Bridge Job Advisor Kevin’s Best Tips for Your 2021 Job Search

By Kevin Mermel
January 6, 2021

We sat down with Bridge Job Advisor, Kevin Mermel, to find out how English teachers can find a job this year. An expert in providing advice to English teachers looking for placements around the globe and online, Kevin also connects Bridge grads with potential employers, reviews TEFL/TESOL resumes, and helps prepare teachers for job interviews. Below, he answers common questions from job seekers and shares his top tips for finding an English teaching job in 2021!

Kevin, will it be possible to teach abroad in 2021?

Yes! Simply put, each individual country will have its own processes regarding whether foreign nationals are able to enter the country and earn a work visa. If there are any specific countries where you’re interested in teaching, it can be useful to visit their embassy’s website to see up-to-date information on travel.

English Teacher in Thailand

Teacher Sarah in Thailand


Where can I teach abroad this year?

At the moment, most of the available teach abroad opportunities are in East Asia. For example, Bridge partner schools like APAX English in Vietnam, BFITS in Thailand, and EF English First in China are all currently hiring teachers.

There are some opportunities in other countries as well. For instance, the Central European Teaching Program (CETP) in Hungary is up and running this year, despite COVID-19. Foreign nationals are able to enter these countries for teaching positions as long as they follow specific protocols set by the government (like a two-week mandatory quarantine upon entry, for example).

Of course, there will always be high demand for qualified English teachers, so we expect more countries and positions to become available through 2021 as vaccines are distributed and the COVID-19 situation hopefully improves.

What should I do now to prepare to teach abroad in 2021?

It’s never too early to start planning to teach abroad by building your credentials and making yourself a stronger applicant. If you already have a TEFL/TESOL certificate, you might consider looking into Bridge Specialized Certificates and Micro-credentials for continued professional development. It can also be helpful to prepare all of the documents you’ll need to teach abroad once the time is right. Make sure you have an up-to-date passport, copies of any past educational documents (like a university degree), and a strong resume.

See our TEFL/TESOL resume tips here!

online English teacher

Test prep tutor teaching English online from home


Are there opportunities now to teach English online?

Yes, there’s a high demand for qualified online teachers at the moment. Online English tutoring companies are a good starting point for new teachers, as they often provide a structured work environment, including:

  • Training on how to use the company’s teaching platform
  • Students to teach
  • A set curriculum and lesson plans
  • The hours to be online
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Performance-based bonuses and incentive programs

Check out this overview of online TEFL/TESOL schools that are currently hiring.

What kind of TEFL/TESOL certification should I earn to qualify for English teaching jobs?

General certification


As a general rule, many positions around the globe will require applicants to have a comprehensive, Professional TEFL/TESOL certification of 120 hours or more. As a result, there are two programs we typically recommend to qualify for jobs:

  • 150-hour IDELTOnline™: This is our most advanced and rigorous TEFL/TESOL credential. In this graduate-level training, you’ll join a group of trainees who work through the program together, week-by-week, led by a master’s level instructor. This course has the option of being taken for college credit or as a pathway to graduate study at one of Bridge’s partner universities worldwide.
  • 120-hour Master Certificate: This popular TEFL/TESOL course is a good option for those interested in a more flexible learning experience since it’s a self-study training that can be completed at your own pace. It also offers the option of earning college credit.

Not sure which of these Professional Certificates is right for you? Check out this breakdown of the IDELTOnline™ vs. the Master Certificate.

Specialized certification


We also offer a number of Specialized Certificate programs for teachers looking to focus their knowledge on one topic or another. We always recommend beginning with either the 150-hour IDELTOnline or the 120-hour Master Certificate, but the specialized courses are a great way to enhance your skills and to help your resume stand out.

For example, we offer a Specialized Certificate in Teaching English Online, which is a very popular option. This program covers topics like the tools and technologies needed to teach online, virtual lesson planning strategies, and troubleshooting techniques.

Another option is our 240-Hour Master + Teaching English Online Certificate course bundle, which prepares you to teach English online and worldwide. It includes the 120-Hour Master Certificate as well as the Specialized Certificate in Teaching English Online, and through the end of January, it’s offered at half the price of taking both of these courses individually!

English teacher in Greece

Teacher Sophia works with a student in Greece


What if I have no degree or experience? Can I still get a job teaching English?

While it’s certainly helpful to have a degree or experience to get a job teaching English, it’s not a requirement. There are opportunities to teach online without a degree and to teach abroad without a degree.

Of course, for either type of job, if you lack a degree, it’s always best to make yourself as strong an applicant as possible. Some good ways to earn TEFL/TESOL experience include volunteer teaching or completing a practicum like our 20-Hour Guided Teaching Practicum or our 60-Hour Practicum in Teaching English Online. And if you’re trying to land a job teaching abroad, consider gaining some experience teaching online first.

I’m not finding any jobs teaching English. What should I do?

Be patient! You’re not the only one struggling during the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. All sectors have been hard-hit by the limitations of the crisis, and certainly the teach-abroad market is particularly affected, as countries deal with school closures and travel restrictions.

The market for online English teachers, on the other hand, has grown stronger, but it has also become more competitive, so if you’re job seeking in this field and not having luck, look for ways to set yourself apart as an applicant. This can mean everything from earning the highest possible credentials to making sure you have a stand-out resume for teaching online.

And if you need a break from applying to jobs or are looking for something a bit more flexible, be proactive and start teaching English as a freelancer instead! Also, consider these techniques for avoiding job search fatigue.

Wondering where you can teach this year? Check out the 10 best places to teach English abroad in 2021!