This growing tourist hotspot is the perfect destination to earn TEFL certification abroad, with its contrasting modern skyscrapers and ancient Southeast Asian influences. Some say you can travel the world without leaving the tiny island of Singapore. From the markets of Chinatown and busy streets of Little India to the modern chic architecture and clean streets, there is much to see and explore. This city is a first-world nation, where English is the language of business, so demand for English teachers is high. Earning a TEFL certificate in Singapore is a great way to experience the world while positively impacting locals.
It is fascinating that an entire nation can exist within this one city, but this fact also means there are not many choices when it comes to choosing a location to earn your TEFL certification in Singapore. Rather than cities, Singapore is divided into five regions: North, West, Northeast, Central, and East. Each is densely populated with many TEFL opportunities. You will not find any “rural” areas, but some regions tend to be more suburban and less crowded (the North region), while others are located in the heart of the central business district (the Central region).
No matter where you choose to live in Singapore, you will be close to the city center, which means that you will never get bored! The public transport system is known for being modern and efficient, and with the small size of the island, it will be incredibly easy to get around, with the longest commute being under an hour.
Singapore is located close to the equator and the tropical rainforest climate allows for fun in the sun all year round. Outside of learning to teach English, you will be able to spend plenty of time windsurfing and wakeboarding at East Coast Park, Singapore’s most popular beach with a thriving nightlife, or exploring some of the overnight biking excursions around the island. For the less outdoorsy, shop ’til you drop in the legendary malls or eat your way around the city. You can visit Singapore’s Gardens at night where the sky will be lit up by “supertrees” that will make you feel like you’ve entered the world of Avatar. And don’t forget to visit this nation-city’s mascot in Marina Bay, the famous Merlion.
TEFL Programs in Singapore
While some TEFL jobs do not require experience or form TEFL certification, it will be nearly impossible to teach English in Singapore without credentials. Luckily, there are several options for earning a TEFL certification in Singapore. Courses range anywhere from 20 to 250 hours; with more hours comes more knowledge and experience, a quicker placement, and a higher salary. Most TEFL jobs will not accept your TEFL certification unless you have taken a course of at least 120 hours, so keep this in mind when selecting a TEFL program in Singapore.
Though you can earn TEFL certification online, online courses cannot offer the same hands-on experience you gain from a classroom setting. While more expensive, all aspiring TEFL teachers are encouraged to take physical TEFL courses in Singapore, as these will give you a better understanding of teaching English and more confidence in the classroom, which will create a better environment for your students. And, of course, more experience means higher wages too!
Most TEFL courses in Singapore will last for several weeks, with job placement opportunities typically offered upon completion. This is a great option because it gives you time to adjust to life in Singapore before jumping into the classroom, where you will be working 20 to 25 hours each week, in addition to prepping for classes.
Singapore’s school year begins at the end of January and ends in November. Their vacations follow the national public school schedule, with one-week breaks in the middle of each semester, and two one-month breaks in June and December. However, you can begin your TEFL certification in Singapore at any time of year, as teachers are hired constantly throughout the school year.
Costs & Affordability
TEFL courses in Singapore can be expensive, ranging from $1,300 to $2,100. TEFL program costs usually include in-person courses, lifetime TEFL job placement services around the world, and housing assistance. While expensive, any money invested in a TEFL certification will be worthwhile! Not only will students benefit from an experienced teacher, but you will have more benefits as an ESL teacher too.
Upon completion of TEFL certification in Singapore, teachers can apply for jobs through Singapore’s Ministry of Education or contact schools themselves. With a TEFL certificate in hand, you will be offered more jobs in public schools, which provide a higher salary, medical insurance, housing allowance, and reimbursement of round trip flights upon completion of a contract; this means as long as you can cover the initial costs of becoming certified, most other costs will be covered under contract!
The cost of living in Singapore is considered to be much higher than other Southeast Asian cities. Although, food is cheap, with world-renowned cuisines costing only a few dollars at local markets. On the other hand, clothing and shoes are expensive, because of importing, with a pair of jeans costing about $100. TEFL certified teachers can expect a high salary for teaching jobs in Singapore. In fact, salaries will be slightly above expenses, ranging from $2,500 to $3,000 per month, so teachers can pocket up to $500 every month while teaching English in Singapore.
Accommodation & Visas
Housing in Singapore is comparable to what you might find in New York City. Due to the city’s small size and dense population, apartment style living is the most common option. Rent is often high, because no matter where you are, you will be close to the central business district. But no worries! Most TEFL programs in Singapore will help teachers find and pay for accommodation as part of their teaching contract.
To earn TEFL certification in Singapore, and definitely to teach English, teachers will need to have a Singapore work visa. Usually, these visas require teachers to secure a job offer from a school first. Once hired, the school will apply for the Work Permit or Employment Pass. This cuts out a lot of the stress that comes with visa applications because the school does the paperwork for you; you’ll just have to provide them with educational certificates, transcripts, and copies of your passport. Check out GoAbroad’s Singapore Embassy Directory for more information on the visa process.
Benefits & Challenges
It’s SO Clean! Singapore is known for its cleanliness. It would only be a slight exaggeration to say you could eat off the sparkling streets; but with its purity comes harsh laws. Did you know you can’t eat or even take a sip of water on the metros? That you could do jail time for jaywalking? And whatever you do, never bring gum into the country or you could end up with a fine of $5,500!
Competitive Job Market. Singapore’s TEFL job market is highly competitive compared to other countries because of its small size and high demand for native English speakers. Teachers need more extensive qualifications to teach English in Singapore; while in other countries it is possible to get away without a TEFL certificate, there are no cutting corners in Singapore.
Ideal Location. Singapore could be considered one of the best places to teach English abroad. It’s arguably the perfect home base; it is a modern city with a very small language barrier, where you can save a decent amount of money. It’s also extremely close to many other (cheaper) countries in Southeast Asia. So when you’re on holiday or have finished out your teaching contract, you have money in your pocket and so many other places to explore, right at your fingertips! Earning a TEFL certificate in Singapore allows the opportunity to set out on a new path in life that lets you see the world, make a difference, and explore a new career path.
While it may be a challenge to land a job, once you do, you will have the most exciting adventure ahead of you!