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Teaching English Abroad

The Mission of the Teaching English Abroad program is to train and equip domestic teacher-trainees with essential teaching skills and cultural awareness to be able to successfully teach English abroad.

Live and work around the world!

The Specialized Studies Program in Teaching English Abroad (TEA) is a program designed to provide those with little or no teaching experience the practical teaching skills and confidence to transition into a new international adventure with ease.

For over 30 years, UCI Division of Continuing Education has prepared thousands of individuals to pursue careers as English as a Foreign Language teachers. Our expertise extends into developing teacher training programs delivered both at UC Irvine and abroad for the Ministries of Education in Japan, South Korea, France, and Chile to name a few.

Be a part of the demand for qualified English teachers around the world, open doors to diverse professional career opportunities, and expand your world view while living abroad!

Who Should Enroll

This program is designed for those interested in living in another culture before starting a new career, looking for a change of pace, or looking to obtain valuable skills to supplement their income through teaching English. No teaching experience is required.

Career Insight

Occupational summary for Postsecondary Teachers in the U.S. Source: Lightcast™ 2022

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Salary for Highly Experienced Professionals
(Median Salary $80k)

Program Benefits

  • 4-Week Program – 60 hours of specialized training
  • Learn from highly qualified teacher-trainers who have lived and taught abroad
  • Benefit from a world-class curriculum
  • Observe ESL teachers in action
  • Interact with international students
  • Create a personalized teaching portfolio to demonstrate mastery of program content
  • Obtain a University of California specialized studies certificate that is recognized worldwide

Program Goals

  • Become familiar with best practices in teaching various language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar)
  • Learn how to create and implement lesson plans
  • Learn how to design effective assessments
  • Practice delivering lessons and gain valuable feedback
  • Become comfortable using technology to enhance your teaching


  • Essentials of Teaching Speaking and Listening
    Deliver effective speaking and listening lessons while utilizing online and print resources to supplement instruction.
  • Essentials of Teaching Reading and Writing
    Create and deliver effective lessons that incorporate reading and writing components. Learn to create effective reading and writing assessments.
  • Essentials of Teaching Phonics and Pronunciation
    Learn to deliver effective pronunciation lessons that include phonics components in order to increase student comprehensibility.
  • Essentials of Teaching Grammar
    Recognize and be able to teach the unique features of English grammar and dispel the most common myths and mistakes in teaching grammar.
  • Essentials of Teaching English Practice
    Plan and implement student-centered learning activities. Prepare and teach micro-lessons and receive direct feedback from peers and the instructor.
  • Essentials of Teaching English Workshop
    Learn how to create and implement lessons plans, manage a classroom, teach young learners, and explore the benefits of teaching English as a career.

Student Teaching Experience (optional)

Get the opportunity to work as a teacher in a real-world setting, take on workplace projects, learn new skills and concepts, and make professional contacts!

Internships are unpaid positions lasting either two or four weeks. Students are eligible after the successful completion of the TEA Specialized Studies Program. TEA Interns are paired with a Master Teacher in our 2- or 4-Week ESL programs and also participate in weekly internship debriefings with an internship instructor.

Program Details

  • 4 weeks, Monday-Friday, expect to attend approximately 15 class hours per week
  • UC Irvine Campus

Upcoming Program Dates

Quarter Start Date End Date
Summer 2023 July 10 August 4

Please check back for subsequent quarterly dates.


Item Cost
Specialized Studies Program Fee (includes $35 application & candidacy fee) $2,900
Student Teaching Experience/Internship Fee (Optional) $600 (2-week)
$1,100 (4-week)

In this cohort program, you will begin classes with a group of people and move together through your schedule of classes to graduation. This provides an enhanced opportunity for personal growth and professional development as you get to know a few colleagues – colleagues that you can rely upon while you're in the program as well as call upon after graduation.

Entrance Requirements

  • Completed application
  • No teaching experience required
  • Minimum 71 iBT TOEFL, 530 PBT TOEFL, 685 TOEIC, 6.0 IELTS, or other evidence of English proficiency (non-native speakers of English)

Specialized Studies Requirements

A specialized studies digital certificate is awarded upon successful completion of six courses.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

  • Cancellations must be requested in writing to
  • Prior to the program start date: 100% of refundable fees minus a $25 administrative fee
  • Prior to the end of the 2nd day of program: 50% of refundable fees
  • No refunds after the 2nd day of program
  • No refunds will be given if a student is dismissed

How to Enroll

We are accepting applications for enrollment now.

  • Click here to fill out an application.
  • Upon submission of your application, you will receive an email with further instructions to complete your registration.

Start Your International Experience Here

  • Gain valuable skills to supplement income through teaching English
  • Observe and gain insight from our highly trained English language teachers in ESL classroom settings
  • Interact with international ESL students
Wesley Christenson “To adequately equip myself to help others understand my language, while learning about their culture, I turned to UCI Division of Continuing Education's TEFL Certificate Program. In a summer-long intensive training program, learned veterans of the TEFL and TESL community shared their knowledge and experiences with me and gave me the skills and confidence I needed to secure the job I have now and succeed up to this point in my teaching career. I am working for an English conversation school in Japan, am two months into my second contract here, and in the initial selection phase of stepping up in the company in order to became a traveling emergency teacher. I thoroughly enjoy my work, love the life I have established here in Japan, and will always be ever grateful to the staff and experts in this program.” Wesley Christenson
Program Graduate (Teaching in Japan)


  • I speak English perfectly well. Why do I need a certificate to get a job?
  • In the past, especially in countries that were cut off from a supply of native speakers of English, any American could simply ask for a job teaching English and be given one. Today, school administrators are more particular about the qualifications of the individuals they hire. Being a native speaker of English does not automatically confer the ability to teach the language. A TEFL Certificate shows prospective employers that you possess the professional tools to teach English successfully. Not only will you be a more attractive candidate to employers, but your skills, knowledge and teaching experience will make you more comfortable, confident and effective as a teacher.
  • I'm confused by all these terms: ESL, EFL, TEFL, TESL, and TESOL. What do they mean? How are they different?
  • All of these terms refer to teaching English to individuals who are not native speakers of the language. ESL stands for English as a Second Language, and TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. EFL refers to English as a Foreign Language, and TEFL, as you would expect, to Teaching EFL. In general, ESL is used to refer to teaching English in an English-speaking country, and EFL to teaching English in a country whose official language is not English. TESOL, which stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, is becoming more commonly used because it encompasses both TEFL and TESL. Most EFL/ESL training programs now use the standard label of "TEFL Certificate Program" for their teacher training courses.
  • Do I need to know the language of my students?
  • No. Most schools today do not encourage the use of students' native languages in class, even when the students are beginners. Further, in many settings students in the same class may have a variety of native languages.
  • Do I need a college degree?
  • We do not require participants in our program to have a college degree. Having one may be helpful, however, in securing a job. Some schools require candidates to have a degree, and some countries, such as Japan, will not issue a work visa to individuals who are not college graduates. Still, there are many opportunities for teachers with TEFL certificates but no college degree, both in the U.S. and overseas.
  • Will I receive assistance in my job search?
  • A special teaching abroad course is part of our TEFL Certificate Program. Topics include finding employment, interviewing techniques, resume writing, evaluating a contract, and other skills that will start you off in the right direction. We have extensive resources to help you locate available jobs, and offer appointments with job coordinator to assistant you with your search.
  • What kinds of jobs can I get?
  • TEFL program graduates find jobs in grade schools, high schools, universities, adult education centers, private language schools and social service organizations. Some people even free-lance, teaching business people in their offices, or meeting for one-on-one conversation classes. The kind of job you get depends partly on the kind you want, the city or country where you would like to work, your previous experience and your performance at job interviews. Keep in mind that as you gain teaching experience, you will have a wider range of opportunities from which to choose, and a better sense of which assignments suit your skills and interests.
  • Where can I get a job?
  • English teachers can find jobs all over the world. Countries that currently have especially great demand for native speakers of English include those in Asia (Korea, Japan, China, Thailand), in Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile), in Eastern and Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, Russia), and in the Near/Middle East (Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates). It is challenging for holders of American passports to find work in countries belonging to the European Union, but many of our graduates have been successful in finding jobs after they move to the European country where they wish to work.

    ESL teaching assignments are plentiful in the US. Teachers at language schools generally start out with part-time work, which often leads to a full-time job. Adult education centers, local governments, religious organizations and social service agencies frequently organize ESL classes. TEFL graduates without state teaching certification can get jobs in private elementary and high schools, and sometimes can find work in public school systems where ESL teachers are in short supply. Finally, some graduates may qualify to teach at community colleges or university-run intensive English programs.
  • How much can I expect to earn?
  • How much you earn overseas will depend on the country in which you work and your level of experience. In some countries, such as Japan, Korea or Kuwait, you will be able to live well, while saving money to bring home. In countries where the economy is weaker and the exchange rate less favorable, such as Mexico or Thailand, you should be able to live comfortably on a teacher's salary, but not save much in dollars. In addition, depending on the country and the contract, you may be provided with health insurance and accommodations. Some teachers even have all or part of their airfare paid by the school that hires them.

    In the United States, teaching rates at language schools typically range from $15 to $20 per hour for general teaching, and $22 to $50 for specialized teaching or privately-arranged classes. A full-time teaching load at a language school is typically 25-28 hours per week. Full-time teachers generally receive employee benefits. Pay for teachers in public or private schools will vary according to the location and the individual's teaching experience.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.