Teacher of English as a Foreign Language

Teacher at a whiteboard talking to students

Teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) teach English to adults or children, from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, whose first language is not English.

The Work

You could be:

In all cases you could be:


The figures below are only a guide as actual pay rates may vary, depending on where you work and the company or organisation you work for.

Many jobs are short term and part time, so salaries are often quoted as hourly or weekly rates. However, starting salaries for full time EFL teachers in the UK tend to be between £16,000 and £20,000 a year, rising to £25,000 to £39,000 a year.

Hourly rates for part time posts in the UK vary, depending on your employer, experience and qualifications, from about £12 to £30. Weekly rates for seasonal staff vary from about £300 to £600 (for specialist teachers and experienced course directors). Some posts paid at lower rates include accommodation.

Overseas salaries vary depending on the country in which you work. Teaching English to professionals in Europe can be well paid. In some overseas countries, salaries are low – but the cost of living is also low. Some posts overseas are for volunteers who work in return for their keep and pocket money.

If you teach overseas, check your contract carefully for conditions of work and salary arrangements as well as holiday and sick pay.


Workforce Employment Status

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Useful Subjects

Getting In

The following courses are run at centres throughout the UK and abroad:

The Certificate courses are run as short full time (4-5 weeks) or part time (over several months) courses. The Diploma courses can be taken full time over 2-3 months or part time over 6-12 months. Distance learning options are also available.

You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.

In the UK, jobs are with private sector colleges, further and higher education institutions and some local authorities, particularly where there are large ethnic communities. Overseas employers include the British Council, aid and volunteer agencies, embassies, cultural institutes and educational establishments.

Jobs are advertised on the internet.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland


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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

2.4 %
  United Kingdom
2.4 %

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What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be able to:


Getting On

More Information

Most EFL teachers work overseas, but there is also a demand in the UK. There is a lot of competition for permanent posts in the UK.

The British Council employs teachers in over 100 countries. However, they only employ graduates who have a recognised TESOL qualification (such as CELTA or Cert TESOL) and a minimum of 2 years' full time relevant work experience. See the jobs section of their website for more details.


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The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Trinity College London
Twitter: @TrinityC_L

For information on courses in teaching English as a foreign/second language.

University of Cambridge (ESOL Examinations)
Twitter: @CambridgeEng

For information on courses in teaching English as a foreign/second language.

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Career Sectors

College or University Lecturing

Education Support

Primary School Teaching

Secondary School Teaching

Teaching - Other