Careers and Employability Service
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Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL)

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), also referred to as TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or ELT (English Language Teaching), most work is overseas, providing a great opportunity to try a new lifestyle, but there is some demand for teachers in the UK.

Click on each section below for links to publications and websites that provide further information.

Your next steps

If you have questions about your plans, talk to a member of our team.


What qualifications and training will I need?

As TEFL becomes increasingly graduate orientated, holding one of the following degrees may help:

  • English
  • Modern European languages
  • Linguistics

People with limited - or without - teaching experience will also need a Certificate in English Language Teaching (CELTA). Before selecting your TEFL course ensure it will allow you to do the job you want. Trinity College has a guide to Choosing your TEFL/TESOL course which you can download.

University of Cambridge validates the CELTA qualifications, and Trinity College London validates the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).


What are the short term options?

Short courses are available, lasting from a weekend to a few weeks, which are ideal for a gap year, or if you intend to teach overseas for a short time.

Companies such as i-to-i TEFL offer online or classroom courses allowing you to study at your own pace.


What are the long term career options?

Progression in TEFL is through Cambridge or Trinity Diploma courses, or you can take a Masters degree. Advanced qualifications often require some work experience and can involve a course of at least 100 hours plus a minimum of 6 hours teaching practice.


Where to look for job opportunities and courses

  • The British Council - the largest single employer of qualified TEFL teachers
  • Cactus - offer a variety of international TEFL courses, often with last minute bargains. There is also a job search facility
  • ELgazette is an international newspaper for TEFL teachers and offers news, course search, events programme and TEFL jobs
  • i-to-i TEFL - an online jobs board and source of advice on getting TEFL jobs abroad
  • Guardian Jobs - advertises TEFL jobs and courses
  • - lesson plans, teacher forums and vacancies
  • My Career, our online vacancies service advertises hundreds of jobs including vacation work, gap year, volunteering placements and work experience.

Resources covering all of the careers above


Careers and Employability Service

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