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Newbie Requesting Advice For Teaching English Abroad

Posted: 29 Jan 2016, 21:43
by poparuss
Hi Guys,

I am looking for some advice from the board experts. I want to take steps now to develop a career option to teach English abroad in the future after my retirement from a financial services career in the US (a few years from now). At that point I will have six figures of savings in the bank and just want flexibility to travel abroad while earning a decent living. As of today, my only skillset is fluency in English (native born American, but only some college, no degree).

What would be the most budget friendly, practical steps to take right now, to make myself marketable and create such an option for the future?

Re: Newbie Requesting Advice For Teaching English Abroad

Posted: 30 Jan 2016, 14:38
by Briona
Hi there,
poparuss wrote:As of today, my only skillset is fluency in English (native born American, but only some college, no degree.
The bad news is that without a degree, there are very few places left in the world where you can legally teach. This is because a degree is a requirement of most work visas. Neither experience (related or otherwise) or vocational qualifications will be accepted in lieu of an actual degree. This alone rules out the Middle East and most of Asia, not to mention most (all?) native English-speaking countries. In any case, all of these countries/regions have upper-age limits ranging from 55-65, so the likelihood of a retiree of average age finding work is slim.

Europe, or at least the EU, is also a no-go as EU hiring laws give preference to European citizens. Before hiring a non-EU citizen, employers first have to prove that there were no suitably-qualified EU citizens who could do the job. When it comes to English teaching, this is not a very likely proposition.
poparuss wrote:... just want flexibility to travel abroad while earning a decent living.
It's a common misconception that travel and TEFL go hand in hand. They don't. Schools tend to require teachers to make a 6-12 month commitment, which means staying in one place, and not taking holidays during term-time.

With regards to salary, it's worth noting that outside of the Middle East, Korea and Japan, salaries are generally low, and in many places they are little more than subsistence level, meaning that you can survive in-country, but can't usually afford lots of foreign trips. In your favour, you would at least be financially secure getting into TEFL, so the need for a decent salary would be minimised.
poparuss wrote:What would be the most budget friendly, practical steps to take right now, to make myself marketable and create such an option for the future?
To my mind, your best bet (or perhaps only real option) is South America. The demand for EFL teachers is quite high, and while degree-holders may be preferred, plenty of employers will hire non-degree holders. However, as mentioned above, salaries, both for those with and without degrees, are low; you could earn as little as US$500pm. Another consideration is that many employers are reluctant to organise work visas. For more on working in South America check out http://worldoftefl.com/latin-america/ and, to speak to people with current/recent experience, in the region, try the appropriate forums on Dave's ESL Café (http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/index.php).

My advice would be to choose a country/countries that you like the sound of, and do LOTS of research.

Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please ask.

Briona

Re: Newbie Requesting Advice For Teaching English Abroad

Posted: 31 Jan 2016, 01:16
by poparuss
Briona,

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such a detailed response, it was extremely helpful.

Central/South America is of interest to me, especially Ecuador and Nicaragua (due to low cost of living/great weather). It is obvious to me now that obtaining a Bachelors Degree in English will be required to secure more employment options. The good news is that I have time on my side (this is not immediately impending for me).

In terms of working toward a degree, would an online university outlet (which appeals to me due to scheduling flexibility) such as Southern New Hampshire University (which offer BA in English Language & Literature) be sufficient?

They reference accreditation from the ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs)
and CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). Would those be taken seriously by potential overseas employers? If not, is there an alternative online university/specific degree/list of accreditation you would recommend? Thank you so much for your help! :)

Re: Newbie Requesting Advice For Teaching English Abroad

Posted: 31 Jan 2016, 14:58
by Briona
Hi again,
poparuss wrote:It is obvious to me now that obtaining a Bachelors Degree in English will be required to secure more employment options. The good news is that I have time on my side (this is not immediately impending for me).
If you have the time and money to invest in a degree, I would definitely recommend getting one. It's worth noting that, Middle East aside, your degree can be in anything at all. That said, you can't go wrong with a degree related to English/TESOL/linguistics.
poparuss wrote:In terms of working toward a degree, would an online university outlet (which appeals to me due to scheduling flexibility) such as Southern New Hampshire University (which offer BA in English Language & Literature) be sufficient?
Online degrees are accepted everywhere except the Middle East. As long as you have a Bachelor's degree (as opposed to an Associate's degree), you will have no problems finding work in South America, or elsewhere for that matter.
poparuss wrote:They reference accreditation from the ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs)
and CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education). Would those be taken seriously by potential overseas employers? If not, is there an alternative online university/specific degree/list of accreditation you would recommend?
I'm from the UK so I'm not overly familiar with American accreditation bodies. A quick Google suggests that the course you mentioned would be accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) (https://www.neasc.org/about-us/history). Established in 1885, it is apparently the USA's oldest accrediting association and it currently accredits more than 2,000 schools across six states and sixty countries worldwide, so it looks pretty legitimate to me.

Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Briona