English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher

Alternative titles for this job include EFL teacher

EFL teachers help students learn or improve their English in the UK and abroad.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 37 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends flexibly

How to become an English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • applying directly


Some employers may expect you to have a degree or postgraduate course that gives you qualified teacher status (QTS). Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • linguistics
  • modern foreign languages
  • education studies

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information


Some employers will expect you to have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification but it's not essential.

You can take TEFL courses at colleges and private training providers all over the world. They vary widely in cost and length. You can do:

  • a full-time course lasting 4 weeks or 120 hours
  • a part-time course lasting 11, 16 weeks or 36 weeks
  • a distance learning course where you may need to arrange your own teaching practice

The most common TEFL qualifications are:

  • Cambridge CELTA (Certificate of English language teaching to adults)
  • Trinity CertTESOL (Certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages)

Trinity College London and Cambridge English have more information on TEFL courses.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • an excellent standard of English
  • level 3 qualifications like A levels

Direct application

You could get experience as a paid language assistant in schools abroad. You don't need Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualifications for this, but you'll need to have completed at least 2 years in higher education.

The British Council has information about teaching abroad as an English language assistant.

You may need foreign language skills for some jobs.

Other routes

To work as an EFL teacher in further education, you'll usually need a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. After the diploma, you can gain the professional status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS).

To work in schools in the UK, you'll usually need to be a qualified teacher.

More information

Further information

FE Advice has more information on becoming a teacher in further education.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • persistence and determination
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • preparing and teaching language lessons and activities
  • producing learning resources
  • encouraging talking, to develop language and understanding
  • setting and marking tests and exercises
  • organising social and cultural activities, like sports, social events and trips
  • keeping learner records

Working environment

You could work at a language school, at a college or from home.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

With experience, you may be able to progress to a management position in a commercial language school or a college.

You could also move into private tuition or teacher training. You could open your own language school or write EFL learning materials, online resources and apps.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching (CELTA) Level 5

  • Provider: WKCIC GROUP
  • Start date: 24 January 2019
  • Location: Haringey

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (CELTA)

  • Provider: City of Bristol College
  • Start date: 28 March 2019
  • Location: Bristol

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