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Teach English in Turkey

Teach English in Turkey

OnTESOL’s Turkey Guide: English Teaching Jobs, Regions, and TESOL Certification

Teach English in Turkey

OnTESOL’s Turkey Guide: English Teaching Jobs, Regions, and TESOL Certification

There are many reasons to teach English in Turkey, including an established ESL industry that hires Native English Teachers, a rich culture, wonderful cuisine, and paradisiacal landscapes with ancient ruins to visit on your time off. Turkey is a magical place for those who teach English for the travelling.

TESOL Turkey - Cultural Sensitivity in the ESL Classroom

Job Market

Turkey is a great country to find quality TESOL jobs! Turkey is making significant investments in English language instruction to bring the proficiency level of its people up to EU standards in order to join the European Union.

Turkey already has a well-established ESL industry in Istanbul and international language schools have opened chains in other regions. The ESL industry will continue to grow as new schools are sprouting up throughout the country.

Turkey is one of the few countries in Europe that accepts non-EU teachers and many of our Canadian, American, and Australian graduates have pursued successful careers in Turkey. Furthermore, large corporate chains often hire teachers and provide work permits before teachers arrive. Some schools pay recruitment agencies to help with the process of assembling all required documentation.


Teachers earn $1,500 to $2,500 per month and the cost of living is much lower than other European countries. Some schools pay for airfare once a year so teachers can visit their family.

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • University Degree.
  • 120-hour TESOL certificate. OnTESOL recommends adding a 20-hour specialist on Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) or Teaching a Business English Course (TBEC) because these are the largest TESOL job markets in Turkey.
  • Native speaker

Cost of living

The cost of living compares very favourably with Western countries and you will find that you can live quite comfortably on your salary. As a teacher, your major expense will be accommodation. In many cases, accommodation is provided as part of your compensation package. While many schools provide basic furnished accommodation, you might find that you’ll be sharing this with other teachers.

Health insurance

Another thing you can reasonably expect from a salary package is basic health cover. The better jobs will provide you with private health insurance; indeed, this is one good way of evaluating job offers. Additionally, round trip flights to your home are sometimes included, or partly subsidized, as part of your remuneration.

Demand for native speakers

TESOL jobs are readily available for teachers of pretty much all levels of experience and qualifications, and you may be in a position of strength when it comes to discussing your salary package. Nevertheless, a TESOL certificate should be seen as a necessity.

English Teaching Jobs in Turkey


Teaching English Young Learners:

Most entry-level jobs in Turkey involve teaching young learners from elementary to high school. Turkish people typically first encounter English in kindergarten and their early experience tends to be very positive. What is expected in young learner classrooms is a dynamic experience, with children coloring in pictures, singing songs or answering simple questions, and playing games. English is also taught as a key subject in the national education system, starting in the second grade right through high school.
In recent years, language schools have become popular in Turkey because they offer students smaller class sizes that are taught by Native English Teachers (NETs). In terms of salary and quantity of TESOL / TEFL jobs in Turkey, English language schools offer the best options for NETs.


Teaching English to Adults:

Turkish people continue learning English throughout their whole life. As adults they attend language schools for English conversation lessons so they keep practicing their speaking skills. If you are looking for an entry-level teaching job in Turkey, language schools are the best place to start.

For those who have previous ESL teaching experience, it is recommended to look for teaching opportunities with IELTS centers and universities.

Most entry-level jobs in Turkey involve Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) in. Adding a 20-hour TEYL is highly recommended because the course teaches how Communicative Language Teaching methods can be applied with children and teenagers. Using the right methods will help you build rapport with your students and avoid behavioral problems in the classroom.

The courses offered by OnTESOL includes course material recognized by TESL Canada, professional tutor support, and free job placement assistance in Thailand. Your dream job is waiting for you!

Accredited by TESL Canada and TESL Ontario

Applying for TESOL Jobs in Turkey

Finding an English teaching job in Turkey is a fairly easy thing to do; you will find that you can get a job in almost any decent sized city. The question is, should you do this yourself or take the seemingly safer option of going through a recruitment agency?

Using a TESOL Recruiter

Firstly, let’s consider TESOL recruiters. It’s an interesting fact that agencies recruiting teachers in Turkey generally cater for two sectors of the market: teachers for the absolute best schools and teachers for the absolute worst institutions. If you find that you are able to get a job through a recruiter with minimal qualifications and experience, this is something worth bearing in mind because you may find yourself working for an unscrupulous employer. Consequently, if you find a teaching position this way, it is best to learn all you can about your potential employer before fully committing to the job. Despite this drawback, recruiters offer a comfortable way of landing your first job.

Applying for Jobs on Your Own

Your alternative to landing a TESOL job through a recruiter is to do it yourself. As daunting as this may sound, you are almost guaranteed to find a job within your first few days of looking, especially in the bigger cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The reason why this is so easy is that language schools have few requirements when it comes to hiring teachers. To give you an example, it’s even possible get a job over the phone after a short interview. Naturally, the easier it is to get a job, the more likely it is that the potential employer will cause you problems sooner rather than later. A basic rule of thumb is this: the better schools require that you hold a university degree and a TESOL certificate. Having these qualifications will greatly increase your chances of landing a decent teaching job in Turkey.

Weighing The Pros and Cons

The best way to get a TESOL job in Turkey is still to apply in person. Managers and school owners tend to be much more willing to employ someone already in the country, plus Turks tend to value face-to-face personal relations greatly. Naturally, it seems to be a lot more risky to turn up in the country without prearranged employment, but it can be a fruitful way of getting the best job you can if you’re prepared to put in the legwork to apply to as many places as you can. What’s more, it’s often the case that an applicant who has applied from overseas never arrives, so many schools prefer to hire from the available pool of ESL teachers who are already in Turkey, rather than risk a ‘no show’.

Where and When to Apply for Jobs in Turkey

If you’re going to find a job yourself, rather than through a recruiter, plan on a two-week schedule for applying, attending interviews and then making your decision. Istanbul is probably the easiest place to do this, although this can be done in practically any city in Turkey. The peak times are from August to the start of September and from December to the start of January. These periods correspond roughly to the two semesters of schools and universities, and they tend to be the times when most new English courses begin.

My Experience Getting a TESOL Job and Teaching English in Istanbul


I arrived in the majestic city of Istanbul at the end of a six-month hitchhiking journey across Europe with around twenty British pounds to my name. I was immediately captured by the fascinating architecture, mouth-watering food, and magical buzz of the city. ‘We could live here,’ I said to the young lady who had given up her life on a whim to travel with me. ‘We could stop for a while and teach English.’ She agreed.

The Best Cities To Teach English In Turkey:

Teach English in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is a fascinating city for teaching English abroad. It has everything a European city by the sea can offer, plus beautiful Middle-Eastern architecture with landmarks that date back to the 1600’s. Istanbul offers such great cultural diversity that it is very popular with young university graduates and mature teachers alike. The demand for ESL teachers is very high in public schools, private language schools and universities.

Teach English in Ankara, Turkey

As the second largest city in Turkey and the nation’s capital, Ankara offers many opportunities for ESL teachers. The city has grown and expanded into a modern metropolis, while still respecting its traditions and history. The many archaeological sites include beautiful ancient, Celtic, Roman, and Turkish landmarks.

Teach English in Turkey - Ankara

Teach English in Izmir, Turkey

Izmir is a great city for teaching English in Turkey because it offers a great Mediterranean culture, proximity to Turkey’s most beautiful beaches, and a history that dates back 3500 years. Izmir is one of the oldest cities in the Mediterranean basin, and today it plays a significant economic role thanks to its geographical location; the port of Izmir remains as important as in the era of the Ottoman Empire, connecting Turkey and the Middle East with Europe. There are as many job opportunities in public schools, ESL institutes, and universities as in Istanbul and Ankara.

Teach English in Turkey - TESOL Izmir

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