Careers Service

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) involves teaching English, either in the UK or overseas, to students whose first or main language is not English. It may also be referred to as TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, when the students are in the UK.

There are also jobs in TESL, teaching English as a Second Language, which refers specifically to language teaching for immigrants to English speaking countries. There is also growing demand for English for Specific Purposes (ESP) teachers, who specialise in teaching English in areas such as business, tourism, medicine, the law or engineering.

Demand for English language teachers is high, with opportunities in both the private and public sectors. Jobs are mainly found in commercial language schools, schools and institutions of further and higher education in the UK and overseas. A large number of tutors are also employed in a variety of adult education settings and in the voluntary sector.

There are many TEFL qualifications and courses so research is vital to ascertain which qualification is best for you.

Where do I start?

Information and advice on teaching English as a foreign language specifically for University of Edinburgh students and graduates.

Follow the links below for profiles of common occupations in this sector:

Reference books

Our information centres stock a number of reference books on teaching English as a foreign language. Please visit one of our Information Centres at the Main Library Building or the Weir Building, King's Buildings to see the full range.

Connect.ed

We may have Edinburgh Alumni contacts who can give you some useful advice about getting into this type of work. Access Connect.ed via the Careers tab in your MyEd portal to search for contacts by employer, job title, location and school (UG and PG).

Useful Resources

Twitter List: TEFL - Are you on Twitter? Look at our Twitter List for TEFL to receive updates on news, vacancies and advice from relevant professional bodies, employers and useful organisations. Please note the Careers Service cannot accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Professional bodies

British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes ( BALEAP) - professional association for teachers of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) within UK Universities and colleges of higher education.

British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes (BALEAP)

Association for the Promotion of Quality in TESOL Education ( QuiTE) - a cross-sectoral association for teacher educators and course providers and all those working in areas related to the training, education and development of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages regardless of context or level.

Association for the Promotion of Quality in TESOL Education (QuiTE)

International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language ( IATEFL) - international association based in the UK providing support for teachers, including scholarships. Visit the Jobs Market section of the website to find employers and vacancies.

International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)

Scottish Association for the Teaching of English as an Additional Language ( SATEAL) - a website for teachers and student-teachers, providing resources, news, information and advice, with links to other sources of information and training.

Scottish Association for the Teaching of English as an Additional Language (SATEAL)

TESOL - professional association, based in the USA, for English language teachers worldwide.

TESOL

General information

Skills for Life teacher

British Council - the UK‘s international organisation for educational and cultural relations. The council is a major provider of English language courses overseas, and recruits unqualified language assistants (undergraduates and recent graduates), as well as experienced teachers, for the many British Council schools.

British Council

Language Assistants

Cactus TEFL - this website provides comprehensive information and advice about ‘all things TEFL’, from how to fund your study, through choosing and booking courses worldwide to advertising vacancies.

Cactus TEFL

Education Guardian: TEFL - including news, country articles and a 'TEFL Directory' of teachers who can be contacted.

Education Guardian: TEFL

ELGazette - website of the leading UK TEFL newspaper, which includes information and advice, free resources, course search and vacancies. (The paper version is available at the Careers Service).

ELGazette

English Language Teaching Contacts (ELTeCS) - this organisation provides news from members about job opportunities in their region and globally, with additional alerts from the British Council. Site also includes information about online courses, scholarships for teachers, research projects, invitations to participate in events and vacancies.

English Language Teaching Contacts (ELTeCS)

ESL Base - provides a directory of TEFL training courses in the UK and worldwide, as well as information and advice for prospective teachers and constantly updated TEFL vacancies

ESL Base

ESOL (English for speakers of Other Languages) Scotland - part of Education Scotland, this website provides a lot of useful information for anyone considering this as a career, including who the providers are, government strategy and curriculum information, teaching resources, effective practice case studies, professional development guidance, and a list of other relevant organisations.

ESOL Scotland

i to i - a leading TEFL provider offering flexible training, either in the classroom, distance learning online or a combination of the two. Courses include the recently launched EDI CertTEFL course, equivalent to a CELTA. Register to receive the free comprehensive TEFL brochure. The website also includes an internship section and a searchable jobs database.

i to i

Internet TESL Journal - resources include articles, research papers, lesson plans, classroom handouts, teaching ideas and thousands of links! (Japanese site)

Internet TESL Journal

National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults ( NATECLA) - aims to advance the education and training of adults and young people over sixteen, whose first language is not English.

National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA)

National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) - association aiming to improve the teaching of English teaching at all levels.

National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE)

Scottish Government - Department of Education and Training - website provides many useful links to ESOL training and teaching sites, as well as information on government strategy for dealing with the increased demand in this area.

Scottish Government - Department of Education and Training

Talent (Training Adult Literacy, ESOL and Numeracy Teachers) - offers impartial advice on Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for new and existing teachers and their employers, working in a range of teaching and learning contexts within the lifelong learning sector. Site also includes a jobs board.

Talent (Training Adult Literacy, ESOL and Numeracy Teachers)

Teaching English - collaboration between the BBC and British Council, designed to act as a discussion forum and practical resource for English teachers.

Teaching English

Time Out - Teaching English Abroad - useful information and links to organised recruitment and training programmes for students/graduates who want to teach English during time out or in a gap year.

Time Out - Teaching English Abroad

UK TEFL qualifications

Cambridge ESOL

Trinity College London - offers the Certificate TESOL for new entrants to the profession, a diploma for experienced teachers, and the Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector DTLLS (FE) qualifications.

Trinity College London

UK TEFL courses

There are thousands of TEFL courses to choose from. Get some expert advice on how to find the right one for you.

 

Cactus TEFL - this section of the website provides comprehensive information and advice about the numerous TEFL courses available worldwide and has a searchable database.

Cactus TEFL

TEFLNet - a TEFL portal aimed specifically at teachers, it includes an overview of courses, a searchable course database, teaching resources/lesson plans and vacancies.

TEFLNet

TEFL Org UK - (formerly TEFL Scotland, TEFL England and TEFL Wales) provides classroom-based and online training courses, accredited by the NCFE, SQA and ODLQC. The website also advertises TEFL vacancies in the UK and overseas.

TEFL Org UK

Language schools in the UK

Accreditation UK - the quality assurance scheme for the UK English language teaching sector, run by the British Council and English UK. UK organisations offering EFL courses are inspected by Accreditation UK and, if they meet standards of quality, they are accredited by the British Council.

Accreditation UK

Association of British Language Schools (ABLS) - association of UK language schools, all accredited by a scheme recognised by the UK Home Office. Members include small, private, family-run type of schools. A full list is available on the site.

Association of British Language Schools (ABLS)

English UK - national association of English language centres. All members are accredited by the British Council, and include private schools, educational trusts and charities, further education colleges and universities. Site includes a searchable directory of member language schools and vacancies.

English UK

English UK Scotland - a body of member language schools, colleges and universities providing English language teaching courses accredited by the British Council.

English UK Scotland

English in Britain - search for accredited English language courses and institutions, as well as local contacts, in the United Kingdom.

English in Britain

Vacancy sources

MyCareerHub is exclusively for current students and graduates of the University of Edinburgh. It can be used to:

  • search for jobs and events, such as recruitment fairs
  • find out about employers

ESL Jobs World - a website providing free listings of jobs from around the world. Register to receive job alerts.

ESL Jobs World

English Language Centre - a social enterprise company offering a range of TEFL courses with a substantial subsidy for all unemployed/under employed applicants, a job placement service and volunteering opportunities. Students and unemployed graduates may also apply for a Teach Abroad Scholarship, which pays the full cost of the TEFL Diploma course.

English Language Centre

Teach Abroad Scholarship

The Exchange Centre - facilitates teaching (and studying) opportunities in China, and has direct links with some of the largest employers in China including English First, Aston Education, Kid's Castle English, and many smaller schools, companies and universities. The free service includes placement, TEFL qualifications, travel insurance and advice.

Exchange Centre - Teach in China

Guardian - TEFL Jobs

Guardian

HuntESL - UK-based recruitment agency placing graduates into teaching jobs overseas. Website also has lots of useful careers advice and tips.

HuntESL

ILA Vietnam - the leading provider of ELT programmes in Vietnam, recruits and trains teachers and academic management professionals to work in their training centres in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Da Nang, and Vung Tau.

ILA Vietnam

Saxoncourt - set up to provide teachers for schools in Japan, Saxoncourt has since grown to provide recruitment services to schools in other countries and its teacher training department also offers various courses to prepare people for teaching EFL/ESL worldwide.

Saxoncourt

TEFL Professional Network - UK site listing hundreds of vacancies worldwide, and providing information on TEFL careers.

TEFL Professional Network

teflSearch - a TEFL/ESL job site, easily searchable. Also provides very useful information about teaching abroad, whether for short or long-term positions. Includes an employer directory. Register to receive receive job alerts by email.

teflSearch