Should I take my TESOL course before I head overseas to teach?

Many people decide that an in-class TESOL certification course is the best way to prepare for life in a foreign classroom, however, is it best to take it within your home country or once you arrive at your ultimate teaching destination? Either choice has its pros and cons, but on this page we focus on the reasons why taking a TESOL course before you leave home might be the best option for you.

Can I get an ESL teaching job before I leave home?

If you are planning to head to one of the most popular teaching destinations there is a good chance that you can secure a job before you get on the plane. In areas where demand for teachers is particularly high, employers routinely advertise vacant positions online via job boards and recruitment companies. If your application is successful you will typically have an interview over a webcam or even by phone. Once you have been offered a job it will be up to you to provide all the paperwork the employer needs to organise a visa and/or work permit for you. This type of recruitment is commonplace in many parts of Asia, such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

Advance recruitment is also common throughout much of the Middle East. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait, teachers will typically have all the arrangements sorted out well in advance of their departure date. Elsewhere, Russia and Turkey both have a large number of employers who are keen to fill their job vacancies in advance, while government recruitment programs such as the TAPIF program in France and the cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain are also organized from within your home country. If you plan on following any of these routes into English teaching it makes obvious sense to complete your TESOL training at home before heading overseas.

Should I keep my options open if I’m not sure where I want to teach?

A major advantage of completing a TESOL certification course before heading overseas is you do not have to decide where you want to live and work until you have finished your training. As it can have a big impact on what you get out of your teaching adventure, choosing a destination is not something you should take lightly. By getting TESOL certified first you will be able to apply for as many jobs as you like in as many different countries as you want and then choose the best one for you after you have graduated from your course.

In contrast, if you have already decided on a teaching destination it makes perfect sense for you to take a TESOL course in that region so you are ready to apply and interview for jobs as soon as the training is complete. However, if you would like the luxury of choosing the best job offer regardless of where it comes from, you should really consider keeping your options open and taking a TESOL course in your home country.

Is it cheaper to take a TESOL course in my home country?

Heading overseas to take a TESOL certification course is likely to be a great adventure that will live on in your memory for many years to come, however, the overall cost can be a barrier to some people. If you have the option of taking an in-class course in your hometown it will certainly reduce the financial burden of flights, accommodation and meals etc,. If there are no in-class courses close to your home, another option to consider is taking an online TESOL course. Although an online course does not offer the same level of instruction and teaching practice as an in-class option, it will still provide enough insight to get your TESOL adventure underway.

Can I take an in-class TESOL course in the U.S?

If you want to teach English abroad and you are currently living in the U.S. you might well be in a position to complete an in-class TESOL course before you start applying for jobs. At ITTT we can offer a full-time four week training program in New York City, plus a 5-day combined TESOL course option that mixes online and in-class study in over a dozen cities across the country. We now also have a 5-day combined course in Toronto, Canada. This could be the perfect choice if you live in any of our course locations or like the idea of spending a few days in a great destination such as Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, or San Francisco.