Do I need to be 18 or older?
Yeah. No upper limit on the age range, though.
Do I need to be a native English speaker?
Fuck no. You need to be fluent, and in excellent command of the finer points of English grammar and syntax, but so long as you have those skills you can teach English abroad no matter when or how you acquired them. Unfortunately, though, while not being a native English speaker doesn’t mean you can’t teach English abroad, it might affect where you can teach English abroad. For the most part, employers favor applicants from the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
As you probably guessed, the preference for those seven countries has little to do with candidate proficiency and much to do with institutional racism. There are scores of Caribbean nations, for instance, where native English speakers comprise more than 90% of the population, while in South Africa it’s less than 10%. But if you’re not from one of those seven countries -- meaning, if you don’t hold a passport from one of them -- there are some places where you’ll find it difficult if not impossible to gain employment. Those include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
You might also run into TEFL training programs (more on those in a sec) that make it clear they’re biased against so-called non-native English speakers, which is to say they’re not interested in enrolling them. Ignore them. There are lots of programs that will gladly take you regardless of your country of origin. And lots of countries with agencies that will readily employ you, including Cambodia, China, Mexico, Costa Rica, Turkey, India, Argentina, and Romania. Global demand for English proficiency is increasing by the day, and therefore so is the demand for teachers.
Do I need a Bachelor’s degree?
A four-year degree helps in getting a gig, especially if it’s in education, but by no means is it mandatory. Again, this mostly just affects the locations in which you’re employable. The Middle East is out, but with a TEFL certificate (almost there, I promise) you should be eligible to teach in lots of places throughout Asia, Central America, South America, and Europe.
Do I need to already have teaching experience?
Nah! Like everything else, previous teaching experience is helpful in that it gives you more options, location-wise, but it’s not required. If you’re a licensed teacher here at home, you have a head start on getting gigs in the Middle East and parts of Europe. As with any other job hunt, this stuff fills out your resume and makes you more attractive to employers. But for pretty much anyone looking to teach English as a foreign language, the must-have in order to actually get hired is TEFL certification. Now is the part where we talk about TEFL!