Careers in English FAQs

A collection of frequently asked questions from candidates applying for British Council English language teaching vacancies.

Where can I teach with the British Council?

Visit our global network page to see our teaching centre locations.

Do you have TEFL jobs in the UK?

We only employ EFL teachers outside the UK. We do however accredit English language schools in the UK. If you’re looking to work in the UK, British Council accredited language schools are a good place to look. 

Do all teaching centre jobs get advertised externally?

Not all vacancies are advertised to people outside the organisation. The most popular jobs are generally filled by teachers already working for the British Council, so we usually don’t need to look any further. Once you are working for the British Council you have access to these vacancies.

How much do you pay?

Most of the salaries are determined by the individual centres and are on a 10 point scale. Your place on the scale depends on your qualifications and experience.  If you calculate what the equivalent salary would be in £ sterling and it looks less than you thought, remember to take into account the local cost of living and any other bonuses that may be on offer.  In some countries, e.g. Saudi Arabia, you live in free or subsidised accommodation.

A few of our teaching centres don’t use a 10-point scale, but pay a flat rate according to your qualifications, not your experience. With this arrangement you don’t automatically step up the scale year after year.

How long are your contracts?

The vast majority of our contracts are 24 months long, some are 12 months and we occasionally advertise short contracts, especially over the summer.

Can I choose where I go or do you just send me somewhere?

You can choose to apply to any centre that has a vacancy.

Can I apply for more than one vacancy?

Yes, but we do ask that if you are offered and accept a position with us in one centre, you withdraw your application for any other British Council teaching posts that are still in progress.

I don’t have a TEFL qualification but have lots of experience teaching English/ MFL. Can I apply for a role?

Teachers with classroom experience are very useful to us. More and more of our students are school-age children coming for English lessons with us, and a lot of our teacher training involves working in state schools with local EFL teachers. But hardly any of our jobs are for teachers who exclusively teach Young Learners. We need TEFL specialists who can teach adults at all levels as well as children, and who are familiar with the course books and common TEFL exams such as FCE, CAE and IELTS. Unless you have a PGCE (or similar) in TEFL, you will need to do a CELTA / Cert TESOL to qualify for most of our vacancies.

In Hong Kong we employ teachers who only teach Young Learners or Very Young Learners. For these posts we consider teachers with a PGCE in primary or a PGCE in MFL, and we don’t insist on a TEFL qualification. You would however need experience of teaching EFL to children.

Does teaching experience prior to my certificate count towards the minimum two years teaching experience?

Each job advert will state the minimum requirements for the job and virtually all of them ask for two years post certificate experience.  In some cases managers will interview candidates who fall short of the minimum two years’ experience.

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree?

An undergraduate degree isn't always an essential requirement.  If an undergraduate degree is an essential requirement, it will be listed as such in the role profile on our jobs website.


My first language is not English. Will you employ me?

It doesn’t matter what your native language is as long as your use of the English language is good enough.

Do I have to be under/over a certain age?

The British Council doesn't have any age restrictions for our teachers, but we do sometimes have restrictions imposed on us by the countries that we work in. We sometimes can't get work visas issued for people over (or under) a certain age. If this is the case it will be clearly stated in the "local restrictions on employment" section of the vacancy information sheet that you download from our website.

Do I have to be British?

No, although there are some countries where we can only get the necessary visas or work permits for teachers with a UK passport. This is imposed by the host country, rather than the British Council. The vacancy documents state whether a UK passport is required. We employ people of many different nationalities as English teachers as long as their use of English is good enough.

Do I need to speak the local language?

For most roles you do not need to speak the local language. There are a few exceptions in some Western European countries (France, Italy, Spain) where you will need to speak to our young learners’ parents in their native language.  In some countries we offer language training (especially Arabic) but you aren’t obliged to take it and you are not assessed.

What happens if I get there and I really don’t like it?

We understand that it can take time to settle into a new place and the local team are on hand to support you with any problems that you might have.  If you decide you want to leave, the terms of your contract ask you to give three months’ notice.  You may need to repay any additional allowances that you have received.