Over the past few decades teaching abroad has become a career choice for many native English speakers. Teaching abroad offers an opportunity to not only see the world, but to also get to know local cultures and customs. As with any profession, teaching abroad can be rewarding if approached in the right spirit and with your eyes open.
Teaching Abroad - Training
Teaching abroad is open to almost anybody who has a bachelor's degree. If you are interested in teaching abroad to broaden the horizons, there's really no need to worry about getting a master's degree in ESOL, TESOL. However, it is important to acquire a TEFL or CELTA certificate when teaching abroad. The providers of these certificates usually offer a basic month long course that teaches you the ropes of teaching abroad.
There are also online certificates to prepare you for teaching abroad. If you are interested in an online course, you can take a quick look at my review of i-to-i aimed at those interested in teaching abroad. However, many people in the profession feel that the online certificates are not nearly as valuable as certificates taught on site. Personally, I think there are valid arguments that can be made for both types of courses.
Finally, one important aspect is that many of these certificate providers also offer help in job placement. This can be a very important factor when deciding which course is right for you in your efforts to begin teaching abroad.
For more information on certificates necessary for teaching abroad you can refer to these resources on this site:
Teaching Abroad - Job Opportunities
Once you have received a teaching certificate you can begin teaching abroad in a number of countries. It's best to take a look at some of the more important job boards to check out the opportunities. As you will quickly find out, teaching abroad doesn't always pay very well, but there are a number of positions that will help out with housing and transport. Make sure to check out these ESL / EFL job board sites when you start applying for teaching abroad.
Teaching Abroad - Europe
Teaching abroad requires different documentation for different countries. For example, if you are interested in teaching abroad in Europe, it's very difficult to get a working permit if you are not a citizen of the European Union. Of course, if you are an American interested in teaching abroad and are married to a European Union member, that's not a problem. If you are from the UK and interested in teaching abroad on the continent - it's no problem at all.
Teaching Abroad - Asia
Teaching abroad in Asia generally offers many more opportunities to US citizens because of high demand. There are also a number of job placement agencies that will help you find work in teaching abroad in Asia. As always, there are some horror stories out there, so beware and make sure to find a reputable agent.
Teaching Abroad - Canada, UK, Australia and the USA
It's been my experience that the United States offers the fewest job opportunities of any of the native English speaking countries. That might be because of difficult visa restrictions. In any case, if you are teaching abroad in a native English speaking country, you'll find opportunities abound for special summer courses. As always, rates aren't usually that high, and in some cases teaching abroad also means being responsible for a certain number of student activities such as field trips and various sporting activities.
Teaching Abroad - Long Term
If you are interested in teaching abroad for more than just the short term, you should consider further training. In Europe the TESOL diploma and Cambridge DELTA diploma are popular options to deepen your teaching expertise. If you are interested in teaching abroad at a university level, a master's degree in ESOL is certainly advisable.
Finally, one of the best long-term opportunities for teaching abroad is in English for Specific Purposes. This is often known as business English. These jobs are often on-site in various workplaces and often offer better pay. They are also much harder to find. While teaching abroad, you may want to move in this direction if you are interested in teaching abroad as a career choice.