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10 Best Places to Teach English and Get Certified

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Teaching English abroad gives you a great opportunity to travel the world, experience other cultures, and learn new languages.

What many people don’t realize is that rather than needing to gain your qualification before you go, you can actually get certified while living and teaching abroad! This allows you to earn an income from teaching even before you are qualified and set off on your new adventure much sooner.

The most difficult thing about teaching English abroad can be deciding where to go! To help you decide, we have created a list of the top 10 places to teach English and get certified at the same time.

1. Spain

Spain is not only one of the most popular destinations for teachers in Europe, but also one of the most popular destinations in the world! The beautiful beaches, great food (including tapas and paella), friendly people, and the cheap and convenient transport links with the rest of Europe make Spain an excellent destination for English teachers.

Since the financial crash of 2008, the Spanish government has placed greater emphasis on the importance of learning English. This has made Spain one of the largest job markets for teaching English in the world. Thousands of schools across Spain also offer the opportunity to gain your teaching qualification while working in the school and getting paid.

2. China

China has been one of the top destinations for teaching English for many years. An abundance of job opportunities and a lack of regulations regarding your qualifications attracts many English teachers to this beautiful country. The rich culture and history in China and the natural and historical wonders make China a dream destination for many teachers.

Whether you want to work in a cosmopolitan city such as Beijing or Shanghai, in more traditional towns or villages, or in the beautiful Chinese countryside, you will have some great options to choose from.  Many teaching jobs in China also offer free flights or accommodation as an extra incentive to teachers. You can choose to teach in public schools or private language schools. If you are unsure of which teaching opportunity is best for you, here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

3. Thailand

Thailand is a great option for teaching English because of the lack of regulations regarding what qualifications teachers require. The abundance of jobs in areas across Thailand is another major attraction for prospective teachers. You could opt to teach in a busy city such as Bangkok, on a tropical island, or on a beach or jungle town—your options are endless!

Many schools and language centers in Thailand will allow you to gain your qualification while you are working there or might not even require you to have any qualifications.

Thailand is a popular destination for English teachers because of its low cost of living and great transport links with other countries in Southeast Asia.

4. Japan

Although a TEFL certificate is preferred in Japan, it is not a necessity, and many language centers will hire teachers who don’t have any teaching qualifications. However, in order to be accepted for a visa in Japan, you will need a Bachelor’s degree.

Japan is a country rich in culture and history. When you consider the beautiful landscapes and the delicious local cuisine, it’s easy to see why Japan is such a popular teaching location.

English is not as widely spoken in Japan, compared in some other countries in Asia. In order to fully immerse in the local culture and maximize your experience living in Japan, learning some of the local language is recommended. Taking a beginner level Japanese language course can help you to connect with local people and make it much easier for you to live and work in Japan.

5. Mexico

Mexico is a popular teaching destination for English teachers from around the world. The lower cost of living, food, culture, weather, beautiful beaches and rich culture are just some of the things that attract many people to travel and work in Mexico.

Because Mexico is such a large country, there are lots of cities, towns, and beach destinations you can choose to teach in. Mexico also offers great travel links with the USA, Central America, and South America.

You can gain your TEFL certificate online while already teaching in Mexico, making this a great option for prospective teachers who want to experience teaching in Latin America and experience some unique and exciting events, such as Dia de Muerte and Cinco de Mayo.

6. Singapore

Rather than requiring you to already have a teaching qualification, Singapore’s visa requirements instead mean you will need a bachelor’s degree. This makes Singapore an excellent destination for university graduates who don’t yet have their teaching English qualifications.

Singapore is a great destination for prospective teachers who want to live a more cosmopolitan, luxurious life. You can expect to earn SGD$4,500 a month in Singapore (approximately $3,300 USD).

Singapore is also one of the most well-connected countries in Asia, with cheap flights all over the continent. This makes Singapore an attractive destination for prospective teachers who also want to travel.

7. Costa Rica

Although a teaching qualification is preferred in Costa Rica, there are many language schools that will still hire you, with the opportunity to get certified while you work there. The demand for English teachers is growing every year, making Costa Rica a great option for prospective teachers.

With miles of white sandy beaches, tropical jungles, an abundance of wildlife and many options for adventure, it’s easy to see why Costa Rica is so popular with teachers and travelers alike.

8. Cambodia

Asia is a popular continent for many English teachers, and Cambodia is a great option for people who aren’t yet certified.

Although your pay won’t be as high as some destinations, the cost of living is also lower. Cambodia also has affordable flights to other countries in Asia and beautiful culture and heritage for you to appreciate.

9. Brazil

Many schools in Brazil don’t require teaching certification, although you can choose to pursue a certification while you are there. This is one of many reasons why Brazil is such a popular destination for English teachers.

With beautiful beaches, tropical paradises, and world-famous destinations such as Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls, it’s easy to see why Brazil makes our list of top teaching destinations. 

Brazil is one of the biggest countries in the world, meaning there are plenty of job opportunities in some truly amazing locations for you to choose from.

10. Germany

Although certification is preferred in Germany, it is not an essential requirement, especially out of big cities such as Berlin and Hamburg. Many language schools will allow you to get certified while you work there.

Germany is a popular destination for English teachers who want to explore more of Europe and with beautiful architecture, famous cities, a rich history and some world-famous monuments, it’s no wonder why tourists flock to historic Germany, but it’s also a haven for increasing numbers of TEFL teachers.

Final thoughts

There are some incredible opportunities available to you if you want to teach English abroad. For people who want to travel and see the world and teach in an incredible country, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list.

Whether you choose the islands of Thailand, the cities of China, or the beaches of Spain, your teaching abroad journey could soon begin.

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