My New WikiHow Article

How to Get a Job Teaching English in Asia

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Asia is a continent with an exciting mixture of peoples and cultures. Teaching English in Asia gives you a chance to actually live among the different peoples of Asia, and experience their cultures. So how can you get a job teaching English in Asia? Let’s take a look.


  1. The first thing to do is make sure you have the proper qualifications to teach. Just being a native speaker of the language is enough to get you a job at some schools. However, these will be the bottom of the barrel “backpacker” type of schools, that will hire anyone with a white face that speaks English. The pay will be very low, you’ll have large classes of unruly kids with no supervision, and academic support or materials will be few or non-existent, There will be no work visa, and indeed, if the school doesn’t want to pay you, they may even report you to the local authorities for working without a permit, and have you deported. If these kind of working conditions appeal to you, go ahead, pack up your backpack, and ignore the rest of this article. For the rest of you, there are certain qualifications that will make it easier to find a decent job.
  2. In Asia, qualifications are everything.You need to have the paper if you want to get a job. First thing you need is a college degree. It can be in any subject, but one in education, English, linguistics, or something similar is a plus. If you have qualified or certified teacher status, then great. You’ll start off even higher on the pay scale. Masters in any subject? You’re qualified for the higher paying jobs at universities, International schools, government jobs, or in the Gulf countries. You will find that rare few that are teaching without a college degree. They’ve had to pay their dues, and start on the lower end of the scale, at backpacker level or near it, with the same type of pay and conditions.
  3. You have a degree? Great! Do you have qualified or certified teacher status? If so, skip to the next step. If not, then you’ll need a teaching certificate. Sure, as a native speaker with a college degree, you may be able to find a teaching job, but it won’t be one you’ll want to tell your friends and family about. So invest your time and money in a proper certificate course, either a CELTA or a Trinity College TESOL certificate.(See warning below). At the very least, you will be a candidate for a decent teaching position, instead of someone a school will look at only if no one better qualified applies.
  4. Next piece of paper you’ll need is a CV. Write it up in Word format. Highlight any pertinent experience you may have had, especially if you are new to teaching. Remember, in Asia, qualifications are everything, so highlight any seminars attended, presentations given, certificates, awards, etc. As for references, just put down “supplied upon request”, and then have at least three ready when they are requested.
  5. If you can, have a couple of letters of recommendation handy from someone other than family or close relatives. You have professional references? Don’t leave home without them.
  6. Most countries now ask for a police clearance in order for you to get a work visa. This makes sense, because wouldn’t you want to know who it is coming in to your country to teach your children? Ask your employer exactly what they need for a police clearance, and get it before you leave your country. Believe me, they can be extremely difficult to get when you are overseas. Save yourself a bunch of headaches, and get it before you leave. For those more adventurous types who will look for a job once they reach their destination of choice, see what is required before you leave, and bring it with you.
  7. Do some research on whatever country you are interested in before applying. What is the political and economical situation? Are they stable? Is the country prone to earthquakes and natural disasters? What is the general standard of living in the country? At the very least least check out the CIA World Factbook for an overview. Go to daveseslcafe, ( and read the postings on the “International Job Forums”, and post any questions you may have there.
  8. Search the Internet for job openings. The most popular site is probably daveseslcafe, at There is also,,, and many others you can find through Google.
  9. If you are adventurous, fly out to your country of interest. Find a cheap hostel or guesthouse to stay. Then hit the pavement, stop in at schools, and hand out your CV. More than a few paople have found jobs this way. The advantage to this is you get an instant read as to what the school and students are like. If you are taking this route, see if you can observe a class before you sign a contract. Also, they may ask you to do a demo lesson, so be prepared to show your best.


  • Be prepared for culture shock. It’s a different country with a different culture you are going to. Things aren’t going to be like home. The language , the food, everything will be different. How different will depend on which country you go to, and where you live. So keep an open mind, try different things, meet some locals,and don’t be one of the crowd of expats sitting in a bar whinging about how things suck.


  • Don’t bother with getting online teaching certificates, or ones that you get from a twenty hour weekend workshop. They are a waste of time and money. Any reputable school will tell you that you need a CELTA or a Trinity College TESOL certificate. Any worthwhile certificate course will have: At least 120 hours of training Classroom observation of experienced teachers A minimum 6 hours of observed teaching practice with real language learners Several written assignments
  • Any course offering anything less than the above, is a scam.
  • If a school is constantly advertising for teachers, it is not a good sign. Be extra cautious when applying to such a school, and do your homework.
  • Approach any jobs in Korea with extreme caution. While some have had enjoyable experiences teaching there, most of us have not. The money is good, and you should be able to save a decent amount, but everything you have to go through to get it hardly makes it seem worthwhile. Check out this page on the US Embassy website for what they say about teaching there:
  • For the real horror stories about teaching in Korea, read the postings on DavesESLCafe Korean Job Forum:
  • “Summer Camp” teaching jobs in Korea? Don’t even think about it! That’s where some of the worst horror stories come from. They will tell you that you’ll get paid an exorbitant salary, live in a beautiful place, all visas will be taken care of, etc., etc.. Then when you get there you find it’s across the way from a pig farm, and you are told you will only get your full salary at the end of camp. Then what happens is the day before camp ends the owner calls his buddies in immigration, and they raid the camp. Surprise! You’ve been teaching without a work visa, and you get deported without getting paid a single Won. (True story. I read it a few years back on DavesESLCafe when I was looking into teaching in Korea. It was one of the jobs I was offered, but didn’t take. I found out this was how it went.). Nice, huh?
  • Thinking of going to Asia to teach after you retire? Be aware that retirement ages are lower here than in other places in the world. In Many countries, they can’t or won’t hire you after their retirement age. Besides, fresh young faces are always in vogue in Asia. Better a young handsome guy or pretty girl just starting out, than a creaky oldster with all the knowledge and experience in the world.
  • Persons of color can find it difficult to find teaching jobs, no matter how much experience you have or how well qualified you are. The owner of a school I was in charge of told me straight out that. “Parents want white faces”. The sad truth is owners rather have a mediocre white teacher, than a fantastic teacher of color. The same goes for those of Asian extraction looking to teach in Asia. I know some fantastic Filipino teachers I would have loved to hire for my schools in China, but I was always told no. Still while it is difficult to get hired, it is not impossible. You have to try a lot harder than the white people do.
  • Get ready to be stared at. You will be an object of curiosity to the locals. They don’t mean to be rude. They’re just curious, that’s all.

Things You’ll Need

  • A bunch of passport sized photos on the proper colored background for visas, and whatnot.
  • Enough money to last you for the first couple of months, at least until you get your first paycheck, and get settled into your new life. You may have to buy necessaries such as kitchen utensils, furniture, pay the deposit on an apartment or for Internet service, etc. Don’t think you’re going to be able to go to Asia to teach without any cash, and that everything is going to be all right. It won’t.
  • A good attitude. Just because you’re a native speaking westerner doesn’t mean that you are in any way superior to the locals. It’s quite the opposite. It’s their country, and their culture, so they have the advantage over you.
  • To be respectful of local customs and culture. Do some research before you land in the country to see what’s OK and what’s taboo. (Such as patting children on the head in Thailand. A definite no-no, no matter how cute they are.)
  • To know that every girl you meet will not find you attractive or instantly want to sleep with you, just because you are a Caucasian from a western country.
  • Realize that teaching English is not just something you do to make money to support your interests or vices, but a career.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Get a Job Teaching English in Asia. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.


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