Can US Citizens Teach English Abroad? (incl. Where You Can Go!)

Can US Citizens Teach English Abroad?

US Citizens can teach English abroad as long as they have the proper qualifications. US citizens who want to become TEFL teachers should start by finding an accredited teaching program and a placement location that will allow them to work with children of all ages and adults. US Citizens are in high demand, so it’s best to get started right away!

Where can US citizens teach English abroad?

US citizens hold a powerful passport that allows them into every country. So if you are from the US, you can potentially teach English abroad anywhere you want. Some countries require TEFL teachers to have a degree but most just require the TEFL certificate.

Do US citizens need a degree to teach abroad?

If you plan to teach English in the Middle East or Asia (except Cambodia), you need a degree. Suppose you plan on working in Europe, Africa or Latin America. In that case, you just need a TEFL certification and prove you are a native English speaker through a video call interview.

For degree holders, you can go anywhere to teach, which is a great opportunity, and you should use it to explore every corner of the world!

For non-degree holders, your options are slightly limited, but you still have three continents to explore! There have been cases where TEFL teachers with no degree taught English abroad for many years and earned fabulous references from schools, and they were able to use their experience to work in schools where degrees are a requirement. (This can not always work as most of these countries require a degree to get a work permit for tax reasons, so do your research first because you do not want to break the law in a foreign country!)

Most popular destinations for US TEFL teachers

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For many first time teachers who do not want to go too far from home on their first teaching job abroad, they choose to go to their neighbour, Mexico. The salary is humble, but the experience is mighty!

Many US citizens in their later years are also beginning to head south to Mexico to teach English for the beautiful weather, lifestyle and low cost of living. It is similar to a semi-retirement plan. You can work a couple of days per week in the local school to supplement your lifestyle, or even teach online in the evenings!

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Costa Rica:

Similar to Mexico, this fantastic country is not too far away from the US, which many people like. If that wasn’t good enough, the natural beauty of Costa Rica is like nothing you have ever experienced! However, the people and lifestyle in Costa Rica are enough to make you never want to leave.

It is known as the most biodiverse country in the world and is filled with gorgeous jungles, animals and world-famous beaches for you to relax or surf all day.

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The famous tropical island of Bali in Indonesia is attracting TEFL teachers, digital nomads and travellers from around the world. It is becoming the party destination of South East Asia, and not only that, it is packed with beauty, adventures and a much cheaper way of life compared to the US.

I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of living on a tropical island?

You will be in the heart of South East Asia and have the opportunity to explore the nearby countries and islands. You can always do the 4-week course in Bali, and if you like the vibe, you can stay. If not, we can help you find a job in a nearby country! We love to help! 

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Since Cambodia opened its borders to the outside world around 20 years ago, it has slowly grown, and finally, foreigners are starting to see the potential it has to offer. It is like a secret gem that not many people know about. Still, those that do the secret are moving there ASAP to experience Cambodia’s Renaissance before it becomes too Westernized like Japan or Thailand.

Many Americans describe Cambodia as the Wild West, but with so many people now moving there, it is becoming modernized very fast!

Are US English teachers in demand?

Yes, American teachers are very sought after worldwide for their English fluency and excellent work ethic. Also, American English is very popular in some countries, especially with corporations that do business with American firms.

With English becoming the universal language of business, companies around the world are looking for staff that speak English and are paying for their current staff to be trained in private language schools.

There is a vast demand for English teachers at the moment, and with the pandemic that has been happening, so many English teachers are staying at home. This means there are more job opportunities than ever before. It is the perfect time to become a TEFL teacher!

Are there age restrictions for being a TEFL teacher?

Most countries are open to people of all ages (as long as they are over 18). Some countries or schools will require teachers to be over 21, and some will want teachers under 60.

Each school may have different requirements. They may prefer over 21-year-olds as they will have more life experience and no college requirements. It is possible to teach abroad if you are over 60, but some schools may have a number which they will not go above due to retirement.

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Can I teach English in the US with a TEFL certification?

A TEFL certificate will not qualify you to teach in a US school. It is a qualification to teach English to non-native English speakers. If you have your heart is set on teaching English in the US, you can check out TESOL courses. These courses are designed to train you on how to teach English to non-native speakers who are currently living in the US and will allow you to work in language schools only.

How can I become a TEFL teacher in the US?

There are TEFL courses spread out around the US which you can take to prepare you for teaching English abroad. This course in Chicago is highly recommended if you live nearby. It is 4 weeks of intensive training with live teaching practice. You will also receive job placement assistance in whichever country you want to teach!

You can always take an online TEFL course from home if it is something that would suit you better. Online TEFL courses usually take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to complete, compared to the 1 month the on-site course take.

Online courses can be great for people who work full-time or are trying to save up before moving abroad. One problem most have is they may not have live teaching practice, which is important as you want to see if you can handle the job before you dive into it.

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Is there anywhere else US citizens can become TEFL teachers?

You can do a TEFL course abroad in many countries such as Costa Rica or Cambodia, or Italy!

You would not only get the same training as at home, but your teaching practicum would be with the local students, which are great and you also get an extra month in that country where you can explore with the other teachers and take part in the city and culture tours and the epic nights out!

When you do a course at home you then have to move to a new country, and you have to find friends, when you do the course abroad you are all thrown together which makes landing in a new country 100% more fun!

Here is a list of all the countries we offer courses in:

If there is a country you want to go to that you don’t see above, tell us below in the comment section, and we will give you some help on how to get there! ✌