TEFL Teaching Jobs In Your Home Country

Some of the best TEFL teaching jobs that often go overlooked are located in your home country. That may come as quite a surprise if you’ve been under the impression you have to move abroad the country X or city Y to really make good money. However, with the demographics of Western countries constantly in flux, the demand for TEFL certified teachers is consistently growing. The surprising part of this is that many of these teaching jobs actually pay better than jobs in other parts of the world including Asia and the Middle East. If you have the right qualifications and want to get into TEFL teaching it may be worth looking in your home country before you think about uprooting your life to move abroad.

Why would I want to stay in my home country?

Some people may scoff at the idea of teaching ESL in their home country. For many, half the excitement of a TEFL teaching job is getting to move abroad and experience life in a new country. However, there may be many reasons you would consider teaching English in your home country instead.

At the top of this list is the fact that there is going to be a greater level of security staying in your home country. Not security in the sense of personal safety but in terms of your job and your ability to account for worst case scenarios.

What if you lose your job for whatever reason? In a foreign country, you would be in a tight position. Especially because you are relying on your work visa to stay there assuming you are not working illegally. If you can’t find another company to work for quickly you may be forced to leave the country which could be an expensive proposition.

If you are in your home country and lose your job this won’t be a concern. You are legally allowed to work in any position that you are qualified for in your home country. So, should you be unable to immediately find another TEFL teaching job then you can find another line of employment to hold you over. In a foreign country, you can only work teaching English. So, if you can’t find another teaching job to replace the one you lost you are out of luck.

There is also the fact that in your home country you know what the law is and you are protected through your contract. This isn’t always the case in a foreign country. If you are employed in China, for example, and your employer decides they don’t want to pay you the benefits you were promised then there is nothing you can do about it.

In many countries throughout the world, a contract is simply something to get you in the door. After that, it is worth less than the paper it is written on. In the United States or Great Britain, however, there is a functional judicial system and a very clear procedure for handling contractual disputes. There is also well-established labor law that is quite well enforced.

One last reason that you might think about teaching English in your home country is that you are already set up where you are currently living. This means that you aren’t going to have to uproot your life and adjust to life in a new country. You may have to move to a new city or state but your life won’t change too drastically from that.

Moving to a new country is tough. Don’t let the romanticization of it fool you. You have to meet new people, learn a new language (at least enough of it to get around), make sure you are always complying with immigration law, and learn enough of the local culture to make sure you aren’t violation any social norms.

For some people, this is going to be a fun learning experience. To others, however, this is going to be a nightmare. If you think you are going to be in the latter camp but still want to teach ESL then think local. There is plenty of demand throughout the Western world for TEFL teachers so don’t think you have to move abroad to find a good teaching job.

What TEFL teaching jobs are available in my home country?

You may be quite surprised at just how many teaching jobs are open in your home country. Not only at the quantity but at the variety. There are plenty of opportunities for teachers outside of just the traditional school jobs.

For example, in the United States, there are plenty of prison systems that hire ESL teachers to work with non-violent inmates who are non-native speakers. These programs are designed to help them prepare for reintegrating into society and often accompany other college or vocational courses. One such part-time job which I found on a job site paid in the range of $50 – $60 per hour depending on experience. There are many like this that pay at this level.

If the idea of being surrounded by prisoners isn’t your thing then you can look into after-school programs. In many parts of the United States, and probably Great Britain and Canada, there are an abundance of after-school programs catering to non-native speakers. These programs are in desperate need of well qualified TEFL teachers in order to work with students. Pay at many of these types of after-school programs is $30 – $40 per hour and even more sometimes.

If you are looking to go the more traditional teaching route then there are an abundance of positions available in public school systems around the United States. In almost every part of America, there are non-native speaking populations that have immigrated and are attending the local school districts. Some hotspot states for TEFL teaching jobs include New York, Texas, California, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, and many other states.

This is just for the United States. Canada and Great Britain have also seen a steady rise in immigration over the past few decades and with this has come an increased demand for qualified TEFL teachers. There are quite literally thousands of jobs open to teachers who are willing to take them. Many of these jobs come with generous pay and benefits.

What are some things to consider?

As I stated above, many of these jobs pay extremely well when compared to similar positions in popular teaching destinations such as China and South Korea. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make more money. Let’s look into that further using a recent job posting on indeed to highlight this point.

A recent listing on the jobs site indeed showed an ESL instructor position in Los Angeles that paid $60.43 per hour for part-time work. Specific hours were not given so I am going to make the assumption that part-time in this case is probably around 20-25 hours or a little more each week. This totals to around $62,847 – $78,559 each year.

That’s a very handsome salary for an ESL job anywhere in the world. In fact, when compared to other high paying countries for TEFL teaching jobs that is one of the best. This also isn’t just a one-off type job. A quick search will find other jobs around the United States with similar pay. However, all that glitters is not gold.

You will most likely receive benefits such as paid vacation, overtime, insurance, and retirement benefits at a job such as the above described. However, there are other benefits which many teaching positions abroad offer that you won’t get in your home country such as paid accommodations and free schooling for your children if you have any. With that in mind let us look at that salary after taxes and expenses have been factored in.

I’m going to be liberal with the numbers and assume that you are getting the full $78,000 each year. The state tax rate for California is around 13% and the federal income tax rate for an individual at that salary is around 22%. Add to that the average cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles which is around $2,000 each month and it looks something like this:


After state income tax = $68,347

After federal income tax = $51,065

After rent (assuming average price of $2,068) = $26,249

This is before you’ve even paid for utilities and food. At the end of the year, you are going to be left with very little money to put in the bank.

Now, this is an extreme example as California is one of the most expensive states to live in the United States, making it also one of the most expensive places to live in the world. However, this is something to think about as the United States, as well as Canada, Great Britain, and other Western countries, are going to generally have a higher cost of living than most other countries popular with ESL teachers.

If your goal is to make and save money or to pay off debt then moving abroad to teach in a country with a lower cost of living and where job benefits include accommodations may still be a better option. However, should your goal be to find a well-paying job in your home country then realize that there are plenty to be found.

What are some final thoughts?

Even though many people are going to want to move abroad for TEFL teaching jobs, it is worth looking into jobs in your home country. As shown above, many of these jobs offer very generous pay and benefits to teachers with the right qualifications. This is on top of the fact that you are already in a place you know so you aren’t making any dramatic changes to your life. If you are thinking of getting into TEFL teaching or if you are already a TEFL teacher abroad but are thinking of moving back to your home country, it is worth realizing that the demand for qualified and experienced teachers has never been greater. There are an abundance of openings with great pay and benefits that are going unfilled. One of these positions may be the perfect opportunity for you.