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Beyond the Classroom: Diverse Career Paths for Qualified TEFL Teachers

Beyond the Classroom: Diverse Career Paths for Qualified TEFL Teachers | ITTT | TEFL Blog

While it is true that the vast majority of newly qualified EFL teachers start out by working in a mainstream ESL teaching job, either online or in a traditional classroom abroad, there are other options out there for those who are looking for something a little different. The many job options available to TEFL qualified teachers could include:

Volunteer English language teaching

It is possible to find many volunteering jobs that provide free accommodation and a stipend (small monetary payment) which will allow you to live virtually free in a country or region of your choice. This is an excellent way to gain short term experience, which you could then apply to some of the later suggestions given here.

Teaching English in your own country

Your TEFL or TESOL certificate is valid worldwide, so not only can also teach English as a second language in almost any country abroad, but also in your own country. Due to current world migration towards English speaking countries such as the USA and UK, there are a lot of non-native speakers needing English lessons for migration requirements..

English language teacher trainer

Once you have some teaching experience (at least three years is a typical requirement) you can use those skills to pass onto new trainees at a training center offering TEFL and TESOL certification. If you completed an in-class training course you will have a good idea from your experience of what is required by the trainers.

Head English language teacher

Once you have gained experience, moving into a management role is the next obvious step. You are most likely to be able to head a small department initially, working your way up as you gain further experience. As an administrator you are likely to have fewer teaching hours, which for some teachers is seen as a bonus.

International business

With increasing globalization of business, bi-lingual or multi-lingual staff is a valuable resource. If you are already in-country (from being a teacher there) you will have an advantage as employment opportunities arise. If you have been teaching in another country for a number of years and have become culturally immersed and learned the language, you are in a good position to move into an international business role.

ELT administration

Many schools and colleges in the USA (in particular) now employ as many (if not more) of these roles as they do teachers, so there are many jobs. If you have some management experience and you have professional development experience and have kept up with the latest educational trends, then administration could be your next move. If you are intending to move out from classroom teaching altogether, then an ELT administrative position may well be a possibility.

Curriculum or course designer

These types of employment are fairly specialized roles and so having experience in a particular area will be most useful. Specialist areas could include things like, teaching young learners, teaching business English or teaching online. Your TEFL or TESOL certification course and subsequent teaching experience will give you range of transferable skills, such as, materials and syllabus design. With knowledge of these topics it is possible to find employment in material and curriculum or course design.

International law

This applies mainly to those who already have a degree in any subject. If you also have a TEFL or TESOL certificate and some work experience living in a particular country, then this is a realistic option. Your employment opportunities in this area of work will be greatly increased if you speak two languages. If you speak Portuguese and English for example and want to work in Brazil (or any other Portuguese speaking country) then you could find work in a variety of legal occupations and related services.


In conclusion, the world of TEFL teaching offers a multitude of exciting career paths beyond the conventional classroom setting. Whether you're passionate about volunteering, interested in teacher training, seeking administrative roles, or aiming for international business opportunities, your TEFL qualification opens doors to a world of possibilities. With dedication, experience, and a willingness to explore diverse avenues, you can forge a rewarding and fulfilling career that aligns with your interests and aspirations. So, if you're ready to embark on a journey of professional growth and adventure, don't hesitate to explore these alternative paths and discover the boundless opportunities that await you in the realm of TEFL. Happy teaching!

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