Asia is hot spot for aspiring CELTA/TESOL teachers. The region’s high salaries, low cost of living and the West’s continuing fascination with Asian society and culture are three major factors in this trend. After covid lockdowns many of the English language schools and have reopened and wanting overseas trained English language teachers. So if you are wanting to spend an extended time in Asia, one of the best ways to travel and work abroad in Asia is to Teach English. In this post I will discuss the qualifications you need and how to to teach English in Asia. Let’s get into it!

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Why Do Asians Want to Learn English?

The advanced economies of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and most recently China, all generate a big demand for English in their respective societies. This demand helps ensure decent (and sometimes fantastic) wages for thousands of English teachers in the region. You should find it quite easy to find a job in any of these four countries, and others like Thailand and Vietnam. 


RELATED: Teach English Overseas – 8 Good Reasons to Teach English Abroad


What Qualification (if any) is Required to Teach English in Asia?


If you possess a college degree and/or a CELTA/TESOL certificate, the demand is so high in certain areas that you might be able to get a job even without these minimum requirements. Although if you do, your pay and working conditions will likely be less as a result. Asian countries are also some of the few in the world where English teachers can save considerable amounts of money. This is because the cost of living is a lot cheaper than in other countries. 


Why Get a CELTA/TESOL Certificate?


Getting the certificate is a bit expensive however, you should look at it as an investment in your future. With one of these certificates, schools in different countries around the world will sponsor you to work for them. So look at it at like your passport to travel and work abroad in a country you may have only been able to visit on a tourist visa previously. 


How to Get a CELTA/TESOL Certificate?


There are two ways to get a CELTA/TESOL Certificate:

  • face-to-face learning in a school that offers the certificate
  • online course through organisations such as i-to-i. 

During the course topics covered include grammar (tenses, sentence structure, pronunciation, etc.). Methods of teaching (preparing lessons, using the black/white board, classroom management etc.). Half of the time is devoted to practical teaching, where you will actually be putting what you have learnt into practice. This is undertaken through micro-teaching which is where you teach your fellow students as pupils. The skills you will gain from gaining a CELTA/TESOL Certificate will stand you in good stead to land a great English language teaching job in Asia.


What Visa is Required to Teach English in Asia?


You will need a visa that allows you to work in an Asian country. These include:

  • Work Permit. You will need an employer to sponsor you for one of these.
  • Working Holiday Visa. Some Asian countries have a 1-2 year working holiday visa available and you can get a teaching job with one of these.


RELATED: Asia Working Holiday Visas


How to Get a Job Teaching English in Asia?


There are a couple of ways people get a job teaching English in an Asian country. 

  • Arrange a job online. Many jobs can be arranged in advance via the Internet, where interviews are conducted via a Zoom call. Doing this should mean, your work visa is organised for you before you arrive.
  • Arrive and approach schools. Some people arrive in a particular Asian country on a tourist visa and decide they would like to stay, so they will need to work to support themselves. This is when they approach English language schools and apply for a teaching position. If successful the school will sponsor you and get a work permit so you can teach for them. 


RELATED: How to Teach English in Japan


Working Conditions and Job Benefits from Teaching English in Asia

Working conditions and job benefits are also incredibly good in many Asian countries. They include, but not limited to:

  • Your employer may pay for at least part of your airfare (if you have organised this from another country and they are sponsoring you);
  • Provide you with comfortable housing or a rent subsidy if you find your own accommodation. 
  • Health insurance and adequate vacation time. 
  • Wage – anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 USD per month (in China) to $3,000 USD per month (in Japan).


What is Expected from You?


It is advisable to sign a contract so you and the school are both clear on a number of factors including:


Type of Students


You may be teaching children, housewives, college students or corporate executives. It will depend upon your employer. Most language schools enrol students of all ages and backgrounds. In general, you will teach:

  • Children – games, puzzles, sing-songs, words and phrases
  • Business people – correct grammar
  • Conversational English – to people who want to speak and improve their English



Asian Girl Sitting At Desk being Taught. How to Teach English in Asia.

Students can be of any age


Number of Students

Be clear about how many students you will have in your class (minimum and maximum) and of their age range. Each school is different so be aware of what your limits are and who you would prefer to teach. Would you prefer to teach one-on-one, have a small class of under 10 people or have 20-30 students?


Teaching Hours

A lot of contracts tend to mention teaching hours, however there is a difference between teaching hours and office hours. Where the teaching hours might be defined as ‘120 hours per month’, it’s unwise to assume you must be at school only for those teaching hours. Often, you will be expected to be at the school in-between classes, too – sometimes up to 40 hours per week doing administration work related to teaching such as classroom lesson preparation. So, make sure working and teaching hours are well-defined and that you know your total working hours per week.


Teaching Times


Also find out what time classes may be. Does your organisation want you to teach a class at 7am in the morning to a group of professionals so they can still get to work for 9am? Or will you be teaching at 8pm at night and then need to get public transport home late?


Where will these Teaching hours be conducted?

Ensure you are aware of where you will be teaching. Is your contract to only teach in one school where students come to you or several schools. Or is there a combination of teaching that includes travelling to businesses, people’s homes, or other school locations. Do you want to travel all over town to teach English or prefer to teach in the one place? If you don’t mind travelling between campus classrooms who will pay for your travel?


Are Teaching Materials Provided?

Most schools are supportive and will provide teaching materials for you to use. They should have games, puzzles, and other resources available to you for your lesson planning. Having your own tried and tested materials will be extremely helpful. Having a file of these that you can add to will help to make you a better teacher.


What Kind of School To Teach In?

English teachers in Asia normally teach in private language institutes and/or give lessons to private students. There are also also some government programs where you could get a job but these usually require teachers to have a degree.


When To Apply for a Job Teaching English in Asia?

In most Asian countries TESOL jobs in language schools can be applied for year-round, particularly in China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam in particular. Except Taiwan and Thailand, where hiring is done seasonal. The hiring season in Taiwan is after the Chinese New Year, and then again in July and August. The hiring season for teaching English in Thailand is in May and then again in November.

Public schools though in countries like South Korea typically interview and recruit English teachers during the spring and early summer for August and September start dates. And some also recruit in the fall for positions beginning January, February, and March. The Jet Program in Japan requires applications be submitted by December for positions for the following autumn.


Are You Ready to Teach English in Asia?


If you are planning to travel and work abroad in Asia teaching English or have already taught in a school in Asia feel free to leave your questions or comments in the comments section following.


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Thanks for sharing!

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