What do I need to Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in Asia?
What are the Job and Working Requirements for Foreigners in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia?
This is what I found out when I was laid off from work in Telecommunications in the US. My job had allowed me to travel to parts of Asia which included Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia and experience the culture and lifestyle while working there. So I considered teaching overseas for a better quality of life. Since I am a native English speaker the answer seemed obvious. Teach English.
Searching for TEFL and TESOL programs online raised many, many red flags. All it seemed was that this overwhelming information was a ploy to help me part ways from my hard earned money. I was read conflicting things from different places. Like you need a degree, yet somewhere else it would say you don’t need a degree. What did I really need?
While my wife and I were traveling in Cambodia, we visited with a principle at a University in Phnom Penh. He had worked as an English teacher in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia for over 33 years. He gave me good guidance as to what would be required to teach English in Asia and to be totally legitimate with those countries foreigner worker regulation.
What I needed was:
1) TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language or TESOL - Teaching to English to Speakers of Other Languages
He said that I needed either a 120 hours TEFL, TESOL or CELTA Certification
University of Cambridge's CELTA and Trinity College London's CertTESOL. These two courses both have 120+ hours with 6+ hours supervised teaching.
He said that online TEFL or TESOL certificates weren’t considered as real training. They work out cheaper but you get what you pay for in the long run.
2) Clean Police Record Check
To teach you need to provide documentation of a clean police record from where you live. This can be obtained from your local police station within your country. It’s best to get the process started as soon as possible because it can take a few months.
3) University Degree
You need to also provide original documentation of a university degree and transcripts. As an aside for American's. In some parts of the world there are High Schools that are known as Colleges. You need to be careful to not be disqualified for this reason.
When you have all of your documentation in order you will be able to find work teaching English as a Second Language.
I received my TESOL certification because that is what the principle had done. I also took the course here in Vietnam. There are many courses all over the world. I could have taken it in Houston Texas, USA, but it was more expensive and the living expenses for one month was much higher than staying with my brother-in-law in Ho Chi Minh City.
Now all you have to do is to be able to find, separate and qualify the good and bad teaching jobs when you are in your search. Once you understand how to search for these positions and understand the pay scales, you can search for decent positions.
By Edward Hui