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Overview

The USA is one of the most vast and diverse countries in the world, with great opportunities for teachers and learners of English alike. The majority of its students come from southern and central America, Korea and Japan, but also attracts students from the rest of the world too.

Most of the private language schools are located on the east and west coast cities with the main ones being: Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Miami, and LA. Saying this there are language schools in other areas of the states, you just need to search them out. Whilst most of these schools will ask for an MA in TESOL or equivalent, in practice this is not needed. Because there is quite a large demand for classes and the private schools are kept out of the state education system, private language schools will often employ a CELTA/TESOL certified teacher. The amount of experience they require, and the pay you receive, will then correspond to the fees they are charging the students.

There is also a significant TEFL presence in the country’s colleges and universities. The environment is largely similar to the private language schools except that they usually insist on teachers having an MA in TESOL or equivalent and a number of years teaching experience.

The TEFL market in the USA in terms of teaching foreign students will fluctuate depending on the strength of the dollar and the corresponding student country’s currency strength.

Salary and hours

As in most countries, a teacher’s salary and hours can vary depending on the institution they are working for. In general, teachers at private language schools will be employed on a part time basis with an hourly wage ranging from $14-$25. Teacher’s working in colleges and universities will command a higher rate of pay, but will often still be employed on a part time basis. Hours will depend on what are available with most teaching between 15 – 35 teaching hours per week. There are a variety of shifts available to teach including early morning, morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend.

Type of teaching

Teachers can be expected to teach a wide variety levels, age-groups, and nationalities. Most classes are, except for the summer camps, geared towards over 18s.

Accommodation

In the USA, accommodation is organized and paid for by the teacher. The only exception to this would be teaching on a summer camp where food and board is usually included.

Start of school year/ best time to look for work

Colleges and universities generally follow the typical academic year of August through May, whilst private schools work on a cycle of either four weeks or 10 weeks throughout the year. The universities and Colleges will, however, put on summer schools and this is usually the busiest time for both types of schools with students attending for the summer.

Red Tape

TESOL opportunities for foreign nationals are few and far between in the USA, unless they hold a work permit or green card. It is marginally easier for Canadians and Mexicans, but US citizens by far outweigh other nationalities in the TESOL field.

The most common way for a foreign national to experience teaching in the USA is through the Exchange Visitor Visa where teaching on a summer camp is reasonably trouble-free to organize.

Miscellaneous advice

Americans are easy going people who are easy to work with. Most within the TEFL world of the USA have experience working in foreign countries and many speak a second language. Work attire will depend on which school you work at, but the general rule is the higher you are getting paid the smarter you should dress.

Useful Websites

TEFL.com
Craigslist
USA Study Guide
Exchange Visitor Visa