Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Turkey

This guide was written by John Howell, Editor & Founder of Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 23 June 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is for people considering teaching English as a foreign language in Turkey.


There is a constant demand for people to teach English in Turkey. There is also some demand for people to teach other foreign languages such as French, Spanish, Russian, or Chinese – but the bulk of the demand is for people who can teach English.

There are many types of establishments in which you can teach English or any other language. These range from large and well-known colleges to tiny private schools. Basically, the smaller the school, the less you are likely to be paid and the less demanding they’re likely to be when it comes to your formal qualifications.

Can I teach English as a second language in Turkey?

If you want to get a job teaching English in a good school, you will really need the following:

If you wish to teach some other language, the details will change but these basic principles will still apply.

Sadly, many colleges will not be prepared to get involved in the process of applying for work permits. In these circumstances, you will be working illegally if you take a job with them.

In addition to these formal requirements, you will need a well-written application letter and CV and good interview skills. You will need to come across to the interviewer as a good teacher.

In Turkey, you will greatly enhance your chances of obtaining a TEFL job if you are over 30 and if you have previous work experience outside of teaching.

Getting a TEFL qualification

This depends on which country you're living in. It will be much, much easier if English is your native language, and you live in an English-speaking country.

Accredited TEFL courses take 120 hours. Some are online, some are in person, some are a combination. We recommend doing at least part of your course in person.

The price will depend on where you are and which academy you use, but expect to pay around US$1,500-US$2,000.


Teaching English as a foreign language is a very popular way for young (and not-so-young!) graduates to travel and see the world. If Turkey's on your bucketlist, it's certainly an option worth considering.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
Finding Work in Turkey
How to get a job in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Employment Law in Turkey
Rights and responsibilities of employers and employees
Click to see this guide

You may also want to read:

 Description Link 
A Guide to Living and Teaching English in Turkey
A short-ish but useful guide from TEFL Jobs Worldwide
Teaching English in Turkey
8 Pitfalls to be Aware of Before Teaching English in Turkey
Useful tips from GoAbroad.com
pitfalls of TEFL in Turkey
Database of TEFL jobs worldwide

Readers' Comments


Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

John Howell

23 June 2017


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