Published 24th October 2018
If you’re considering making a life change and doing a TEFL course (as you should!), you probably realise what a big commitment this can be. After all, you’re thinking of packing your life up and setting off on an adventure across the globe! To take such a big step requires careful thought and consideration. After all, many people give up their jobs in order to become a TEFL teacher. Something that you need to be aware of is when is the best time to apply for TEFL jobs. After all, you don’t want to be sitting around waiting for your job to start if you’ve already quit your last one!
So, when is the best time to apply for TEFL jobs? It depends on two things: where you want to teach and, well, where you want to teach. In other words, the country and the institution.
The best time to apply for TEFL jobs according to destination
Different countries have different academic years. In some countries, for example, the school year starts in January. In others it starts in August. The beginning of the academic year will affect when the school looks at hiring new teachers. Schools prefer to hire teachers for the beginning of the year and to commit to at least a year, sometimes two. This is so that the school year is not disrupted mid-semester by the change of a teacher. Having the same teacher throughout the year benefits both the teacher and the students.
This does not mean that schools will hire teachers in the month before the new academic year. Rather, they will begin recruiting and hiring a few months before. This is usually for visa reasons and because of the fact that TEFL teachers usually need to relocate to the city of the school. Schools like to give their teachers a fair amount of notice to sort out their lives at home and get to know their new surroundings before they begin the school year.
Bearing all that in mind, here are the hiring periods for the most popular TEFL destinations:
- Europe – May, June
- The Middle East – April, May
- South America – February, March
- Asia – March, April, May
- Japan – January, February, March but December for the JET programme
The best time to apply for TEFL jobs according to institution
The other factor to consider is what kind of institution you are planning to teach in. The dates above correspond to the hiring periods of public schools. Private schools, colleges and universities may have different hiring periods depending on their academic calendars. Language schools typically hire year-round as they accept students on a weekly basis and there are no set terms as such. Finally, if you are thinking of joining a summer camp then you should look at applying a couple of months before the start date.