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Getting qualified (continued)

2g) Postgraduate qualifications

Those who already have a first degree or comparable qualification are eligible to take a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course. The PGCE is a professional teaching qualification and courses are recognised by the DfEE as providing initial training for teachers. PGCE courses normally have a core element which is devoted to education and candidates then choose a specific subject as the other main area of study. In most cases candidates can also choose other subjects to study as accompanying subsidiary options.

Applications for PGCE courses in England and Wales should not be made directly to institutions, but via the Graduate Teacher Training Registry. Applications for PGCE courses in Scotland should be made directly to the institutions.

2h) Other advanced courses

For those who wish to pursue their career further there are advanced and postgraduate courses, ranging from a postgraduate certificate over two terms to diplomas/masters/doctoral degrees involving a minimum of one year's study. In addition there is a vast range of short courses in specialized subject areas allowing the student to look in depth at one area of teaching. Subjects studied in advanced courses vary widely and it is important for prospective students to look closely at the course content to ensure that it suits their needs before embarking on a course. Please note that many postgraduate diploma and MA courses do not have a teaching practice component.

3) Funding

Students on TEFL certificate or diploma courses are normally self-financed. Certain candidates may be eligible for a Career Development Loan,available from the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) and four major banks: Barclays, The Cooperative Bank, Glydesdale and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Mandatory Local Education Authority (LEA) grants are usually available for first degrees, BEd's and sometimes PGCE courses. For further details please contact the LEA covering the area of your permanent address, or the LEA in the area where the course is located. Advanced and specialized courses are normally self-financed for UK residents. Overseas students can contact their local British Council office for information on possible sources of financial assistance.

4) Career opportunities

Prospective TEFL teachers have various options open to them for employment in the UK and overseas. Organisations require different qualifications. Before embarking on a course of study leading to a specific qualification, it is advisable to check requirements by contacting several institutions in the countries you are particularly interested in. Some private school chains which have schools world-wide may offer employment following successful completion of their own TEFL courses. However, these courses sometimes concentrate on the school's own teaching methods and materials and may limit your mobility between employers.

Voluntary agencies and religious organisations increasingly look for well-qualified candidates and often ask for a minimum of two years post-qualification experience.

Recruitment agencies will usually have a number of vacancies available at any given time. Generally these agencies look for candidates with formal qualifications and would normally expect the courses taken by applicants to have included a teaching practice element. A number of agencies recruit for their own chain of schools as well as for other employers.

5) Working in the UK

It may be difficult for unqualified or newly qualified teachers to find well-paid work in the UK although there is a demand for teachers with a Certificate or Diploma level TEFL qualification or a PGCE, which are usually considered the minimum qualification for employment. There is usually a large demand for teachers during the summer months when private language schools, colleges and universities recruit for the annual intake of foreign students. Year-round jobs are less frequent.

ARELS (Association of Recognised English Language Services)
ARELS is a non-profit making organisation of private English Language Schools in the UK which are inspected and accredited by the British Council and who conduct courses in English as a Foreign Language. ARELS produce a free annual guide listing member schools and also an information sheet on teaching in their establishments, these are available direct from ARELS. It is advisable for those seeking employment to make direct contact with the ARELS schools.

BALEAP (British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes)
BALEAP is a national organisation of English Language Centres within British Universities where EAP (English for Academic Purposes) is taught. BALEAP publishes a handbook containing a list of universities offering pre-sessional English courses, as well as offering a database for teachers of EAP looking for work in the UK. For further information please contact BALEAP.

BASELT (The British Association of State English Language Teaching)
BASELT acts as a co-ordinating body for State educational institutions which offer accredited courses for students wishing to learn English and who employ qualified teachers. An annual free booklet lists all member establishments. It is advisable to contact the institution direct regarding employment. For a copy of the BASELT handbook please contact BASELT.

6) Working abroad

The demand for English world-wide is on the increase and as such the prospects of a well paid long-term career in TEFL are getting better. However, in Western Europe at least, it is still the case that market saturation and better provision within state education systems have led to a shift in demand towards more specialised and sophisticated language teaching services.

Areas where employment prospects are good include Turkey, parts of East Asia (for example Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam), the Gulf, and most of Latin America. Employment prospects in Eastern Europe are also expanding dramatically, with opportunities arising in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. Demand is also likely to increase in Australia, China, South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. However, in the cases of China and Sub-Saharan Africa, this is unlikely to lead to greatly increased employment prospects for native speaker EFL teachers.

Posts in developing countries have decreased considerably over the past few years because of a reduction in foreign aid budgets. A knock on effect of this has been that numbers of highly qualified teachers, many with up to thirty years' experience, have joined the market for TEFL jobs in other parts of the world.

In general, salaries and employment prospects are not good in the profession and the demand that teachers be qualified, experienced and specialised continues to increase. The recognition of specific qualifications may vary between countries though the Cambridge/RSA and Trinity College Certificates and Diplomas tend to be widely accepted. Some countries also require teachers to have a degree or equivalent qualification. New entrants to the profession would be well advised to get reputable qualifications as early on in their careers as possible. Volunteer teaching programmes are a valuable source of experience for those new to the profession or seeking to expand their professional skills.

Teaching jobs can be arranged in the UK or whilst overseas. The following are major recruitment agencies and major EFL employers.

The Bell Language Schools
The Bell Educational Trust through its schools specializes in teaching English as a foreign language and in teacher training courses. Bell has six schools in the UK and a total of four schools in Switzerland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as well as associate schools in Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Thailand.

Berlitz is one of the largest language organisations in the world. Following a successful interview, applicants attend in-house training in the 'Berlitz method' and upon satisfactory completion of the training, teachers are employed within the organization. Minimum entry requirement is a first degree or equivalent.

The British Council
The British Council, through Central Management of Direct Teaching (CMDT), recruits about 120 teachers and supervisory staff to work in its overseas language centres. For most teaching posts they are looking for candidates with a diploma level TEFL qualification, or a PGCE in TEFL, and two years experience. Applications are normally invited in response to specific advertisements in The Guardian, Times Educational Supplement and the EFL Gazette. Overseas Appointment Services (OAS) recruit specialists on behalf of overseas government agencies and institutions. The British Council also recruits for teaching staff locally.

Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges (CBEVE)
Central Bureau (CBEVE) forms part of the British Council and administers various teacher exchange programmes for certified teachers and language assistants throughout the world. They also compile information guides on opportunities available for work, study and travel abroad including Teach Abroad, a handbook offering guidance on the options available including TEFL positions.

CfBT Education Services
CfBT Education Services (formerly the Centre for British Teachers) recruits qualified and experienced ELT supervisory staff and teachers for its own projects in Brunei, Malaysia, Oman and on behalf of Turkish clients. They also manage several aid-funded projects in Africa and South East Asia. They generally advertise in the national press.

Christians Abroad
Christians Abroad has a World Service Enquiry desk for people of any faith, or none. It offers information and advice about opportunities to work overseas through a variety of different organizations, secular and Christian.

The East European Partnership
The East European Partnership is an initiative by Voluntary Services Overseas and places selected graduate volunteers in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Volunteers must be qualified teachers or have a TEFL qualification with two year's experience and are paid a local salary.

ELT Banbury
ELT Banbury is a recruitment specialist recruiting for its own centres in fourteen countries, covering Europe, the Far East and the Middle East; and on behalf of other institutions. It maintains an ELT International Teachers Directory for worldwide recruitment.

English World-wide
English World-wide is the largest independent recruitment agency in the UK. Established in 1984, the company recruits qualified teachers for posts in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Far East. English Worldwide also offers teachers training courses, including the Trinity College (LTCL) Diploma, and the LCCI Cert TEB.

ILC (International Language Centres) Recruitment
ILC has one of the largest British Council accredited summer school operations in the UK employing up to 500 EFL teachers every summer. ILC's summer schools and permanent schools in the UK, Czech Republic and France are also affiliated to International House.

Inlingua Teacher Training and Recruitment
Inlingua recruits TEFL teachers for over two hundred and eighty schools world-wide, especially Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland and Singapore. The Trinity Cert TESOL and two week introductory courses are run year round and preference regarding placements is given to those who successfully complete one of their courses.

International House London
International House London is an educational trust which specialises in the teaching of English as a foreign language and in teacher training courses in TEFL. There are currently over ninety schools in twenty countries affiliated to the central organisation. The teacher Selection Department is responsible for recruiting trained teachers for these schools.

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET)
The Council on International Exchange runs the JET programme which recruits approximately 550 native English speakers each year to work as assistant English teachers in Japanese secondary schools. No teaching experience or TEFL qualifications are needed but a degree is required. The Council also run the Teach in China programme. As with the JET programme, no TEFL qualification is required but a degree is neccessary. For both programmes, an interest in teaching and either the Japanese or Chinese cultures are an advantage.

Linguarama recruits teachers for teaching posts at its 38 centres in the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK.

Saxoncourt (UK) Ltd
Saxoncourt is an international organization with over 100 schools around the world. Saxoncourt Recruitment is now the largest EFL recruitment agency based in the UK. They recruit more than 300 qualified EFL teachers each year to over 20 different countries in Asia, Western Europe, eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Saxoncourt Teacher Training is a non-profit making part of the organization offering pre-service (Cambridge/RSA CELTA and CELTYL) and in-service training (COTE, DOTE, management training) for teachers and ELT professionals.

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
VSO recruits over 400 teachers each year to work in more than fifty developing countries. The range of posts filled covers primary, secondary, tertiary, teacher training and special education. The East European Partnership, a discrete unit of VSO recruit teachers for posts in East and Central Europe.

World-wide Education Service (WES)
WES is an educational consultancy which includes recruitment as one of a wide range of educational services such as school inspection, advice and in-service teacher training to schools overseas and in the UK. EFL recruitment is a minor activity but qualified mainstream teachers who also offer EFL are very much welcomed.

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