Teaching ESL Abroad | ExpatWoman.com

Teaching ESL Abroad

Yes the rumours are true and being an ESL teacher is actually a pretty trendy job these days, but how do you get started?

Posted on

19 April 2016

Last updated on 22 October 2017
Teaching ESL Abroad

Defined as English as a Second Language, teaching ESL abroad is usually taught to adults and children who have little to no background of the English language.

ESL teachers are quickly emerging, as the profession has recently picked up and become one of the trendiest jobs among young people.

With competitive salaries, long paid vacations, opportunities to live abroad, and housing fees, it’s no wonder why this occupation is making headlines.

What are the requirements to becoming an ESL teacher?

Bachelor’s Degree

In order to become an ESL teacher, you need a Bachelor’s Degree. It doesn’t matter what kind of degree or specialization, but it is crucial that you have some sort of Bachelor's Degree, in order to teach abroad.

Most schools that you apply to will go as far as to ask for your transcripts and a copy of the degree from your college or university.

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Background Check

Considering that you are applying for a job to travel and live abroad, it is a reasonable request to ask for an FBI Background Check from your home country, or the country in which you currently reside.

You need to have a clean criminal record in order to be considered as an ESL teacher.
An FBI or Criminal Background Check is a police report that highlights if you’ve had any criminal offences in the past.

This check can be obtained at the police station or in some countries at the courthouse.

We suggest that you request this check immediately as the Background Check can take several weeks or months before you actually receive it.


A more obvious one for you, but this can get lost between all your documents.

The first thing to note about your passport, is that it is not due for renewal anytime soon!

It is also important to check the visa process for the country that you plan on living in, and the process of obtaining a work visa.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendations are a great way to show off to your employer.

To make sure you stand out in the crowd, try to get two different letters of recommendations, from two different sources (this goes without saying, but please, no friends or relatives).

SEE ALSO: 10 questions to ask yourself before moving abroad

Get Certified

This is not required by all schools, but some schools require a TESOL certification, which allows them to be accredited in the ESL teaching field.

TESOL courses and certifications can be taken online.

Though it is not necessarily required in some countries (such as South Korea), some schools may ask for a TESOL certificate along with some experience.
If this list seems comprehensive, don’t worry! Each school has its own requirements, and will inform you of the documents and list of things that you need in order to qualify to become an ESL teacher.