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Breaking Barriers: The Ease of Finding Employment as a Foreign Language Teacher

March 27, 2023 · 6 min read

Teaching a foreign language is a rewarding career choice for many individuals. Not only does it provide the opportunity to share knowledge and culture, but it also allows for personal and professional growth. However, for foreign language teachers, finding employment can be challenging due to language barriers, cultural differences, and visa requirements.

Language Proficiency

One of the most significant barriers for foreign language teachers is language proficiency. Fluency in the language being taught is essential, but it's not always enough. Employers may require additional language proficiency tests, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), to ensure that teachers have the necessary language skills to teach effectively. Language proficiency also plays a role in obtaining a visa, as many countries require teachers to have a minimum level of proficiency to obtain a work permit.


History lesson:

The first foreign language departments in universities were established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first such department was the Romance Languages Department at Harvard University, which was established in 1872.

Cultural Differences

Another barrier is cultural differences. Each country has its own unique culture and customs, and foreign language teachers must adapt to these differences. This includes understanding teaching methods, student expectations, and classroom etiquette. In some countries, it's customary for students to bow to their teachers as a sign of respect, while in others, teachers may be expected to remove their shoes before entering a classroom. Learning about these cultural differences can help foreign language teachers build relationships with their students and improve their teaching effectiveness.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements are another barrier that foreign language teachers must navigate. Each country has its own visa requirements, and obtaining a work visa can be a lengthy and complicated process. In some cases, schools or language centers may sponsor a visa for their foreign language teachers, while in others, teachers may need to apply for a visa independently. It's essential to research visa requirements for the country where you plan to teach and ensure that you have all the necessary documents before applying.

Job Market

Despite these barriers, finding employment as a foreign language teacher is easier than you might think. The demand for foreign language teachers is high in many countries, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Countries like China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia are actively recruiting foreign language teachers, and many offer attractive salary packages, accommodation, and other benefits.

The demand for foreign language teachers varies depending on the language being taught, the location, and the level of education. Some languages, such as Spanish and Mandarin, are in higher demand than others. Additionally, areas with high immigrant populations may have a greater need for bilingual teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of high school teachers, including foreign language teachers, is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.


The outlook for foreign language teachers is generally positive, with opportunities for growth and advancement. Experienced teachers may have opportunities to become department heads, mentors, or curriculum coordinators. Additionally, foreign language teachers who are fluent in more than one language may have an advantage in the job market.

Photo: KamranAydinov/Freepik

Possibilities of Part-Time Job

Part-time opportunities for foreign language teachers may be available through community colleges, adult education programs, and private language schools. Some teachers also work as private tutors or language coaches. Part-time opportunities may offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling, but may not offer the same benefits and job security as full-time positions.

Possibilities of Remote Job

Remote teaching opportunities for foreign language teachers have increased due to advancements in technology and the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools and language programs now offer online language courses, which may be taught by remote teachers. Remote teaching can offer flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection, but may require additional training and technological proficiency.

Online teaching platforms such as VIPKidTeachAway, and iTutorGroup are just a few examples of companies that hire foreign language teachers to teach English to students around the world.


History lesson:

In the 20th century, foreign language teaching became increasingly important as international communication and trade increased. This led to the development of new teaching methods, such as the audio-lingual method and the communicative approach, which emphasized speaking and listening skills.

How to Increase the Chances of Being Hired as a Foreign Language Teacher?

If you are looking to increase your chances of being hired as a foreign language teacher, here are some tips that may help:

1. Get certified: Having a certification in teaching a foreign language can increase your chances of being hired. It shows that you have the necessary training and knowledge to be an effective teacher.

2. Gain experience: Experience teaching a foreign language, either through internships or volunteer work, can make you more attractive to potential employers.

3. Learn the local language: If you are planning to teach in a foreign country, it can be helpful to learn the local language. This will not only help you communicate with your students and their families, but it will also show your dedication to the job.

4. Create a strong resume: Make sure your resume highlights your relevant skills and experience. Tailor it to the specific job you are applying for, and make sure it is free of errors.

5. Network: Attend job fairs and conferences, connect with other language teachers, and join professional organizations in your field. This can help you stay up-to-date on job opportunities and make valuable connections.

6. Be flexible: Be open to teaching in different locations or with different age groups. Being flexible and adaptable can make you more attractive to potential employers.

7. Be passionate: Lastly, show your passion for teaching and the language you are teaching. This can help you stand out from other candidates and make a lasting impression on potential employers.

In conclusion, teaching a foreign language can be a rewarding career choice that provides both personal and professional growth opportunities. However, foreign language teachers may face barriers such as language proficiency, cultural differences, and visa requirements. Despite these challenges, the demand for foreign language teachers is high in many countries, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. With dedication and perseverance, foreign language teachers can build a successful career in the field and make a positive impact on their students' lives.

  • Foreign language teaching can be a rewarding career choice, but there are barriers such as language proficiency, cultural differences, visa requirements, and competition in the job market.
  • However, with the high demand for foreign language teachers, there are also many opportunities for those willing to overcome these obstacles. 
  • To increase the chances of being hired, individuals should consider getting certified, gaining experience, learning the local language, creating a strong resume, networking, being flexible, and showing their passion for teaching.


How much does a foreign language teacher make?

The salary of a foreign language teacher varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and the type of school they work in. On average, a foreign language teacher in the United States can expect to earn between $45,000 and $75,000 per year.

Is it possible to teach a foreign language without being a native speaker?

Yes, it is possible to teach a foreign language without being a native speaker. However, the teacher must be proficient in the language they are teaching and be able to provide instruction in a way that is clear and understandable to students.

What are some professional associations for foreign language teachers?

Some professional associations for foreign language teachers include the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), and the Modern Language Association (MLA).

What level of education is required to become a foreign language teacher?

Most foreign language teachers hold at least a bachelor's degree in education or a related field, along with a teaching certification or licensure in their state.

by Yevheniia Osmakova

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