Turkey is famous as a crossroads between Europe and Asia and it is fast becoming known for its booming market for foreign English language teachers. Demand is very high in all the big cities and tourist resorts as English language skills are becoming more and more important in many fields of employment. It is no exaggeration to say that Turkey offers more opportunities for TEFL qualified teachers than any other country in the region.
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Although it is possible to find a teaching job with no qualifications, these positions are likely to be with less than reputable employers who pay at the bottom end of the local scale. Most good teaching jobs will require a TEFL/TESOL certification, while some may also ask for a degree and/or previous experience. It is worth noting that many employers prefer their teachers to have completed an in-class TEFL course that included teaching practice rather than an online course.
Private language schools are the biggest employer of foreign teachers in Turkey. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of these spread all over the country, ranging from large international chain academies to small independent schools. Most language schools cater for adults looking to improve their English skills in order to find work in the tourism industry and for those who need business related English in their current job. Language schools generally pay an hourly rate rather than a fixed salary.
Universities and private schools are two other options to consider. These typically pay the best salaries and often offer other benefits and good working conditions. However, these positions are small in number and will normally require a high level of qualifications and experience.
To work legally in Turkey you will need a work and residentâs visa. When looking for work it is advisable to try and find an employer who is willing to do most of the paperwork for you and pay the fees involved. Just be sure what you have agreed to when you sign your contract. If the employer is not willing to pay the visa fees it is not usually a deal breaker as the total fee amounts to around $200 USD per year.
For jobs in universities and public schools it is best to start your job search during the summer months in preparation for the new school year. For the majority of jobs in language schools there is no fixed hiring time as jobs can become available at anytime of the year. It is advisable to start looking for work a couple of months before you intend to get on the plane. Many employers advertise positions online which allows you to locate opportunities in advance. However, many employers will still expect to interview face-to-face so it helps if you are able to head to Turkey to complete the recruitment process.
By far the biggest market for foreign teachers in Turkey is Istanbul. The demand in the city is huge and it also offers a modern, comfortable environment for teachers who are new to working abroad or simply like their comforts. The capital city Ankara also has a good demand for teachers, as do other big cities such as Izmir and Adana. Coastal resorts are always a popular place to look for work as demand is there due to the tourism industry and the lifestyle is often more laid-back than inland cities.