Where are TESOL/TEFL/TESL jobs available?

When narrowing down your focus for a job search, the most important step is to determine either 1) the location in which you want to teach OR 2) the organization with whom you want to work.  Obviously, this depends on which is more important to you – some people are tied to a specific organization and others to a specific location.  Upon determining which direction to take, you’ll need to determine what kind of institution is the best fit.  Most jobs in the TESOL field exist in the following institutions:

  • Private Language Schools. There is no shortage of language schools.  In many places, they will typically offer a higher quality of education and higher salaries than government schools (though this is not always the case, especially in the US where they often utilize part-time instructors).  The clientele are often highly motivated and educated.  Classes sizes are usually small.
  • Intensive English Programs (IEP). IEPs can be run by private organizations or universities in English speaking countries.  International attend IEPs to study English intensively and be immersed in an English speaking environment.  At universities, their purpose is typically preparation to enter an academic setting (see English for Academic Purposes).  The typically offer assessment and wide levels of instruction.
  • Government Schools. Due to the current nature of high-stakes testing in the US, public (government-run) schools teach English primarily through content-based instruction where students learn English through the medium of a specific subject.  This can vary significantly from an EFL approach.  I can’t speak to how other governments approach English language teaching – if you have something to share on your current country, please do so in the comments section!
  • Private Schools, such as international schools or faith-based schools, offer ESL in a similar fashion to public schools.  One difference from public education in private schools may be the resources the students have access to at home.
  • Government organizations. The largest and most well-known government run English programs are the Peace Corps (US) and Voluntary Service Organization (UK).  Other similar programs around the world are CUSO-VSO, World University Service of Canada (Canada), and Volunteer Service Abroad (New Zealand). While they do not only work in English language teaching, this is often a large part of their work.
  • Private Tutoring. Tutoring opportunities abound from internet based to private tutoring.  Clientele also varies from high school students to diplomats.  In US cities, ESL tutoring  can pay between $25-$75/hour.  Tutoring for a pre-established organization may provide more contacts, but does pay less.
  • Non-profit Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations (NGO). While non-profits and NGOs typically utilized volunteers, there are many paid positions within their ranks. 
    • Literacy Organizations. Many local literacy organizations also run ESL classes.  Search for “literacy organization” and the name of your locale to get more information regarding these organizations.
    • Missions Organizations. Typically affiliated with specific denominations, missions organizations are rooted in religious institutions.  Many missions organizations use English Teaching as a tool alongside other works.  The largest and most reputable Christian English language-based mission organization is English Language Institute China (ELIC).  SIL also does a great deal of work in Literacy. Mormons also have a very established presence in TESOL, with a fair amount of research coming out Brigham Young University.
    • Refugee resettlement agencies. Refugees are resettled in the US by agencies who are responsible for their transition to a new community.  They often offer ‘crash’ survival English courses as a means to help refugees learn their new environment.  Some of the larger refugee resettlement agencies are World Relief, Catholic Charities, Church World Service.  The Office of Refugee Resettlement has a complete list of voluntary agencies operating in the US.

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