Career pathways in TESOL: What’s next for me after my CELTA/CertTESOL

So, you’re finally tired of teaching adults general English; one too many present perfect lessons? Well, it might be time to make a change, but to what or where?  As TEFL is a pretty diverse industry there are plenty of opportunities to transition into other roles. With the right qualifications and a little direction there is a bounty of ESL jobs that would suit even the pickiest of teachers. This post will discuss some typical jobs that teachers do when they change career pathways.

What teaching qualifications do I need?

At this point, if you are only CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL qualified, opportunities may be limited as most roles outside teaching require higher level qualifications.  This is one reason why you may want to do the Cambridge DELTA or Trinity DipTESOL in Hong Kong. These qualifications often lead to senior teaching jobs where you have a reduced amount of classroom teaching and are usually responsible for writing materials and delivering training as well as teaching regular classes.  Additionally, you may be asked to line manage a few teachers and help them with their professional development by observing classroom teaching and giving feedback. This is an excellent way to hone in your own teaching skills and subject knowledge.

Couple either of these qualifications with an MA TESOL or applied linguistics and off to university you go. Typically, better working hours and much more rewarding as university students’ motivation is generally high. Working in university goes beyond teaching general English as many lecturers teach English for specific or academic purposes (ESP) or (EAP).  Therefore your former career and undergraduate degree may come very handy, especially for lawyers, nurses, doctors, or accountants.  Often universities favor people who come from one of these backgrounds as they needed teachers who are experienced in these fields.

What other TEFL jobs could I consider?

If management is your career path getting a professional qualification can open doors for becoming a DOS (Director of Studies) or opening your own school.  IH (International House) offers a one-year online course where you learn the ins and outs of management.  A DOS assists teaching center operations, such as timetabling, hiring teachers, and organizing training, whilst supporting senior teachers and teachers.  They are also usually responsible for a budget and teaching expenses and maintaining/ increasing student numbers.

Fancy writing ESL course books? Unleash your inner writer by working with Oxford University Press, Macmillan or another publishing house. Here you may be editing materials or writing them. Also there are jobs available for in house course writers and editors for many language institutes, such as British Council, IH, or online publications. If this is an area of interest, then EFL conferences such as IATEFL are typically attended by many publishers, and these may be good places to start pursuing your interest in materials development.

If writing is not your passion then become a trainer. Teacher development training is a rewarding way to pass on experience and train inexperienced teachers or newbies to TEFL.  You can become a Teacher Trainer for the Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL or the Cambridge DELTA or Trinity DipTESOL. Most centers that run these courses usually run them a few times a year although there are a few places which run them year round, such as English for Asia in Hong Kong.

Lastly, you can always go freelance where you write and sell your courses to language institutions or schools. This is particularly suitable for teachers who have a strong entrepreneurial drive, and enjoy the flexibility of working independently.

As you can see, there are plenty of options outside the classroom. With some experience and qualifications the TEFL world is your oyster. 

Visit our CPD training schedule to see when our next DipTESOL and CertTESOL taster sessions are!

So what’s next for you?

- How long have you been teaching?
- Which of the options above sound interesting to you? Why?
- Do you know anyone who is already working in one of these areas?              

About the Author

Bryan Holmes

Bryan worked as a teacher trainer and course director for the Trinity CertTESOL at English for Asia. His qualifications include the Trinity CertTESOL, MA TESOL and Cambridge DELTA. With over 10 years teaching experience, he has a special interest in phonetics and phonology.

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