a job once you are in the country. Not all jobs advertised outside are what they seem. If you are in the country you can speak to other teachers and get local information; hopefully avoiding expensive mistakes.


This is rapidly becoming one of the favorite destinations for new and experienced teachers alike.

more to follow


You can find details of several employers on our job site.