Home / The Best Time to Apply for TEFL Jobs

You are doing your research. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. You’ll see a number of blogs claiming that in Thailand, Mexico, Russia, China, etc. TEFL jobs are available year-round! Technically, that is true. But those schools aren’t hiring because they had a sudden influx of new students. They are hiring because a TEFL teacher didn’t work out. Maybe the teacher performed poorly. Maybe the management at that particular school is problematic. Maybe there were extenuating circumstances. You’ll never know the truth.

And what if you did? Let’s say that you knew for certain the previous teacher left for a higher paying job. Would you really want to take their place? You would be starting mid-semester. You would have a classroom full of confused little people. And the jilted managers? You know what you could expect from them.

The vast majority of TEFL jobs coincide with academic school years. English teachers hired for those positions are expected to commit to at least a semester and typically to a full academic year. You won’t get hired during their core recruitment season. The orientation procedures are better, the visa support services are better, and building rapport with new students is easier.  

Here are the peak seasons to apply for TEFL jobs worldwide:


Peak hiring season: April – May 

You want to apply in early spring in order to secure a position for the fall semester which begins in late August. There is a second hiring push for the spring term but it is best to aim for the start of the school year. You’ll have a lot of options in China. Start early and choose wisely.  


Peak hiring season: February – March

The Thai school year starts in early May. There is a second hiring season in July and August to fill positions for the second semester which starts in October. However, there are a lot fewer jobs on offer and integration is more difficult. You’ll be the new teacher amongst a group of teachers who have already had time to bond and develop friendships.

South Korea

Peak hiring season: May-June

The dates vary somewhat depending on whether it is a public school, a private school or a university. But as a general rule, school starts in the fall and most recruiting/hiring is done in late spring to early summer. Acquiring a visa in South Korea requires an extensive background check. Read up on the specifics and get that taken care of prior to lining up interviews. It will make a good impression.


Peak hiring season: May-June

The school year in most countries starts in September and the hiring season begins in early summer. Here is the catch. With the possible exception of summer camp gigs, it is very difficult to land a job in Europe from abroad. Employers will expect you to interview in person. And having a phone number from that country will increase your chances of landing an interview exponentially. On the bright side, job hunting in Europe doesn’t suck.


Peak hiring season: May-June

In Russia, hiring is done from abroad and often includes airfare. There is a lot of demand which means that you’ll have plenty of offers. Take your time. Make the right choice.

The Middle East

Peak hiring season: April – May

The school year starts in August or September when the outrageously hot summer is still outrageous. A lot of the jobs on offer in the Middle East are for major oil and engineering companies. They don’t have a peak season. The hiring is done as needed.  

Latin America

Peak hiring season(s):

Mexico: April-June

Central America: December-January

South America: February-March

Latin America is massive and the opportunities listed on the popular job boards are only a fraction of what is available. If you are set on teaching English in that part of the world, your best option is to narrow your focus to a single country and then do your research. Contact the schools directly. Set up an in-person interview even if it is a couple of months in advance. Assure them that you are going to live in that country whether they hire you or not.

I can’t wait. I want to go now!

There are some great jobs available at odd times. If the job is teaching business English to adults the start date doesn’t matter. If the job is for a corporation or a government entity the school year is irrelevant. But keep in mind that the majority of jobs on offer are for English programmes that have contracts with local schools. These programmes hire in bulk to fill positions at the start of the school year. They have procedures in place to help you integrate. You want the transition to be as easy as possible. Start from the beginning with a group of TEFL graduates in the same position as you.  


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