English Teaching Jobs: International Requirements

TESOL certification requirements for teaching English abroadIf you have a university degree in any area and an internationally recognized TESOL certification, you can start an exciting career as an ESL teacher!

TESOL Certification Requirements:

In general, the minimum entry-level requirement for English teaching jobs is a 120-hour TESOL, TEFL, or TESL certificate. Some schools prefer to hire teachers who have more than 1 year of teaching experience and/or completed a teaching practice module of 20 hours.


1- Minimum 120 hour TESOL certification. Online Accepted.

2- Teaching practice or experience not necessary for about 90% of entry-level jobs in Asia.

3- A Bachelor degree is required for the work visa. Some places like Japan, Thailand, and Cambodia may accept college diploma or associate degree. Contact the embassy for more information about the requirements for the work visa. Some programs, such as the NETs program in Hong Kong, prefer to hire people who have a BA degree in Education.


1- Minimum 120 hours. Online training accepted for 70% of entry-level jobs in Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic. Advanced training with Practicum such as the courses approved by TESL Canada or CELTA are preferred.

2- A BA degree in any area.

3- EU citizenship is required for most countries. Germany and the Czech Republic have more flexible immigration options for qualified candidates.

Latin America:

1- Minimum: 120 hour TESOL certification

2- Online accepted! Teaching practice or experience not necessary for about 90% of entry-level jobs in Latin America.

3- A BA in any area is sufficient for about 90% of entry-level jobs in Latin America. Some countries do not require a university degree to issue the work visa. Check with the embassy if you do not have a degree.

Middle East:

80% of all jobs in this region are in the public school system. Some countries offer lucrative contracts. These public school jobs require a BA in Education or a Teaching license.

MA degree preferred in some competitive jobs. Teaching experience preferred.

TESOL Certification is highly recommended for those who teach primary and secondary classes in English to non-native speakers.

North America, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa:

Minimum 120 hours and a 20-hour Practicum. A BA in any area is sufficient for language academy and English immersion jobs.

For the public school system, a teaching license or MA degree in Education is required in native-English speaking countries.

FAQ #1: What Type of University Degree Do I Need to Get an English Teaching Job?

The university degree can be in any subject.

A BA in English, Education, and or Linguistics is not usually required for English teaching jobs because an advanced TESOL certification program will give you the skills that you need to follow and adapt an ESL curriculum. A TESOL course recognized by TESL Canada, CELTA, or Trinity CertTESOL will teach you how to create lesson plans using the Communicative Language Teaching Method. You will also get training in grammar and phonology.

TESOL is a very specific subject, so a degree in English, Education, and/or linguistics would not make much difference in your development as an ESL teacher. However, some entry-level programs in the UAE, Hong Kong, and South Korea prefer to hire teachers who completed a BA in one of these subjects and some career advancement opportunities are open only to those who have a Masters degree in one of these subjects on top of their TESOL certification.

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