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Opportunities for ESL-EFL Teachers

In nearly every nation opportunities are abundant for teaching English to speakers of other languages. The ever-increasing demand for our language means that there are thousands of teaching opportunities for overseas workers. And in large cities and small communities across North America, a variety of organizations and institutions offer English classes for international students, refugees and immigrants.

Teaching English Overseas

If you are living overseas, here are some places to look for teaching opportunities. Some will have paid positions, but for others you will need to volunteer.

  • Language institutes
  • Universities and colleges
  • Large corporations
  • Public and private schools
  • Christian elementary and secondary schools
  • Bible schools and seminaries
  • Church outreach programs
  • English camps
  • Private tutoring

You can find out about teaching opportunities through the Internet, Christian organizations, local newspapers and other media, publications for EFL teachers, regional or local groups such as associations of English teachers, as well as your network of friends and acquaintances.

Finding an Overseas Teaching Position

Do a search with Google or another search engine. Search for "Teaching English (EFL, ESL, ELT) in ____" and similar phrases.

A large number of Internet sites list job openings. Some of these are for volunteers, but many are for those with at least some training and/or experience in the field.


This site offers a number of publications for those seeking a teaching position, helpful hints for job seekers, a Web location to place your resume, and job search workshops at the annual TESOL Convention. Visit

Dave’s ESL Café

Lists thousands of teaching positions worldwide, job discussion forums, and some provide an opportunity for you to list your resume. Visit

The following publications list teaching positions as well as give practical information for teaching in a wide variety of countries.

For teaching in a Christian school or with a Christian organization:

  • For Christian schools, including MK schools, see the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
  • For a broad range of teaching opportunities, including those for older adults, go to MissionFinder.org
  • Check with Christian organizations. Many agencies offer EFL-teaching opportunities that range from a week or two, a year or two, and career. For example, at one Urbana Convention, 70 agencies listed ESL/EFL teaching as one of their areas of ministry. However, even those agencies that don’t list their opportunities on their web site or in a publication often have need for English teachers. Working through overseas churches and other Christian organizations, many agencies and parachurch groups are looking for teachers who can offer listening and speaking classes for beginners, conversation groups for intermediate to advanced learners, or perhaps combination Bible study and EFL classes for those who already have a good command of the language.

Many overseas English teachers find that they don’t have to go looking for students. Instead, their students come to them. Almost everywhere in the world, those eager to improve their language skills seek out native-English speakers for informal conversation practice. These eager learners offer English language teachers extraordinary opportunities to develop personal friendships, to learn the host culture and language, and to share meaningfully.

Teaching English in North America

You do not have to go overseas to find a wide variety of teaching opportunities. In nearly every community in North America, there are immigrants and refugees who want to learn English and develop friendships, and many thousands of international students are enrolled in higher education programs. Here are some possible places to look for teaching opportunities:

  • Church-based programs
  • Community centers
  • Literacy programs, often associated with a public library
  • Adult education programs
  • Language institutes
  • Community colleges
  • Universities and colleges
  • Corporations and businesses
  • Camps for migrant workers
  • Public and private elementary and secondary schools
  • Private tutoring
  • Informal friendship and conversation practice

While there is a strong need for ESL teachers in North America, many of the teaching opportunities are for volunteers and part-time instructors. For example, even though most community colleges and adult education programs offer ESL classes, it’s common for an institution to have only a very small number of full-time employees (usually administrators) and a large number of part-time instructors who are paid by the course or by the hour with no benefits package. Quite often the better-paying full-time positions are in public schools, and each state in the U.S. has its own requirements for ESL and bilingual teachers. Colleges and universities may also have part-time and full-time openings for those who are well-qualified, usually those with a minimum of an M.A. degree in TESOL or a related field.

You can find some North American job openings on the Internet. However, the number of openings advertised will be very small compared to the many thousands of opportunities listed for overseas.

Finding a Teaching Position in North America

Many of the institutions listed on these Web sites are language institutes such as Berlitz. Although they are listed primarily to advertise their services to potential ESL students, you can check with schools you are interested in to see if they have any openings for instructors.

  • English Language Schools in the USA lists almost 1000 U.S. institutes and schools that offer ESL instruction. You can search by region or state, by program specialization, and by starting dates.
  • ESL Directory lists nearly 500 institutions in the U.S. and more than 100 in Canada that offer ESL instruction.
  • TESOL offers a number of publications for those seeking a teaching position, helpful hints for job seekers, a Web location to place your resume, and job search workshops at the annual TESOL Convention.