English as a Foriegn Language (EFL) Teacher

Job Description:

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

Job Category:

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • plan lessons and student activities
  • teach individuals or classes face-to-face or through online learning
  • source teaching materials and create learning resources
  • encourage students to practice speaking, to develop language and understanding
  • set and mark tests and exercises
  • organise social and cultural activities, like sports, social events and trips
  • keep learner records


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things (creativity)
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

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

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:

  • a full-time course lasting 4 weeks or 120 hours
  • a part-time course lasting 11, 16 weeks or 36 weeks
  • a distance learning course where you may need to arrange your own teaching practice

The most common TEFL qualifications are:

  • Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (Cambridge CELTA)
  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Trinity CertTESOL)
  • Level 5 TEFL Diploma

Direct Application
You could get experience as a paid language assistant in schools abroad. You do not need Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualifications for this, but you’ll need to have completed at least 2 years in higher education.

You may need foreign language skills for some jobs.

Other Routes
You can work as an EFL teacher in further education. You’ll usually need a Diploma in Education and Training (Level 5 in the UK), which you can do through professional development. After the Diploma, you can get qualified teacher learning and skills status (QTLS).

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

You’ll need to:

  • pass enhanced background checks as you may work with children and vulnerable adults

Working Hours and Environment:

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

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you may be able to progress to a management position in a commercial language school or a college.

You could also move into private tuition or teacher training. You could open your own language school or write EFL learning materials, online resources and apps.