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Requirements for Teaching ESL Abroad for College Students

by Josh Hawthorne, studioD

If you want to teach English overseas after you graduate, you need to have the right credentials. English teachers need to be native speakers of English. A bachelor's degree is a common requirement. An English as a second language teaching certification is sometimes necessary. English teachers need to have a valid work visa -- and each country has its own specific requirements.

Visa Issues

A visa may be necessary for teaching overseas.

In most countries, a work visa is required to teach English, though some countries will allow teachers to have just a tourist visa. Some common issues when trying to get a visa include sending in pictures that are not passport quality and sending in copies of necessary certificates and degrees instead of the originals. These errors can cause your visa application to be denied.

Asia

Working in an Asian country can provide valuable teaching experience.

Many schools in Asian countries will hire you if you have a bachelor's degree in any subject, not just English. For example, in Japan, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme is one way to find employment. For South Korea, EPIK hires for public school teaching positions. In China, a recruiting agency can ensure that you are placed at stable, reputable schools.

Europe

Poland is one exception to EU passport requirements.

A European Union passport is usually required to legally get an English teaching position in Europe. Most countries in Europe also require you to have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language or Teaching English as a Second or Other Language certificate. Prior English teaching experience is preferred in many countries, making Europe a more challenging place for recent graduates to find an English teaching job.

Teach in the Middle East

The Middle East is often reserved for experienced teachers.

Teaching positions in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are highly sought after and are therefore extremely competitive. Most teaching positions throughout the Middle East require at least two years of experience and often require teachers to possess a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults or a Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults. Recruiters will not usually place new teachers in these countries.

About the Author

Based in Victoria, BC, Canada, Josh Hawthorne has been writing curriculum and digital project guides since 1998. He holds a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Victoria. Hawthorne freely admits he loves reading zombie literature and is currently working on a book about error correction for students learning English (without zombies).

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