When to Apply for Work‏‎ as an English Teacher Abroad

Finding TEFL Jobs

Whilst it is true that in many countries around the world English teaching positions can be found all year round, some months are better than others and whenever possible you should try and apply for a job when the demand is at its highest so to avoid frustration and missed opportunities.

Below is a list of countries‏‎ in alphabetical order with their best hiring season.


In Central America the school year starts in August and although last-minute positions can be found until mid-September the best time is in June/July.

In South America the best hiring season is between February and early March for a school year which starts in March. There is not much point in looking for work during the summer months (December, January, and February) or at Christmas and Easter when schools close for the holidays.

  • In Peru‏‎ the school year goes from March/April until November/December; schools may start looking for teachers as early as September or October but many wait until the beginning of the year (January or February) to start hiring. Many institutes hire all year-round.


  • In China and Hong Kong‏‎ hiring takes place all year round although the busiest season is the summer in preparation for the school year which starts in September. If you are in the country and looking for work then avoid Christmas and also the Spring Festival in February when schools are quiet.
  • In Indonesia‏‎ the best time to apply for work is September or October when the new year begins.
  • In Japan the best hiring season is between March and early April. Many of the international schools run on the western calendar. For the JET Program – there is only one application for the year. The date varies by the country but generally it is towards the end of the year for a start in the following August.
  • In South Korea the hiring season is all year round for private language schools. The school year starts in March, so if you want to work in a public school you should start looking in mid January. Public schools also hire in August right after their summer break.
  • In Taiwan‏‎ the school year is divided into two semesters. The first begins in the beginning of September and ends in February; the second begins in March and ends in August.
  • In Thailand‏‎ the best hiring season is mid-March to mid-May during the school holidays. Following this try in October for work in private schools.


In Europe the best hiring time is usually after the summer. Many of the southern European countries close down during August and it is often difficult to find schools open at this time of year. However be ready in early September for the new school year which starts in October.

Having said this, if you apply from overseas you may want to start contacting employers in late May – early June. The school year ends in mid to late June and schools may well be thinking about hiring at this time.

During the summer some schools run intensive language courses and hire teachers between April and May for these, however there are few jobs here and getting work for just a month or so is difficult unless you are already in the country.

  • In Russia‏‎, unlike much of Europe, schools tend to hire early in June and July for a September start.

Middle East

In the Middle East most hiring takes place in December and January for the following September. MA TESOL holder may want to attend the TESOL Arabia job fair in March. This takes place in Dubai‏‎ and will allow you to sit for interviews for posts that start the following August.

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