EFL teacher

Teacher of English as a Foreign Language (EFL)
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would help students to learn or improve their skills in English and their knowledge of British culture. You’d teach adults from many different countries and cultures, whose first or main language is not English.

Your students may want to improve their conversational English or to help them with their work.

They may need to learn English to:

  • Get into college or university in an English-speaking country
  • Prepare for an exam
  • Prepare for the Life in the UK test which people take when they apply for British citizenship

You’d need an excellent knowledge of English. You’d give lively, interesting lessons that will appeal to a wide variety of people. You’d adapt your teaching style to suit the skills and interest of the class.

You would:

  • Prepare language lessons and activities
  • Produce learning resources
  • Teach useful and enjoyable classes
  • Encourage students to talk to develop language and understanding
  • Set and mark tests and exercises
  • Get involved in social and cultural activities, like sports, social events and trips to other towns and cities

You could specialise in teaching English for particular purposes, such as business or entry to higher education. Or you could focus on practical language skills to help them live in the United Kingdom.

You may find that courses and jobs use different terms such as:

  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL)
  • English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL)
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

These are all different names for teaching English to people who do not have it as a first language.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working hours would vary depending on your employer or the type of teaching you do. Some jobs involve evening and weekend work, or intensive weeks over the summer holidays.

Environment

You would be based in a classroom for most of the time. As well as classroom teaching, you would spend time preparing lessons and materials and record-keeping. In some jobs, particularly in summer schools, you may also be involved in outings and sporting or social activities

Travel

This job offers great opportunities for travel, as EFL teachers are in demand in many countries where English is not the native language.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Helping people to learn
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Being creative

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

 You would need a recognised Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification.

The most commonly accepted minimum TEFL qualifications are: 

  • Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Trinity CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

There are various routes into teaching English as a foreign language although many who teach have degrees.

TEFL teachers are in demand throughout the world; many schools do not insist that you have an English or other relevant degree but this can be helpful.

To enter a TEFL qualifications you will need to be over 18 and require at least Highers (SCQF level 6) and usually a degree (SCQF level 9/10). 

To enter a degree (SCQF 9/10) you will normally need National 5 qualifications and at least three Highers.

A full time TEFL course can take four to five weeks either in the UK or abroad. You can also take distance learning courses which take longer.  

Useful subjects

  • English (required)
  • Modern languages
  • Maths
  • Social studies such as modern studies

You will also need

  • To be over 18 years old