Thinking of teaching English to help you visit and explore the United States? Here’s everything you need to know about teaching as a foreign traveler.
From the vast skyscrapers of New York to the sun-kissed beaches of California, and all the amazing places in between, the United States is a paradise for backpackers and other travelers. There’s so much to see and do in the U.S., whether its awe-inspiring landscapes or cities that have it all, most travellers visiting need months of years to do it all.
The demand for English teachers is increasing across the U.S. There are several reasons this is happening, including a demand for English tutors, the ongoing migration of non-English speakers to the country, and people moving to the States specifically to learn English. If you visit this site, you can find the best resources for learning English in the United States.
But what if you are someone from outside the U.S. who wants to teach English in the country? Here’s everything you need to know:
What English Teaching Qualifications are Needed?
To become a teacher in the United States, a college degree is necessary. However, if you want to teach English as a foreigner in the USA, you don’t necessarily need a degree. It really depends on the institution or teaching you want to do.
It’s a similar story with ESL or TFL qualifications, which can be helpful but are not always necessary. English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (TFL) qualified teachers have a good chance of finding teaching roles in the USA.
But again, it is not a requirement. Some institutions or private students may simply want someone who speaks English to a native level. If you do have a degree, you could apply to become a proper English teacher at a school.
Unless you’re lucky enough to land a big contract quickly, the key to success is to build your reputation. This could come through some private lessons or from volunteering. Maybe you can offer to give free English classes at a community project to build up experience and generate word of mouth.
Do I Need a Visa to Teach English in the USA?
It’s common knowledge that you cannot just turn up in the United States and stay there indefinitely. In fact, the country has strict immigration policies in place, and you’ll need a visa to work there. One of the easiest ways to get a visa to teach English in the USA is to find an employer who will organize one for you.
Of course, that’s not always possible so your ability to work in the U.S. will depend entirely on where you are from. That’s the sad state of the world right now, but it’s true residents of some countries will find it easier to enter the USA than others.
How to Find Work and is there High Demand?
There is a lot of demand for English teachers in the USA but be warned that travelers and ESL teachers are aware of the situation. In other words, the market is about to get hot, and you will be competing against many other teachers.
Many schools require English teachers, but you’ll need an ESL certificate or a degree to work in one. If you don’t have those qualifications, you should try heading to a state with a large number of immigrants, such as Washington, New York, Texas, and California. Because there are many foreign language groups, it is easier to find jobs teaching immigrants English.
Work will usually come from private language schools that are set up by local authorities to help immigrants learn the language. Many of these can be full-time and often they don’t ask for certification. Being a native speaker is usually enough, although having an ESL qualification gives you an edge.
You can also go the private route and carve out a career teaching one-on-one of clinics. If you enter a university city or appeal directly to school students, you can build up a list of students. It’s worth noting private teachers can be successful but it takes longer to build that success because you are waiting for your student list to increase.
As for when you should look for work, it depends on what you’re looking to do. You’re more likely to find private students or schoolwork during the school year from early fall to late spring. If you want to teach for a private institution that caters to adults and/or immigrants, you can find work throughout the year.
There’s nothing wrong with advertising, so get your name out there with flyers or social media posts.
What Salary Will I Get Teaching English in the USA?
There are so many factors at play that it’s hard to state a specific salary. For example, how much you earn will depend greatly on where you live. If you’re in a major city, you can earn good money on the surface, but in reality, it’s only enough to get by in a place like New York City or Los Angeles. If you’re in a rural town teaching English, you won’t be able to charge as much but your money will go further.
If you’re working in a university teaching English (full qualifications needed), you can command between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. In elementary or secondary schools with a degree, you can get between $25,000 and $50,000. Private organizations where you may not even need an ESL certificate pay between $10,000 and $20,000 each year.
For those salaries you will be working anywhere from 25 to 40 hours per week, including class preparation and teaching. If you work alone and cater to individual students, how much you earn depends on how many students you have and what you charge per hour.
As an example, if you have 20 students each week (20 hours) and charge $30 per class, that would be $600 a week, or around $28,000 a year. Don’t forget, you would also need to set aside hours for lesson preparation, which would change depending on the student’s level and needs.