EFL teachers help students learn or improve their English in the UK and abroad.
Salary range: £14,000 to £35,000
How to become an English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- applying directly
- professional development training
Some employers may expect you to have a degree or postgraduate course that gives you qualified teacher status (QTS). Useful subjects include:
- modern foreign languages
- education studies
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can take Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses at colleges and private training providers all over the world. They vary widely in cost and length. You can do:
- a full-time course lasting 4 weeks or 120 hours
- a part-time course lasting 11, 16 weeks or 36 weeks
- a distance learning course where you may need to arrange your own teaching practice
The most common TEFL qualifications are:
- Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (Cambridge CELTA)
- Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Trinity CertTESOL)
You’ll usually need:
- an excellent standard of English
- A levels or equivalent qualifications
You could get experience as a paid language assistant in schools abroad. You do not need Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualifications for this, but you’ll need to have completed at least 2 years in higher education.
The British Council has information about working abroad as an English language assistant.
You may need foreign language skills for some jobs.
You can work as an EFL teacher in further education. You’ll usually need a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, which you can do through professional development. After the Diploma, you can get qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS).
To work in schools in the UK, you’ll usually need to be a qualified teacher.
You can find out more about how to become a teacher in further education from FE Advice.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of English language
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to read English
- excellent written communication skills
- analytical thinking skills
- persistence and determination
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
What you’ll do
In this role you could be:
- preparing and teaching language lessons and activities
- producing learning resources
- encouraging talking, to develop language and understanding
- setting and marking tests and exercises
- organising social and cultural activities, like sports, social events and trips
- keeping learner records
You could work at a language school, at a college or from home.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.
Career path and progression
With experience, you may be able to progress to a management position in a commercial language school or a college.
You could also move into private tuition or teacher training. You could open your own language school or write EFL learning materials, online resources and apps.