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How long are tefl contracts

Congrats on making the decision to teach English abroad!

The time you spend living in another country and immersed in a whole new culture will be an eye-opening and life-changing experience. Right now, you might be feeling just a liiittle (OK, maybe a lot ) overwhelmed with all the decisions you’ll have to make before you can finally make the move abroad. Where should I teach abroad? What TEFL course should I get?

Slow down for just a second! One of the most important questions you need to figure out first is, “How long do I want to teach abroad for?”

While there are a variety of teaching programs and hiring schools with different contract lengths (yes, you can totally find a one-month-long TEFL job if that’s what you’re after!) English teaching positions overseas typically fall into two distinct categories: summer or short-term teaching contracts, usually ranging from 2 – 6 months and year-long (or longer) English teaching opportunities.

When making your final decision, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider – major requirements, your personal finances and personal goals and how much time you’re thinking of being away from home, to name only a few.

That’s actually one of the best things about teaching English abroad, though – the versatility it offers when it comes to types of employers, students, regions to work in, as well as the flexibility in terms of teaching contracts durations

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Read this: Contracts 101: 9 key things that should be in your teach abroad contract

How long can I teach English abroad?

how long can you teach english abroad

How long is a piece of string?

You can teach abroad as long as you want to, for the most part (just beware of any age or visa restrictions that might scupper your plans).

You can keep moving from country to country, or settle in one place for the forseeable future. As long as there’s work (and with literally hundreds of thousands of ESL jobs opening up each year, there’s little fear of work drying up anytime soon) and you’re willing to teach anyone, from kids to adults, you’ll have a job waiting for you.

a) One-year teaching contracts abroad

If you’re thinking of making teaching abroad a long-term move, then a year-long contract might be your jam. And luckily for you, this is by far the most common contract length you’ll find when you’re on the lookout for teaching jobs abroad.

b) Short-term teaching contracts abroad

If you’re in more of a dipping-your-toes-in-the-teach-abroad-waters frame of mind, then seeking out a shorter ESL teaching contract might be the best way forward.

Short-term teaching jobs abroad are especially handy for aspiring globetrotters or for people who get bored of a working situation quickly. You can always finish up your short teaching contract and teach English online on the side while you’re contemplating your next move.

Just remember that hiring schools don’t usually want to keep churning through teachers and prefer to recruit people who want to stay for the full year, rather than those of us who have one foot out the door a couple of months in .

And they’re willing to stump up for extra perks, like end-of-contract bonuses, to keep you around for the full year.

Discover where teaching can take you

How long are TEFL contracts abroad?

Rather than skim reading a whole blog post for the pertinent info you landed here from Google to find , we’ve laid out what you need to know in the table below:





Language school teaching contracts:


10 months – 1 year (September – June)


Note: 2-month summer camp contracts available


Government teaching program contracts (e.g. TAPIF in France and Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain):


7 – 9 months


International schools contracts


1 year, with the option to renew


Language school teaching contracts:


1 year, with the option to renew


Note: 2-month summer camp contracts available


Government teaching program contracts (e.g. the JET Program in Japan and EPIK in South Korea):


1 year, with the option to renew


International school contracts:


1 year, with the option to renew

Government teaching program (e.g. ADEK):


2 – 3 years, with the option to renew


International schools:


1 – 2 years, with the option to renew (you may incur financial penalties for breaking your contract)  

Language school teaching contracts:


10 months – 1 year (September – June)


International school contracts:


1 year, with the option to renew

Note: Contracts in Asia and the Middle East often include return flights, housing either rented for you or heavily subsidized and some form of local health insurance. These kinds of perks are less common in Europe and Latin America.

In the Middle East, these packages are usually reserved for experienced, certified teachers. College grads with a TEFL are in high demand for English teaching jobs in Asia, though., making it a great spot for teacher newbies who still want to make bank.

Now, get out there and teach abroad! ✈️ ❤️

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