For most people who take a TEFL certification course and eventually gain TEFL certification, the only thing they think about is going overseas to teach English. As someone who has TEFL certification, as well as seven years teaching experience abroad, I’m here to tell you there are other things you can do with your TEFL certification besides just spend a year or two overseas teaching English. Here are just a few of them.
A career as an English teacher overseas – Of course, with a TEFL certificate, it doesn’t just mean you can spend a year or two in a country, get some experience and then head back to your own country to do something else. Teaching English as a permanent career overseas is becoming more and more popular as more people in countries all over the world want to learn the language. That means you can work for a couple of years in Spain, head off to China to teach there, take a teaching contract in Saudi Arabia and follow it up by a couple of years in Peru.
Having TEFL certification can be an excellent way to travel the world, and gives you the qualification needed in most countries to be able to work while you do so. Plus, as so many TEFL jobs now pay so well, you can make an extremely good living doing it.
Teaching ESL in your own country – A TEFL certificate doesn’t just have to be used for Teaching English as a Foreign Language overseas. It can also be used for teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) in your own country. If you live in a city with a lot of immigrants, or are willing to move to one, the ESL market is thriving and can be an excellent way to have a career.
Of course, the skills required are slightly different than teaching English overseas, as you’ll be teaching many different nationalities in just one class who all speak different languages, but the skills from a TEFL certificate and from teaching overseas can easily be transferred.
Salaries too can be quite lucrative. A friend, who used to teach English in Thailand, is now back in the United States and found it quite easy to get an ESL job where she makes $25 an hour as the demand for good teachers is high.
Do be aware, though, you may need to get extra certification in ESL teaching in your own country to be eligible for the best jobs.
International business – If you have a university degree as well as your TEFL certificate, one field that can be a natural progression for you is international business, particularly if you learned a second language while living overseas.
People who speak second languages fluently and have lived in another culture for a prolonged period of time can be in high demand in the business world. That’s because, as businesses become completely global, they want employees that can interact appropriately with potential customers or business partners in other countries.
Make sure your years of teaching overseas is displayed prominently on your resume, and be sure to speak about your experiences overseas and your foreign language capabilities in any interviews you may have.
International law – One of my closest friends, who spent several years in Japan and Korea teaching English, went back to the United States a few years ago and immediately applied to do her Masters degree in International Law. With an emphasis on the Asian region of the world, expected to be the one with the fastest growth and the most opportunities, she is using her experience of living and teaching overseas, as well as her TEFL certification, with a goal of eventually working for the United Nations.
The diplomatic corps – If you enjoyed teaching English overseas, but can’t envisage a career as a permanent English teacher abroad, you may want to consider getting into the diplomatic corps. While a TEFL certificate isn’t a qualification in high demand in diplomacy, the fact that you have one and used it to teach overseas, thus learning all about a new culture, will go towards getting a foot in the door.
With enough years experience, you could eventually end up as your country’s ambassador to France, Ecuador or Malaysia, or represent it at the United Nations or with the European Union.