Welcome to Profs Abroad. I started this site because I want to help others find work teaching English at a university abroad. I've been doing it for many years now in Korea. It's one of the best jobs I've ever had. I've also worked on the other side of things as an administrator hiring new teachers. In addtition to that, I have interviewed and collaborated with a number of university instructors around the globe to put together this job guide. I hope this information gets you out in the world where you dream to be, doing what you love, whether you are a newbie reading this in your native country or a veteran prof abroad. Here's what I have learned after 10+ years of life abroad.
[If you have questions about how this site works, please view the FAQ]
What is an ELT (or ESL or EFL or whatever you want to call it) university job?
- The main thing that all these jobs have in common is that they are with institutions of higher education. Next, the courses tend to be to teach conversation, composition, presentation skills, debate, business English, etc.
Why are these jobs in demand?
- First, many teachers enjoy teaching college-aged students. They tend to be more mature and respectful with little to no classroom management issues. Also, you are often given more freedom to teach as you like with less micromanagement from administration. Next, working at a university looks much better on your resume than teaching at an academy or public school. And one of the biggest reasons is that the amount of pay and vacation time is often much greater than what you can earn at a primary/secondary school or academy. Surely, it would be foolish to assume that all university jobs in all countries are amazing. They aren't. You need to do your homework.
What are the requirements?
- At the lowest level, you need a 4-year degree in any subject such as a BA and at least one year of experience teaching English. At the highest level, you'll need a Ph.D. Every country is different in regards to competitiveness and requirements.
Do I need a Master’s to teach English at a university?
- Absolutely not. About 30% of the jobs on Profs Abroad do not require an MA. Just click on the No MA required job board. However, if you have an MA in TESOL, Applied Linguistics, or a related field you will have many many more doors open for you. And if you have an MA in another subject not related to teaching English, it can still be very helpful, especially if it is in business or communications.
Can I still get hired if I don’t have any experience teaching at a university?
- Yes. Read How to Get Hired Without Any Experience
Do I need to be a native English speaker?
- If your passport is from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa, your chances of finding work will increase exponentially. However, if you don't have a passport from one of those countries, there are still chances of finding work in countries where the job market is less competitive.
What is the best method to find work?
Is it true that networking is one of the best ways to find work?
- Yes, read Network Your Way to an ESL University In Korea. The info is for Korea but it can apply to almost anywhere.
When do universities hire?
- All the time. It never stops. The most important thing to know is that universities start advertising anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 months before the anticipated start date. The start dates are usually the first day of the spring or summer semester. For instance, schools start advertising in September for positions that will start 6 months later in March.
How much should I expect to be paid?
- Depending on what country you're working in, salaries range anywhere from about $800 per month to $5,000. You should read this though to make sure you're getting a fair deal: You’re gonna’ pay me what?!: How to Evaluate a University Job Salary
What's the best way to write a cover letter?
How can I make myself more marketable?
- Get a TEFL certificate. Read Choosing a TEFL Course.
- Get a CELTA. Read CELTA: Is it worth it?.
- Get a DELTA. Read DELTA: Why I’m Getting Cambridge’s English Language Teaching Diploma
- Attend and/or present at a TESOL conference or meeting. Read 7 Reasons to Attend English Language Teaching Conferences Abroad
- Get an MA in TESOL: Read Tips for Choosing a TESOL Master’s Program
Do you have any book recommendations that will help me get hired?
- What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles is the best-selling job-hunting book of all time. It's a must for any job searcher.
- How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to work in one of the world's largest ESL markets.
What should I look out for before I sign a contract?