Survey finds that 80% of South Africans with a TEFL certificate secure work within 3 months

Children in a classroom waiting to learn at a school in the Philippines. Picture: Unsplash

Children in a classroom waiting to learn at a school in the Philippines. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 18, 2024


A survey conducted by The TEFL Academy has revealed that 80% of South Africans with a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) qualification secure work in less than 3 months.

According to the managing director at the academy, Rhyan O’Sullivan, for university graduates looking to avoid the frustrations of a drawn-out job hunt, teaching English abroad presents an opportunity to lock down a stable income in a short time-frame with the added benefit that qualified teachers enjoy travelling the world, while they're at it.

“Foreign language English teachers are in high demand all over the globe. As a result, landing a job can be as simple as getting qualified and choosing the country you want to live and work in.

“Especially for graduates who don’t have time to waste, because they need to start earning a living,” said O’Sullivan.

In a country like South Africa with a high youth unemployment rate, many young people are looking to improve career prospects and accelerate their job search.

O’Sullivan believes that additional qualifications may help, especially considering that almost a quarter of South Africans who are unemployed after graduating, will remain so for more than three years and in this time, one can easily gain a new skillset.

“It can take as little as four weeks to complete a TEFL course, a short-term commitment that has the potential to provide long-term opportunities for your career – and your wallet,” he said.

According to the TEFL Academy survey, 40% of respondents revealed that they received more than $2 000 a month (just under R40 000) as hourly rates fall between R190 and R560, exceeding most local entry-level jobs.

“Money-savvy graduates can leverage this to plan towards their financial goals, help out their families, and improve their standard of living,” said O’Sullivan.

He noted that almost 14% of participants found work abroad through recruitment agencies, while 41% secured a position via online jobs boards, like the one hosted by The TEFL Academy.

“Once you’ve signed up for the course, you can start looking for work and exploring opportunities right away – which speeds things up even more. Lots of people think age and lack of experience will affect job prospects.

“But both of these are non-issues, you just need to know where to look for work,” he said.

South African TEFL teachers are employed across more than 25 countries, with schools in South Korea, China, and Vietnam being the most popular.

“For graduates who are feeling discouraged about finding work, a TEFL qualification is a small investment of time with big returns.

“Within just three months of qualifying, you could be spending your weekends relaxing on the beaches of Danang, or exploring the vibrant nightlife of Seoul,” said O’Sullivan.