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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to all your preliminary TEFL questions.

TEFL teacher with students

I think I am interested in teaching English abroad. Where do I start?

To get started, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself. The first, of course, is “Where do I want to go?” Selecting a country is based on various factors, including language(s) spoken, cost of living, cultural and geographical attractions, climate, health issues, distance from home, social atmosphere, and local economic and political conditions.

Another question you should ask yourself is “How long do I want to stay?” Some schools will ask you to sign a 1- or 2-year contract, while others will ask only for a verbal promise that you’ll stay for a few months.

The final question you should ask yourself is, “How should I prepare myself to teach?” BridgeTEFL offers a variety of options for teacher preparation, including the Cambridge CELTA and our proprietary IDELT and IDELT Online courses.

Do I need to have a college degree to get a teaching position overseas?

The majority of schools around the world prefer that you have a college degree; many will not hire a teacher without one. In most locations in Asia, as well as in some other countries, a college degree is a requirement in order to receive a work visa. However, there are places in the world where teachers without degrees can qualify to teach English. If you do not have a college degree, it is best to ask about the specific location in which you are interested in teaching.

Is a teaching certificate required to teach English abroad?

Although some schools may require only that you be a native speaker, most institutions prefer to hire teachers with some training. Often the best jobs with the best salaries are reserved for certified teachers. In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s an absolute necessity at certain schools and in many locations.

Is it necessary that I speak a foreign language to teach English abroad?

No. Some schools do appreciate it if you know the native language, if for no other reason than to be able to handle yourself more comfortably in the environment. In some cases, you may even be offered more money. However, if you’ve been trained in the Direct Method (the method utilized in BridgeTEFL programs), you should be able to teach English successfully in any country in the world, whether you know the language or not. Furthermore, many schools offer language classes and social activities to help familiarize their teachers with the local culture.

Can I teach English abroad with an online TEFL certificate?

Yes. The IDELT Online qualifies you for many of the thousands of teaching positions overseas. While some schools in some countries prefer teachers with on-site experience, the most important thing for many language centers is that you have a TEFL certification. The IDELT Online provides a solid foundation in classroom management, grammar awareness, and teaching the basic language skills so that upon completion, you will be ready to teach overseas.

Where can I get a job with a TEFL certificate?

Just about anywhere you want! The Bridge IDELT™, the Cambridge CELTA, and our other TEFL Certificates will qualify you for almost any TEFL teaching position in almost any country you choose. In some countries, we even offer guaranteed jobs for graduates. In all countries, we offer job placement assistance. Our network of global contacts makes it easy for us to help you locate a teaching job abroad.

Which teaching locations have the best pay?

Typically, schools in Asia and the Middle East pay the best and offer the most benefits, such as free or subsidized housing, language lessons, reimbursed airfare, and bonuses. Most other areas of the world will pay enough to live comfortably, but probably not enough to save money or pay off debt. In all cases, we recommend having some savings as a financial buffer.

What kind of benefits/assistance can I expect from schools abroad?

Most schools offer housing assistance for their teachers. Some actively place teachers in subsidized housing where they live with other foreign teachers. Other schools have a staff member dedicated to helping teachers find accommodation. In many locations, you will be expected to pay for your own transportation to the country, as well as health insurance. However, some schools and programs in Asia provide insurance and reimburse you for your airfare upon completion of a long-term (6-month to 2-year) contract. Please contact BridgeTEFL if you are interested in purchasing travel insurance through our provider.

Will I be able to support myself working for only one school?

This depends greatly on the location in which you are teaching. In Asia, or elsewhere if you work full-time for a public school, you are likely to sign a contract with a guaranteed salary. You should be able to live comfortably on this salary, and maybe even save some money, especially if the organization subsidizes housing. However, in many situations it is difficult to support yourself working for just one school. Teachers usually compensate for this by teaching private classes on the side, working for several schools (if permitted by local visa/contract laws), or having some money saved up before they venture abroad.

Will I need to sign a contract, and if so, what are the general obligations?

Contracts vary depending upon the organization and on the labor laws of each country. The points covered by a contract may include the minimum number of guaranteed hours, amount and frequency of pay, length of service, hours the teachers must be available to teach, whether teachers can teach classes outside of the school, and conditions under which the contract can be broken. Be aware that schools in certain countries will ask you to teach on the basis of a verbal contract only. If this is the case, be sure that you and the administration are clear on the conditions of your employment, so there are no surprises later on.

Do I need medical insurance to teach abroad?

All program participants are required to have Medical & Emergency Travel Insurance while training abroad. BridgeTEFL offers six months of insurance coverage for an additional $75.00.

For frequently asked questions about Classroom TEFL courses, see FAQs About TEFL Courses.

For frequently asked questions about Online TEFL courses, see FAQs About Online Courses.

For frequently asked questions about Paid TEFL Jobs, see FAQs About Paid TEFL Jobs.