Teaching Overseas or in a Language College

What should I consider before choosing a TESOL course?

No single course will qualify you to teach in all the scenarios described above so you need to think about the types of work situations which most interest you before choosing a course. These are some matters which you need to consider:

  • Where do you want to teach? In Australia or overseas?
  • Who do you want to teach? Young people (primary, secondary, tertiary)? Adults? Migrants? Refugees?
  • Do you want to teach in a government school, an independent school, an IEC (Intensive English Centre), a private college aimed at foreign students (ELICOS), at TAFE, university or elsewhere?
  • Do you want to study a course which is covered by HELP or a full fee paying course?
  • How do you want to study? Full time? Part-time? By distance education?
  • Are you considering TESOL as a career or are you looking for a way to combine work and overseas travel for a year or two?
  • Do you want your TESOL course to be counted toward a higher degree (eg Master of TESOL or Master of Education)?
  • If you have a course or institution in mind, what is the quality of the course and institution you are considering?
  • How well regarded and recognised is the course and institution in Australia and/or overseas?
  • Does the training institution assist new teachers to find employment?

It is important to note that there is no accrediting body with the role of granting worldwide official recognition to any teaching certificate or diploma. The information on this website is particularly relevant to readers from WA or those intending to work in WA. The following table gives an overview of minimum qualifications usually required for work in various contexts for teachers who are not already teaching in a government school.

What qualifications do I need to teach overseas?

Qualifications required vary according to institution. A university degree is usually required. In many countries a degree plus a TESOL qualification such as the CELTA or other TESOL certificate opens up avenues of employment in private colleges.

Requirements to gain employment in government schools and universities are becoming more stringent. In some countries, such institutions now require qualifications similar to those needed for ACT government schools. People who want to make a career in TESOL and aspire to senior, better paid roles such as Director of Studies may need to consider undertaking relevant masters’ qualifications such as an M. TESOL. Many countries will only provide a relevant work visa to applicants who have a university degree.

What are the job prospects?

The TESOL field is rapidly expanding. With the growth of English as an international language, there is demand internationally for ESL teaching from primary school level upwards. In Australia, teachers are needed to teach migrants and refugees, and also international students. The demand for teachers in Australia fluctuates in line with migrant and refugee intakes, government funding for ESL teachers and with varying enrolments of international students. To assess current job prospects internationally, look at job boards at websites such as

Dave’s ESL Café at http://www.eslcafe.com

TEFL Professional Network at http://www.tefl.com

Check international websites for ESL teachers (eg. Dave’s ESL Café) to see what requirements apply in countries which interest you.

What is CELTA?

CELTA (Certificate for English Language Teaching to Adults) is issued by the University of Cambridge ESOL, part of Cambridge Assessments, which is a department of the University of Cambridge. The certificate can be obtained after completing a 4 week full-time course or an equivalent period part time. The CELTA is a practically oriented short course which is widely recognised overseas. It teaches important practical skills but is not sufficient on its own to gain a CELTA holder employment as an ESL teacher in the ACT. Some ELICOS colleges require this qualification. The CELTA is accepted as a component in some university TESOL certificate, diploma and masters courses. In Australia, the CELTA course is usually full fee-paying.

Further information: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/teaching/celta.htm”>Cambridge ESOL

What other TESOL training organisations are there?

Teach International offers a Certificate III & IV in TESOL as well as a foundation course

The Certificate IV in TESOL is also offered by some interstate TAFE colleges by distance education. Please ask providers of this course for further information. (Type “Certificate IV TESOL” into the search field in your search engine.)

Private organisations (and some universities) provide training in the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). These organisations may be found on the CELTA website: http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/celta.html or by typing “CELTA” into your search engine.

For more information on CELTA providers click on the institution below:

Curtin university

Phoenix Academy

Milner International College

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