5 Career Paths for TEFL Teachers


Even though you may love TEFL teaching, at some point reality will punch you in the face. Staying as a teacher won’t necessarily give you the salary you need as you get older, especially if you want to buy a home, get married, and have a family, and have a pension. Then there’s location – do you want to grow old and retire where you are, or do you want to return home? Career paths for TEFL teachers can be tricky.

It’s time to consider your options.

1. Management

Moving up to an academic management position can pay more, and revive interest in your job if it’s starting to wane. With a fresh set of challenges, management can give you transferable skills for the future.

If you work in a large language training organisation, you can even work up to managing several schools at once, at a local, regional or national level.

2. Training

Become a teacher trainer. Remember your CertTESOL or CELTA course? You can become the person who trains new teachers. Or again, in a larger organisation, you can train the existing teachers at different locations.

3. Publishing

Every teacher knows they can write a better coursebook than the one they’re using. Why not try? Put your experience to good use and make a move into materials writing. Harder than you think, but not as hard as you might fear.

4. Get a ‘Real’ Job

It’s now that many decide to leave TEFL and get a ‘real’ job (I hate people saying that, I’ve always seen TEFL as a real job). After a year or two teaching they get scared and move back to the perceived safety of home.

5. Pick Yourself

Choose to pick yourself. Instead of working for someone else, how can you use the skills you have to work for yourself? Become a freelance writer or translator? Write a book and self-publish? Can you start a school?

Take a moment and think about the future. Where are you headed in five or ten years?

Let me know in the comments below!