Best Job for Military Spouses Overseas?

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Your servicemember just brought home orders to move overseas. You know where he or she will work. But where will you get a job?

One of the best jobs for military spouses overseas is to become a teacher of English as a foreign language (EFL). In countries such as South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Greece, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, there are schools of English that constantly look for native English speakers to work as teachers.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

Here are our answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by military spouses living overseas.

What is required to become an EFL teacher?

There are usually three minimum requirements to become an EFL teacher at an English language school. First, you have to speak English at a native speaker’s level.

Second, you need a bachelor’s degree. Even if sometimes schools accept candidates with an associate’s degree, they do prefer to hire people who have a bachelor’s degree. Your major doesn’t really matter, but a Bachelor of Arts degree is preferred.

The last requirement to become an EFL teacher is that of course you have to be a qualified and certified EFL teacher.

How do I become a certified EFL teacher?

The first step to becoming a certified EFL teacher is to take a CELTA course. CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. It is usually a four-week intensive course or it can also be done on a part-time basis.

During this course, you will learn all that there is to know about teaching English as a foreign language. Military spouses overseas can become certified via an online class or, if you live near a school of English, you can ask them if they offer the CELTA course.

How do I find a job as an EFL teacher?

Once you are an EFL teacher, it is a straightforward process to find a job as a military spouse living overseas. Most newly qualified EFL teachers get hired during summer time, as there are many more students who come from all over the world to better their language skills.

Related: Search for Teaching & Education jobs.

Many times, these summer contracts turn into long-term careers. The EFL world is very large and there are many different branches of the English language you could teach: general English, grammar, vocabulary, reading, listening, speaking, business English, and then there are the exam classes such as IELTS, TOEFL, FCE, CEA and many more.

Do I have to speak the language of the host country?

You do not have to speak the language of the host country to become an EFL teacher. If you do, it is a plus, but it is not required.

Moreover, as long as your English is at a native speaker’s level, you don’t necessarily have to come from an English-speaking country to become an EFL teacher. Many schools promote diversity and they welcome different accents.

Will this job work if I have kids?

As a military spouse living overseas, one of your main concerns might be how to juggle a full-time job with your family life. If you have children, for example, it can become challenging to find daycare or a trustworthy babysitter.

The EFL world is very understanding of women who are primarily stay-at-home moms. In fact, most schools of English also look for stay-at-home teachers who can provide private one-to-one classes for selected students.

You can choose the days and hours you want to work, all the while being in the comfort of your own home. 

How much can I earn as an EFL teacher?

The pay scale for an EFL teacher with very minimum experience can be lucrative. Rates range from $26 per hour in England up to $50 per hour in Saudi Arabia.

As an EFL teacher, you would teach a minimum of 20 hours to 40 hours per week, depending on whether you work part-time or full-time. The more experience you gain, the more your hourly rate will increase.

Related: The Military Spouse Employment Manual

If you have enough experience, you might also be able to teach at the university level. In Japan, for example, they often look for EFL teachers who can teach at universities. The basic pay is $2,600 per month.

Depending on the country you live in, you may also receive many perks that some of these EFL jobs offer, such as paid expenses, tax exemptions, private cars, chauffeurs, first-class tickets, and a little VIP treatment.

What other jobs can come from experience as an EFL teacher?

Becoming an EFL teacher can lead to a life-long commitment and career. In fact, after two years of teaching experience, you can take the next step and become a DELTA-certified teacher. DELTA stands for Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults.

After gaining substantial experience as a DELTA teacher, you can also apply for the position of Assistant to the Director of Studies (ADOS).

Becoming an EFL teacher is only the first step toward a career that could lead you to one day become a Director of Studies (DOS), principal or even to own your own school of English.   

So many military spouses must be ready to leave their job when their servicemember is transferred. The ability and the experience of teaching English in many different countries is actually considered to be one of the winning points when a director of studies decides which person to hire.

Moreover, if you and your family have to move back to the U.S., your job can follow you because there are many schools of English in the United States as well, especially in New York, Florida, California and Maryland.  

For more information about jobs for EFL teachers, paygrades, and much more, please visit

-- Brunella Irma Costagliola is a proud military wife, an EFL teacher and a professional ghostwriter. She earned her CELTA from the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. She specializes in writing non-fiction books, and throughout her career she has helped many aspiring authors see their dreams come true: Their names in print and their books published.

Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, visit the Job Search section.

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