As a corporate English (EFL) teacher in Asia with more than 10 years experience, I come across corporate English teachers all the time in Thailand, the country I live in, that are not qualified to be teaching Corporate English. With the economies in Asia either booming or in turnaround, there’s already a huge market for English (EFL) teachers who can teach corporate English but, if that’s something you’re interested in doing, are you actually qualified? In most Asian countries, although the qualifications to be a Corporate English (EFL) teacher will vary a little, there are certain qualifications almost every company is looking for.
You Must Be a Native Speaker – Many westerns from Europe come to Asia every year to teach English. Most jobs for western Corporate English teachers though require the teacher to be a native speaker. What that means is, if you’re from countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Franceand Belgium, even if you speak excellent English, you are not a native speaker and most companies will not hire you. Non-native English speakers often still make grammatical mistakes when speaking English, as well as have strong accents not desirable for most companies, who are looking for teachers from the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc.
An Undergraduate University Degree – In almost every Asian country that recruits western English teachers to teach Corporate English (EFL), an undergraduate degree in any major is required. In every Asian country you’ll find teachers teaching Corporate English without an undergraduate degree but, in most countries, this is illegal. In Thailand, teachers without a university education have been employed for decades but, in the past couple of years, the Thai government has begun clamping down on unqualified teachers and requiring at least a BA or BS degree for almost every teaching job.
For most Corporate English teaching jobs, it doesn’t matter what your major is (ie: it doesn’t have to be in English, but you do have to have one). Of course, you will get some English teachers in Thailand telling you a university degree is not necessary. Legally, in most cases, that is not true.
Minimum Two Years Teaching Corporate English – Most Corporate English jobs in Asia also have a qualification that their teachers have at least two years teaching experience in a corporate environment. As you will be teaching students from entry-level employees to high-level managers, the company wants to make sure you have the experience to do so. If you do want to teach Corporate English in Asia, try to get some experience teaching it elsewhere first.
Some will also specify that teaching experience must be in the country the job is in. This is because teachers who have already lived in the country tend to be more reliable than teachers who have just arrived as many new teachers will leave and go back home within a year of arriving in Asia.
Must Have Worked in Business In Your Own Country – This isn’t a qualification for every Corporate English teaching job in Asia, but some companies are now requesting it and teachers who have it will find they have better opportunities and are offered higher-paying jobs. If you’ve worked in a company in your own country, particularly in management positions, you will find yourself highly in demand for teaching Corporate English. Many Corporate English teaching jobs are not just about students learning English, but also about them learning business skills so, if you already have them, you’re miles ahead of the rest of the field.
Before I began teaching Corporate English in Thailand, I had six years experience as a Business Trainer in the United States, as well as 15 years as a Professional Fundraiser. Because of my qualifications, I have not only been hired by every Asian company I’ve applied to as a Corporate English teacher, I’ve also been paid more and been given extra duties, which usually translated to even more money.
A Business Appearance – Unlike some teaching jobs in Asia, where you can dress a little more relaxed, as a Corporate English teacher, you will need to dress in business attire. While this doesn’t usually mean a suit, it does mean dress pants, a long-sleeved conservative shirt, business-style shoes and a tie for men, and for women a conservative skirt and blouse or conservative dress, and full shoes (not sandals).
Teaching Corporate English in Asia can be a lucrative career if you have the correct qualifications. Jobs range from part-time positions in the evenings a few hours a week to full-time positions with international companies. Salaries range, at the low end, from $20 an hour up to monthly full-time salaries of $3,000 a month plus. In Asian economies where the cost of living is often less than 40% of the US, as you can imagine, these salaries are high and can afford you an excellent lifestyle.