Jumpstart Your Career with TEFL!

If you are reading this, you are probably interested in teaching English as a foreign language, commonly known as TEFL. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about this for a while or maybe it’s just recently appeared on your radar. Either way, you undoubtedly have some questions. While this article won’t go in-depth on the details of TEFL, it will answer the single-most important question you should be asking yourself right now:

Who ARE these people that do TEFL, and are they glad they did it?!

We recently conducted a survey of Bridge graduates that completed their TEFL training (online or onsite) between 2009 and so far into 2011.  Over 300 people responded (thanks, guys!), and below is a brief analysis of our results.  But before you examine the data, please note our favorite question from the survey:

Have your experiences as a TEFL teacher impacted your life?

A resounding 76.1% said “yes” (it should be noted that 17% of our graduates have not yet taught abroad; once they do we anticipate that number will climb above 90%). Our graduates told us that teaching English has allowed them learn about the different cultures of the world, helped them gain confidence in themselves and develop new skills and most importantly gave them the chance to meet and connect with new friends. One graduate even told us that while teaching in Chile with Bridge, she met her husband, had a son and became bilingual!

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what we found out about our TEFL graduates.

One of the most common question that runs through a person’s head when considering a TEFL certification course is: Am I right for a TEFL certification? Can I actually teach English abroad?

Maybe you’re a young woman worried about traveling abroad on your own. Well, 55.4% of our graduates are women. And they’ve taught all over the world! To read some of the adventures from these brave women, check out Kelly’s post on her 4 favorite TEFL blogs written by women.

Perhaps you are retired and wondering about the difficulty of finding a job abroad. While most of our graduates are between 18-29, around 20% of you who responded were 40 and above! We found out that many of you chose to change career paths, and decided to get TEFL certified and go abroad.

Or maybe you’ve never gone to college and wondering how this might affect your chances of finding a job. Around 70% percent of our graduates who took the survey have their Bachelor’s degree, and only 10% have an associate’s degree or high school diploma. But don’t get discouraged! Check out our interview with TEFLonline.com graduate, Jennifer Hamblen, who changed in her career in retail for a trip to Russia and got hired in the most prestigious English school in St. Petersburg, and she had never gone to college.

Another question we hear a lot is: I’m not a native teacher, can I still get TEFL certified and teach abroad?

We found out that our graduates come from all over the world, including: Armenia, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Georgia, Holland, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan!

One of our non-native English speaking graduates told us about the challenges in the CELTA course: “I had a hard time to be in CELTA class… because of I’m not a native speaker. I tried so hard and I did it. This CELTA class not only gave me my new ways to teach but help to prove my experience (as a teacher) also.”

You’re probably wondering and dreaming about where you can teach English in the world?

Our grads have been quite the world-travelers! The countries where they are teaching or have taught include: Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Maybe you know where you want to teach, but did you know there are many different types of jobs that an English teacher can get? And boy are they different! Teaching a class of 20 wiggling, anxious 8 year-old children can be just as challenging as a one-on-one with a CEO who’s got a fear of public speaking. So, what did our grads go for? Here’s the breakdown:

Types of students taught:

Children (K-12) 59.4%
University Students 28.4%
Adults 53.9%
A Combination 24.7%
Other 4.8%

Types of English Taught:

Business English 28.7%
Medical English 2.6%
Legal English 3.7%
Academic English 47.0%
General English 86.6%
Other 10.4%

Finally, the most important question you might ask yourself: Why should I get TEFL certification? Is it really relevant to my career as a…(dentist, ballerina, gym teacher, lawyer, etc.)?

Many young people are choosing to go abroad and work, but just because you get TEFL certified doesn’t mean you have to dedicate the rest of your life to teaching English. Many people find it a stepping stone to other careers, and their time as an English teacher as an invaluable experience, for themselves and their resumes. In fact 59% of our graduates answered “yes” when asked if TEFL influenced or changed their career path. Check out this article on how teaching English abroad can impact your future career prospects.

Here are just some of the careers that our graduates decided to pursue: Youth Activities Counselor, Emergency Services, Technical Writing, Merchandising, Accounting, Product Development, Urban planning, and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Education/Prevention.

Thanks so much to everyone who took the survey! It was great to get to know a little more about you. If you didn’t have a chance to fill out the survey and would like to share a little about your experience, please leave a comment below.

Trying to decide if TEFL is the right career path for you? Read more about the TEFL experience. You can also volunteer with an ESL class to try it out yourself!