For TESOL positions, the required level of English proficiency typically starts at a minimum of CEFR level B1. However, most teaching roles, especially those that are more competitive, require a higher level of fluency, with many employers preferring C1 or native-level proficiency. Non-native English speakers must demonstrate strong command over the language, both written and spoken, to teach effectively. This includes a clear understanding of grammar, an extensive vocabulary, and the ability to communicate complex concepts. While specific requirements may vary by region or employer, a high level of English is crucial for success in a TESOL career.
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Before you start looking at potential jobs around the world, the first thing you will need to do is complete a TESOL certification course. With a TESOL qualification in your back pocket you will be taken seriously by employers and have the required skills and knowledge to plan and deliver top class lessons for your future students. As there are plenty of countries and individual employers who are more than happy to take on non-native English speaking teachers, there is no reason why you can't successfully complete a TESOL course, whatever your native language. Just remember that to teach English to a good standard you will need to have a solid grasp of the language, in speaking, reading, and writing.
As long as your English is fluent you are welcome to join any one of our TESOL certification courses at ITTT.
In the ESL job market, certain countries have official policies that restrict teaching positions to native English speakers, often for visa eligibility reasons. These countries typically include China, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, which have large markets for English teachers but also maintain stringent government regulations. While there are occasional exceptions where schools may navigate around these visa restrictions, these cases are not the norm and can involve complex legal considerations. Additionally, in English-speaking countries like the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, ESL jobs are predominantly filled by local native speakers, making opportunities for non-native speakers in these regions quite rare.
Non-native English speakers with a TESOL qualification have a breadth of opportunities to teach English legally across the globe. In Asia, the ESL market is vast, and countries like Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam offer legal teaching positions to non-native speakers, with the added allure of rich cultures and adventurous experiences. While Europe can be competitive, non-native speakers find welcoming job markets in Turkey, along with Eastern and Central European countries, where demand is high, and living experiences are diverse.
Latin America represents one of the most accessible regions for non-native English speakers to teach, with countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru having fewer restrictions and a vibrant teaching scene. Additionally, the online ESL teaching space is rapidly growing, with platforms like Fluentbe, italki, Engoo, Learnlight, Preply, and All Right providing legal teaching avenues for non-native speakers to teach from anywhere, expanding the potential for TESOL-qualified individuals to reach students globally.