What level of English is required for TESOL?

If you plan to Teach English as a Second Language (TESOL) in your home country, overseas, or online, you will find there are usually a few requirements laid down by employers that can vary from country to country or job to job. In some cases, teaching positions can be restricted to native English speakers only. However, the good news is that the demand for English teachers is very high in many areas, which means there are typically plenty of jobs available for all fluent English speakers. So what are the main requirements when it comes to non-native English speakers teaching ESL?

TESOL Certification

Before you start looking at potential jobs around the world, the first thing you will need to do is complete a TESOL certification course. With a TESOL qualification in your back pocket you will be taken seriously by employers and have the required skills and knowledge to plan and deliver top class lessons for your future students. As there are plenty of countries and individual employers who are more than happy to take on non-native English speaking teachers, there is no reason why you can’t successfully complete a TESOL course, whatever your native language. Just remember that to teach English to a good standard you will need to have a solid grasp of the language, in speaking, reading, and writing.

As long as your English is fluent you are welcome to join any one of our TESOL certification courses at ITTT.

Where are ESL jobs restricted to native English speakers?

Unfortunately, some of the countries with the biggest markets for foreign English teachers have government restrictions in place that mean non-native English speakers are not eligible for work visas or permits. This effectively rules out popular countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In some cases, schools and teachers are still able to get around these restrictions by using other forms of visa, but generally we recommend you look elsewhere for more straightforward and 100% legitimate options. Also, it is worth noting that ESL jobs in English speaking countries are also unlikely to be available as these positions are usually taken by local native speakers.

Where can non-native English speakers teach English legally?

lthough some of the more popular teaching destinations might be out of bounds for non-native English speakers, there are still some great options to choose from. As long as you have a TESOL qualification you will be able to apply for teaching jobs in countries in most parts of the world. In Asia where the ESL market is absolutely huge, non-native speakers with a TESOL qualification are welcome in countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The average salaries offered may not be in the same league as some of the more developed countries in the region, however, all three of these destinations offer fascinating cultures, welcoming local communities, and plenty of opportunities for adventure.

In Europe the options are also limited in some of the top destinations as employers are able to pick and choose due to the high number of teachers wanting to work in the region. As a non-native speaker, Turkey is a standout option that you might want to take a closer look at. Jobs are widespread in cities and beach resorts and the average salaries have risen significantly in recent years. The country also offers a great climate and some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. Countries in Eastern and Central Europe are another option where restrictions are less stringent and jobs are relatively easy to come by.

Probably the best option for non-native speakers is to head to Latin America as there are fewer restrictions on who is eligible to teach English in most countries. Popular destinations including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru are all open to fluent English speakers with a TESOL certification. Jobs in these countries can be found via online job boards and teaching forums, but it is often more efficient to head to the country of your choice and then apply for jobs in person in the areas where you want to live and work.

Another popular choice for non-native English speakers with a TESOL qualification is to teach English online from their own home or while moving from place to place. Although there are several teaching platforms that only hire native speakers, the rapidly growing demand and the steady growth of new platforms means there are options for everyone. If you are interested in teaching English online as a non-native speaker, check out the following teaching platforms: Fluentbe, italki, Engoo, Learnlight, Preply, and All Right.

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