While Australia might not be the first place you think of for teaching English abroad, it’s actually becoming one of the top locations in the world for students wishing to learn English, so there are lots of opportunities to work.
At the same time, Australia has a lot to offer, with wonderful cities, breathtaking nature and a great quality of life.
Why teach English in Australia?
With jaw-dropping natural beauty and a laid-back vibe, why wouldn’t you want to live in Australia?
In the big cities like Sydney or Melbourne, you get a buzzing metropolitan vibe combined with an amazing climate, beaches, and national parks. Australia is also famous for its laid-back lifestyle, so you can be sure to get an equal balance of work and fun.
What’s more, the country has an English-speaking majority, making settling in easier. If you want to enjoy all of these perks, teaching English is a good way to do it.
Where can you teach?
Australia has a lot of diversity geographically speaking, and you’ll be able to find both rural and metropolitan opportunities depending on your preferences.
However, the big cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth have the largest number of private language schools and so the most opportunities. Each city has its own positives and negatives, so it’s a good idea to do some research and figure out which appeals most to you.
How much can you earn?
The average salary for an English language teacher is roughly 3000 AUD (around £1500 at the time of writing). However, living costs in Australia’s big cities can be comparable to that of London or even New York.
On average, the cost of living is somewhere around the 2,000-2,500 AUD mark, with accommodation costs taking up a big chunk of that. However, if you’re careful with your money, you’ll be able to save up enough to do some exploring.
Do you need a TEFL qualification?
Usually, you’ll need an accredited certificate with a minimum of 120 hours. However, many opportunities require a 140-hour course with a practical, in-class, element.
If you don’t have a TEFL qualification, there are lots of places to get them, you can even get your TEFL degree in Australia!
Do you need a degree?
This depends on what kind of work you want to do. Most positions usually require a degree in any subject. This is most often the case for the private academies in the big cities, where you’ll need a degree in any field, a TEFL certificate, and some practical experience.
It also helps when you search for any tips to improve your English language. However, if you’re interested in the public sector, you’ll typically need a degree in education.
Do you need a Visa?
There are a lot of benefits to teaching in Australia, but don’t forget you’ll also need a visa. Australia has a well-earned reputation for being a little strict on the visa front, and visas can take a while, so this is something to get started on the way ahead of time. Australia has different visa options based on your nationality, age, and the reason for your trip. If you’re from the United States, Canada, or the UK, then the easiest option is probably a Work Holiday Visa, which lets you work and travel for 1-2 years.
Depending on the job, you could also get a Skilled Independent Migrant Visa. The Australian Visa Bureau can help you figure out the right option for you.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE?
There are two primary forms of English teaching in Australia. Firstly, there are private schools, with roughly 300 colleges in Australia teaching English as a second language. Australia is a hotspot for international students wishing to learn English, often from Asia, Europe, or South America. These colleges, such as International House, provide courses of all levels to help people gain the qualifications they need to study or work in English-speaking countries.
With Australia’s increasing popularity as an English language learning destination, the number of academies and positions is also rising. Jobs in these schools are available year-round and often have a high turnover due to the visa situation. Working for these types of schools, you can expect multicultural classes where students study intensely for a few months/weeks before heading home again.
You can also teach in public schools, where ESL teaching is primarily for children who have recently emigrated. This could be an either primary or secondary school. The Australian government also runs programs such as the Adult Migrant Education Program, which helps teach recent migrants English. If you’re interested in the public sector, schools start in January, so you should apply the previous September.
EXPLORING WHILE YOU WORK
There’s a lot to do and see in Australia. There’s the Gold Coast, featuring beautiful beaches, great surfing, and famous theme parks. Or, if you want proper wilderness, there’s the Kimberly, which has incredible canyons and freshwater swimming holes. Alternatively, if culture or nightlife is more your scene, then the big cities have a lot to offer. Let’s not forget the Great Barrier Reef, either, or the Sydney Opera House!
As we said, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth have the most teaching jobs, each with its own unique opportunities for exploring. Melbourne is actually known as the best city for international students, along with being full of Australian arts, culture, and cuisine. On the other hand, Perth combines soft sandy beaches with a more relaxed vibe, along with extraordinary natural beauty.
Last, but certainly not least, Sydney is world-famous and the biggest and oldest city in Australia. This city really does have everything, including incredible arts and culture, bars, restaurants, and beautiful beaches.