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English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher

EFL teachers help students learn or improve their English in the UK and abroad.

Annual Salary

£21,000 to £32,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

30 to 37 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 4.3% more English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you will:

  • plan engaging lessons and activities that meet students' needs
  • teach individuals or classes face to face or through online learning
  • set and mark tests and exercises and give constructive feedback
  • organise social and cultural activities, like events and trips
  • monitor progress and keep accurate learner records

Working environment

You could work at a language school, at a college or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • applying directly
  • professional development training

Some employers may expect you to have a degree or postgraduate course that gives you qualified teacher status (QTS).

Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • linguistics
  • modern foreign languages
  • education studies

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information

You can take Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses at colleges and private training providers all over the world. They vary widely in cost and length.

You can do:

  • an intensive full-time course lasting 4 weeks
  • a part-time course lasting from 12 to 36 weeks, depending on the training provider
  • a distance learning course where you may need to arrange your own teaching practice

The most common TEFL qualifications are:

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • an excellent standard of English
  • A levels or equivalent qualifications
For more information
Direct application

You could get experience as a paid language assistant in schools abroad. You do not necessarily need a TEFL qualification to work in schools, but if you want to teach in a private language academy, you will.

Each country has different eligibility criteria, for example, age limits and standard of English, so check carefully to make sure you meet all the requirements for the country you want to work in.

You may need foreign language skills for some jobs.

The British Council has information about working abroad as an English language assistant.

Other routes

You can work as an EFL teacher in further education. You'll usually need a teaching qualification like the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, which you can do through professional development.

After the Diploma, you can get qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS).

You can find out more about careers in further education from Teach in Further Education and GOV.UK.

To work in schools in the UK, you'll usually need to be a qualified teacher.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

Teaching roles can be a few hours a week to full time, depending on where you work. There are likely to be more jobs available during holiday periods, as many course providers cater for overseas students visiting the UK at these times.

Rates and pay and hours vary widely when teaching abroad, so make sure to check job offers carefully.

Further information

You can get more details about working as an EFL teacher from Trinity College London and Cambridge English.

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With experience, you may be able to:progress to a management position in a commercial language school or a college in the UK or abroad; work freelance in private tuition, for example specialising in business English; train future EFL teachers; create EFL learning materials, online resources and apps; open your own language school

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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