Frequently asked questions about American TEFL Academy
Do I need a degree to be certified to teach English abroad?
Generally speaking, most schools do require you to have at least a Bachelor's or four-year degree in any subject. However, there are at least a handful of countries where you can teach without a degree. We have seen students find work in the following countries without a degree: Cambodia (particularly in Phnom Penh and Siem Riep), Nicaragua, Spain, Argentina (especially in Buenos Aires), Mexico (with much success in Mexico City), and all over Russia. From time to time, I have come across schools in Vietnam if they are outside major cities of Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Da Nang. Keep in mind, you likely will not be able to find work at regular schools and often it will be at English Centers. However, students in English Centers are very eager to learn and it can be a lot of fun as you are not under the thumb of government schools.
Where can I teach if I have a degree?
If you already have a four-year degree in a subject, then you will have a greater number of options. Many times you will be able to find steady work at elementary schools, secondary schools, and English Centers. Some universities also may hire you to teach in English specific classes, such as Speaking. We have teachers who have a Bachelor's degree and they benefit from the greater number of options and the higher chance to make a case for higher salaries and wages. Again, you do not need a degree in English, your degree simply shows you are educated.
Being an NES or a Natural English Speaker opens more doors, as well. If you are not an NES, then having a high score on an IELTS such as 7.0 or above will be needed in addition to your other qualifications.
Do I need a teaching credential?
We are often asked about teaching credentials. In order to teach English in many countries all over the world, our certification will be enough of a credential. However, if you have a teaching credential from your home country (especially from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, or South Africa) you have greatly increased your value and our certifications will only help you to better market yourself. We have seen in some countries such as Vietnam or Cambodia, where a teaching credential opens up more doors for the upper-echelon of private schools. However, a four-year degree combined with our certification is estimated to get you into about 90% of the schools out there.
Do I need a visa?
In most cases, you will need a "Work Visa". However, some schools may hire you with a Travel or Visitor Visa to work for short amounts of time. For example, Vietnam you can obtain a 90-Day Visitor Visa and likely find work with our certification. However, you must leave the country and re-enter with a new Visa if you plan on continuing to work. Some teachers make a habit of this and use this time to visit neighboring countries. This situation is not advisable, as it can be a headache to be forced to leave and re-enter, every three months, but it is often done.
Also, please be sure your passport is up to date and there are enough pages for your visa. Again, we use Vietnam in example as their visa will take a whole page of your passport and they will stamp a separate page. It is advisable that you have a good-number of pages for visas and stamps.
Just living in Vietnam for a year means four pages will be used for visas plus entry and exit stamps for Vietnam and the countries you visit.
Lots of passport photos should be brought with you as visa applications require one to two to be submitted. Once you enter the country, you can always find passport photo businesses.
What documents should I bring to the country I will work in?
Any credentials, certificates, degrees, or diplomas that you might have that you plan on using. It depends on the school and the country, but some may require originals be brought with you. Some countries may even require that you get them notarized at your consulate, translated, and then certified again locally. For English Centers, often just PDF copies can work.
We will send you a PDF copy of your certificate, but if you would like a hard-copy, we can send you one for $12.00 USD plus shipping. Shipping is flat-rate priority within the United States. Other countries, varying shipping rates may apply.
All of this sounds good so far, but how much money can I make and save as an English teacher abroad?
A very important question, indeed! Many teachers report being able to save about half of their earnings. Of course it depends on several factors: qualifications, experience, workload, and location. We can't list every country and their average salaries, but here are some:
Vietnam: If you work a 25-hour a week workload, it is common to see our teachers report they are making $1,300 to $2,100 USD per month, net. A western-style studio apartment or flat can be had for less than $500 USD per month. A Western-style apartment meaning a standing separate shower and gas stove included. If you don't mind using a shower without a stall and a hotplate, you can get an apartment for less than $300 in many areas.
Cambodia: $1,200 to $1,400 per month starting is typical around Phnom Penh. $200 to $300 USD per month for an apartment in the city is the norm.
Myanmar: An interesting place that has opened up more recently. $750 to $1,200 USD was typical up until a couple of years ago. Some of our teachers have reported earnings in the $1,000 to $1,500 USD range. A few high-end private schools have paid as high as $2,500 for the very-qualified degree-holders in Yangon and Mandalay.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos: Reported salaries in the $800 to $1,400 USD range in the major cities.
China: A whopping population with a whopping demand. However, the pay will vary on the locations. Some schools pay as low as $800 USD, while others pay as high as $2,000 USD. It depends on what you are looking for in your experience. A few schools have been reported to accept teachers without a degree, but we have not verified this. Be careful, as you should with any school in the world.
Japan: A wealthier country with an appetite to learn English, teachers here have reported salary ranges from $1,700 USD to as high as $4,000 USD! However, be understanding that the cost of living is much higher here, so your salary will not go as far. An extra benefit is that many schools may offer you an apartment as part of the compensation package if they are paying on the lower-end of the scale.
South Korea: Another wealthier country in Asia, teachers have reported $1,100 to $2,500 USD per month. Understand that the cost of living here is also quite high.
Russia: The Eurasian nation has reported that $1,000 USD to $1,600 USD is the normal range in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Accommodations are frequently part of the compensation package.
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait: In the Middle-East, the oil-rich nations pay their teachers a very good, TAX-FREE salary. Saudi Arabia has been known to regularly pay teachers $2,400 to $4,000 USD. Many cases, accommodations are also part of the compensation package.
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia: $600 to $1000 USD is quite common in the larger South American countries. Although pay is modest, accommodations are usually included.
Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico: Often they pay a more modest salary in the $500 to $800 USD range, however, as with the rest of South America, they give you a place to stay normally.
Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania: $800 to $1000 USD is often the norm for these parts of Europe.
Portugal, Italy, Uzbekistan: $1,300 to $1,700 USD have been reported by teachers here.
Turkey, Switzerland: Two very different markets, however we have reports from teachers making $1,800 to $2,400 USD per month. Some have even reported $3,000 USD.
Moldova: $250 USD per month doesn't sound like much, however, Moldova has one of the lowest GDPs in the world. An apartment will take up about half of your salary, so you might want to get a roommate. Luckily, everything else is less-expensive so you can survive and make a difference here.
India: $500 to $1000 USD per year has been reported as the norm and the low cost of living make it comfortably enough.
Not many schools in Africa are able to pay teachers adequately, however, here are a few places we have received reports on.
Morocco: $1,000 USD to $1,200 USD
Tunisia: $1,400 USD to $2,000 USD - Tax Free and with a place to live!
Sub-Saharan African Nations: Largely volunteer-only. Some may offer a small stipend. However, maybe this is your calling?
Online: Yes! Many companies have been giving people the chance to teach via their cellphones! Generally speaking, the companies are linking you together with mostly children, but some adults, from China and Taiwan. $10 to $20 USD per hour is the norm. Maybe this is how you can make ends meet in the countries that cannot pay you well?
The best thing to do is do more research on the places you really want to see and experience.
I want to get started, how do I sign up and register?
We are glad you asked! You need to do a few steps.
Step 1: Register by using the small link in the top-right corner - Create a user name and password
Step 2: Find the course on the "Courses" page and click on its link
Step 3: Pick the course you Want. Scroll down and click the payment method you want to use. You can utilize PayPal or pay with credit card directly with Stripe.
Step 4: Pay for your course. Upon confirmation of payment received (often immediately) you will receive access to the course.
After you complete your course with the minimum passing scores, you will receive your certificate of completion and you will be ready for your new career as an English teacher!