Finding A Job After The CELTA: How Easy Is It And How Long Does It Take?

Hello once more everybody.  I have another question to go through about the CELTA course. People ask me:

How long does it take to find a job after taking CELTA and how easy is it? 3 months is enough for most to find a job. Having previous teaching experience can speed things up, while complex (international) work visas can slow things down.

Remember that employers post jobs 3-6 months before the start of the academic year in their country.

Knowing this and starting your CELTA at the right time can really help you gauge how long it might be for you, with more on this below.

To go into a little more detail on this, I’ll first tell you about my experience to give you some background.  I did my CELTA back in 2007, which was a very long time ago and it’s a bit sad to think that all those years have passed (!) Anyway, I did the course in August 2007 here in the UK.

I wasn’t as organised as I should have been. I came out of the CELTA without really thinking about jobs. I didn’t look for jobs for a little while because I was trying to decide what to do, and had personal things to deal with.

When I did eventually start looking, it was getting a bit late. I started looking in October, found a job in Spain then that started in November

Now, that’s quite rare because most jobs come at a different time in Europe. The school that I went to, in Galicia in northwest Spain, was looking for a teacher with one year’s experience, but they took me without any experience because they were stuck.

That just goes to show that there are job opportunities out there, even if they may not look that likely on paper – you just have to put yourself out there, be proactive and find them!

As soon as I got that first job it opened other doors, as you can no doubt imagine.

Once you’ve got that bit of experience, then people trust you a lot more, and everything becomes a lot easier. That was my experience of it.

Should You Wait for the Right Timing?

How long does it take to find a job after getting your CELTA certificate?

One of the biggest factors in finding a job quickly is the time of year in which you are looking.

As I mentioned, I got my first job in November, but in Europe the majority of jobs are advertised to start for early summer, maybe even around Easter time.

So for most countries you should be looking to begin job hunting around 3-4 months prior to the start of the coming academic year.

This is because the schools need to get people in place, and there are a lot of people who move around with CELTA certificates, especially in Europe.

It’s quite easy to get a job somewhere new, and people want to travel.

However, I say only 3-4 months in advance since the schools can’t recruit much further in advance because then people might not commit to them so far down the line. Things happen, other offers come up, people change their minds – we are all human after all!

Arranging a job more than six months in advance sounds a little unnerving to me, and it’s not something I’ve ever done.

So I’d say you are probably looking at arranging your job about three months before the start of the academic year.

Despite this, the one exception to the above might be if a work visa for you involves a particularly complex and slow process – then this might change things.

Even so, if a visa is that to provide for a citizen of your country, then the schools might not actively recruit people from your region, but they might also have ways around it.

Specific research on your target countries is certainly recommended as there are plenty of variables to take into account!

Is there a Time Frame to getting a CELTA Job?

In Europe, the prime time to start looking is in June; after August job offers start to dry up.

You do get some jobs to start in January advertised in late November or early December, but the main time to look is in the summer.

Now, it depends where you want to go, but if you just  think to start applying three to six months before the start of the academic year, that’s probably the best way to look at it.

If you can time your CELTA course to fit in with the ideal recruitment window for your desired countries, by finishing your course at the right time, then you’re probably going to give yourself the best opportunity for where you want to go.

This brings me to the next point.

The ideal time of when to apply for your CELTA really depends where you’re looking to work. If you’re happy to work anywhere, then it’s clearly a lot easier.

This also has a bearing on the question of how easy is to find a first job. If you want to work somewhere like China or South Korea, you’ll find that there are a lot of jobs year round, because the demand is higher than the supply.

This means that you can pretty much find a job there in any given month of the year without too much hassle. There may be times when more teachers are in demand, but I don’t know exactly when those are because I’ve never worked in those countries!

However, in the case of China particularly, if you put yourself out there you can wait for recruiters to come to you; I regularly get Chinese recruiters inboxing me on LinkedIn*.

This is because they headhunt people directly because there are so many jobs.

In short, if you have the right visas and meet the right criteria they’ll come to you with an offer of work.

I can’t say how those jobs are because I’ve never followed up on one. Maybe somebody reading this might like to comment!

*NB – If you aren’t on Linkedin yet, get yourself a profile there! It’s free (don’t pay for premium stuff!) and recruiters are all over it*

Where to look for your first job after the CELTA?

The website that I used to find my first job was, which is easy to use. The more websites that you join and add your details to, the more opportunities you are going to get.

I should add that I am in no way paid to promote, but I did use their services to get my first few teaching jobs and found their site to be easy and effective to use.

Does prior teaching experience help in finding a job after the CELTA?

Another job hunting point is about having relevant prior experience.

Obviously, if you have any form of teaching experience – in whatever field – that will help you, and make you more appealing to employers.

Once you get that foot in the door job, your potential employers will think it’s more likely that you’re going to be a good teacher, and less work for them.

But if you don’t have teaching experience, don’t worry, you can still get jobs. Everybody has to start somewhere, right?

There may be fewer jobs, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of jobs you can get.

If you want to go just anywhere, it is really quite easy if you’re a native speaker.

If you want to go anywhere that there are jobs, anywhere across the world, at anytime of year and you have broad horizons, then that’s fine.

If you’re looking for more specific jobs, then you need to start thinking about the points I mentioned about the time of year to apply. And it is most definitely easier for native speakers to find jobs.

Now, I am a native speaker. Obviously, I can never have had the experience of a non-native English speaking teacher.

But, it’s definitely not impossible to have a career as a non-native EFL teacher – I’ve spoken to many people on Facebook groups who’ve said they got jobs in China, for example.

You could argue – and you could say this to employers – that a non-native speaker has advantages over native-speaker teachers, especially at lower levels. After all, you’ve had to learn English to an advanced level – a native speaker has never actually had that experience.

Often it helps if you’re already in the country, but not necessarily. As a non-native teacher it’s really about getting yourself out there and going for it. It can be done.

Finally, a word about visas for finding a job after the CELTA

You can find a lot of jobs with a CELTA. It’s worth doing the course for that, especially if you want to live in different countries.

Of course, if you want to work abroad you also need the right visa. You may find that employers don’t always want to help with this. Many countries  have stringent laws about the employment of foreign workers, and schools may not want to stretch themselves in dealing with this.

Having said that, I worked in Indonesia, where the employer paid for my visa.  Employers want you to go to their country and work for them, so they want you to have a visa.

Visas are another thing to think about, but not a major stumbling block for finding a job after the CELTA.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Otherwise, I’ll talk to you soon, and enjoy!

Useful Links for Finding a Job After the CELTA

Below are some useful links for anyone looking for a a job after completing their CELTA course, along with an excerpt from the linked pages:

Getting a job after the CELTA

“For most people who do the Cambridge CELTA, finding a job after the course is a very high priority– so much so that one of the most common and effective marketing ploys that non-CELTA TEFL course providers use is to promise employment post-course. It’s understandable that someone investing time, energy and money …”

As an older CELTA graduate, will I struggle to get a teaching job?

“From my experience talking to many English language teachers, age does not play a big role in finding work. In fact, it could be a benefit if you have valuable professional or life experience to draw upon and communicate during your interview. Older teachers are also far less likely to leave employment after a year or two, …”


How long does it take to find a job in TEFL? If you successfully complete the CELTA you will be of interest to private language schools in Belgium, International and European schools. These are always looking for qualified trainers. Trainees generally apply for jobs before the courses end and often get their first …

If you need extra help with your CELTA course, check out the CELTA Course Student Notebook and Diary by CELTA Helper over on Amazon.

This handy notebook is designed with ready-made templates to make your CELTA course that much easier, giving you space to record all your key notes without you having think about how to organise or record your notes – just fill in the templates for things like observed lessons, planning, reflective diary (especially helpful for the final assignment) and more. I designed it to help CELTA course students get through the course – perhaps it can help you, too.

Related Question

Can you get a job after CELTA with no experience? Yes, you can but this depends on more factors than just luck. Certain countries like China and South Korea are continually looking for TEFL teachers. However, you can get a job without experience elsewhere if you have a relevant degree or have some voluntary experience.

Remember that the job adverts that ask for 1 year of experience also are the most likely to be flexible, so by all means try applying to them first and see what comes back.

If you catch them in a squeeze, you might just get in and find that crucial post-CELTA work experience.

Either way, stay determined and don’t get too down about it! Good luck!

PS You may also like to get your assignments or application checked by Scribendi – an online proofreading service (affiliate link) I used to work for that provides high-quality work.

Stephen Beale

After taking the CELTA back in 2007, I have since gained over 11 years' experience of teaching English in various countries. I have also worked in EAP for several years and like sharing what I've learnt along the way here.

Recent Posts