Although the TEFL world is year-round, there are certain times of the year that more people are wanted. Each destination has different key hiring seasons, so you need to be aware what they are if you want to go to a specific place. The seasons differ from continent to continent, so once you know the times, you can plan in advance and have all your documents ready for the application process. And do not worry if you couldn’t get accepted to your place of choice. Teachers usually move around a lot, so you can always try again at the next hot spot once you are done with your current assignment. Keep you eyes on the job boards if you want to get in on one of those sudden openings. The list below goes into what the key hiring seasons are for multiple regions, so after reading this you’ll be ready for action.
Asia is the continent with the highest demand for English teachers. As a result, schools and language centers have vacancies throughout the year. There isn’t a seasonal preference, but some countries open their application processes at different times. If you want to TEFL in Asia, you will probably find a lot of jobs open at the time of year you want. But be sure to submit your application far in advance of the term’s beginning. China’s TEFL market doesn’t have a preference, as it is one of the busiest markets in the world. Teachers can apply at any time, but try to apply 2-3 months before you want to start. This is different from South Korea and Japan, as their applications open twice a year. South Korea’s application process falls around three months, so turn yours in before that.
Europe provides multiple opportunities for TEFLers, making it one of the more popular choices to travel to. The terms start around September or October, so you should have your application done and turned in a long time before. The process takes a long time, so if you wait you probably will not get the job. But don’t worry. There is usually a second hiring period in January for the spring term, so you have another shot. There are a lot of opportunities to work in TEFL summer camps around Europe. These usually last 3-6 weeks and you don’t need a degree or teaching experience. This will give you some work experience for when you decide you want to do it full time. For areas like Spain, Germany and France, try submitting your application around June or July. That way you can get hired during the peak hiring seasons.
The Middle East
The Middle East boasts high salaries and some of the best job perks in the world. Because this is a highly popular choice to pick, the hiring process is very selective. You can find job openings throughout the year, but more are often posted during spring and summer. Expect your bosses to want to know your qualifications and if you are certified. It is better to have your application submitted as soon as possible for a better chance of being hired. You can usually apply online, but some high-profile positions will want an interview with a recruiter.
South and Central America
South and Central America both have low living costs and many job opportunities. There’s a big possibility that you can get a job there, but know that employers here like to interview candidates in person. That means you’ll have to travel there early and perform interviews before you can get the job. It is best to apply in Central American in January, June and December, while South America likes to do their recruiting through February, March and April after their summer breaks. There’s also a second recruitment time in July and August, so you have a lot of time to apply.