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How to Get into Teaching English as a Foreign Language

How to Get into Teaching English as a Foreign Language | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Do you want to use your skills and knowledge to educate others? Do you feel that you could connect with young people and change their lives? If so, maybe teaching is the career for you.

The HelloGrads team has interviewed a number of teachers (including TEFL teachers) to find out about their experience, the massive appeal of a teaching career, and the various training routes. Here are some of the things they told us:

What are the benefits of teaching?

  • Clear career progression
  • Stable career - teachers are always in demand, in the UK and abroad
  • Long school holidays
  • Teacher’s pension

But more than this…

A fulfilling career

‘As a teacher, you really feel that you’re making a difference. Some of the children’s home lives are not so happy, or you ignite a spark in them. The visible results and reactions you see from the children can be so rewarding.’ - Sophie

Job satisfaction

‘Being a teacher gives you the sort of job satisfaction that few other people will experience. It’s a job that makes you whistle on your way to work, rather than when you’re leaving.’ - Jill‘I’ve always enjoyed spending time with children and learning from them. The best thing about being a teacher is the kids. They are so amazing. So funny and unique. They are the most important part of it, and the best part. ‘- Emma

Being a positive role model

Besides parents, teachers probably have the biggest influence on a child's life.


Every day is different, the work is never boring. And you’re always learning.

Multiple opportunities

You can work in different places around the country and world. ‘One of the best parts of being a TEFL teacher is experiencing other cultures and getting to meet new people from all over the globe. It trains you to adapt to different environments and takes away the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone The flexible work arrangements make it possible for you to get paid while teaching English remotely from home, while travelling, or living abroad.’ - Pearl

‘Teaching English as a foreign language can bring in some income while you’re studying, travelling or looking for work. You’ll be providing your students with a valuable life skill, and at the same time, you’ll be enriched by interacting with people from different nationalities and cultures.’ - Simon

How to Get into Teaching

‘Do all the experience that you can. Volunteer or work in as many schools and as many settings as possible. Then you will build up a picture of what sort of environment and age groups you most enjoy. And you will feel more confident when you start training.’ - Emma

There are many different routes into teaching which require different qualifications and levels of experience, but it’s important that you get your Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) so make sure it is included in your course.

Bachelor’s degree in Education

University-based undergraduate degree for learning about the field of education. It includes varying lengths of teaching practices in multiple schools.

Post Graduate Certificate in Education PCGE

To apply for a PGCE, you will need relevant experience working/volunteering in schools with your chosen age range, and your first degree should be relevant to the subject you want to teach. Your degree will involve studying at university and practical teaching experience.

Teach First

The Teach First scheme partners with schools facing challenges with high numbers of deprived pupils. Its mission is to provide equal quality education for all. You’ll need a 2:1 or above to be accepted onto the two-year programme. You receive a salary throughout your training, and you’ll gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE).

Schools Direct Teacher Training

This is a schools-based scheme, allowing you to learn ‘on the job’. Some places are funded by tuition fees (paid by the graduate trainee), whilst others are salaried - but these placements are competitive and are generally aimed at graduates with 3 or more years of transferable work experience. Most programmes lead to a PGCE qualification.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language TEFL/TESOL

To pursue teaching English as a foreign language either online or abroad, you’ll need an internationally recognized qualification: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) most common for UK and Europe, or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) preferred in Australia, New Zealand, and North America.

There are plenty of course options all over the world that allow you to study at your own pace, including online, classroom-based or a combination of the two. Whilst you don’t need further qualifications to teach English as a foreign language, a teaching degree and/or experience would clearly boost your employability and may enable you to earn more.

Are you ready to teach English as a foreign language?

Apply now & get certified to teach english abroad!

Speak with an ITTT advisor today to put together your personal plan for teaching English abroad!

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