How to become a nomad with TEFL

So, you’re wondering how to become a nomad with TEFL? Joining the ever-growing cohort of remote workers is a dream for many a professional in this day and age. It’s a career direction that promises endless travel to places you’ve been daydreaming about – beach-fringed Thailand, snow-capped Nepal, surf-washed Portugal. But it’s also booming right now, in a world with all-new digital working modes that’s only recently been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teaching English online has emerged as one of the most popular, accessible, and fulfilling ways to go nomad in recent years. The sector has gone from strength to strength, and had a particular boost during the coronavirus months, when lots of schools in major teaching destinations like China and Thailand were forced to close to students. This guide has a few pointers on how you can become a nomad with TEFL, starting with what qualifications you’ll need to get applying…

Get the right qualifications

Traditionally, online English teaching was one of the more demanding areas of the TEFL world to get a foot in the door. Most of the more established web schools asked – and still ask – for at least a BA degree and native speaking. That pretty much limited the field to applicants from Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand. But, as the sector grows and there’s higher demand for new teachers, things are changing. A lot of schools will now consider hiring native-level non-natives, so long as they have a good 120-hour TEFL course under their belt. A completed university degree is still preferred, too, and it’s now common for applicants to do a trial lesson to prove their abilities.

Ger the right gear

Just as you wouldn’t waltz into a real classroom without professional-looking clothes and a pen at hand, you wouldn’t try to get started teaching online without all the right gear. Prospective employers put a lot of emphasis on the consistency and quality of their teaching, so it’s only fair that the insist on certain specs from the outset. Common requirements include a computer with at least 4GB of RAM, a HD webcam, a high-quality headset (very important), and a processer that’s i5 or equivalent and above. It’s not worth trying to dodge these, as some schools will run diagnostic tests to check everything’s working as it should.

Make sure you have a strong internet connection

If you’re wondering how to become a nomad with TEFL, you probably need to dispense of those dreamy, Instagram-fuelled visions of working from a hammock on a Balinese beach. Why? Well…Balinese beaches don’t tend to have the best internet connections – we’re not sure if you’ve noticed. The reality is that online teachers need a good, reliable web link. Most will ensure this is on offer in their next destination by asking Airbnb hosts or hotel managers for a screenshot of a speed test. After all: No internet equals no pay!

Create a targeted CV

It’s really important that you don’t just throw online TEFL schools a carbon copy of your in-person English CV or resume. The reason? Remote work requires a whole different skillset to traditional location working. Schools that hire 100% location-independent professionals will not only want to make sure you have the technical know-how to tutor English grammar and vocabulary, but also the organizational abilities to manage your own schedules, timetables, and workloads. Be sure to rejig your outreach and cover letter so it proves that you can do all that before applying!

Choose your destinations wisely

So, you’ve bagged your first remote teaching job. Now all you have to do is get working and get traveling. Any veteran who knows how to become a nomad with TEFL will tell you that the place you go is of prime importance. Yes, you might have been dreaming of Patagonia’s glacier fields and the soaring Andes, but that part of the world simply doesn’t have good enough internet to keep you teaching. You may want to laze on Thai beaches for the next six months, but do visa restrictions allow that? These are all questions and hurdles you’ll need to overcome as a new nomad in this sector.


If you think there’s anything to add to this guide on how to become a nomad with TEFL, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below – especially if you’ve done it yourself! Alternatively, if you’re ready to get that TEFL course done and dusted, be sure to check out our 120-hour professional package, which is what most online schools will ask for.

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