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How Can I Start Out as an English Teacher in Turkey?

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How does one go about getting a English teaching job in Turkey?

I've heard the best thing to do is just to fly to Istanbul and begin looking, but wouldn't working on a tourist/residency visa mean your open to exploitation by your employer? Is it even possible to get a  work visa after this point? 


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I don't advise working illegally. But I have known (In Izmir) people who have just shown up, even without TEFL certificates, and without work permits. They found jobs rather quickly and worked for a year. Their experience went well, but I have also heard quite a few bad stories about teachers not getting paid. If you have no work permit, there is nobody to complain to, because if you get caught, you'll be deported, and that experience is a bad one. To get a work permit, you have to be in Turkey as a legal resident for at least six months. Your employer does most of the paperwork, with you supplying various documents (like your TEFL certificate). You can apply and have this arranged from your home country before you arrive.

Hopefully one of our English-teacher members will correct me if I'm wrong. But I believe you need a university diploma and a TEFL or CELTA certificate to teach. If you have a university diploma, why not get a TEFL certificate, if you don't have one already, then apply to a school and come here to teach legally?

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Epetitus, you don't tell the forum anything about who you are, what credentials and diplomas you have, in what type of school you want to teach, or anything else useful about yourself. No one can advise you without some pretty good details. There is a lot of information posted on the "Teaching English in Turkey" main forum page. Read it first, research what schools you might be interested in and then come back and ask what questions you have.

Ken, for legal jobs you are correct as to qualifications. If a foreigner is looking for a job in an elementary or high school they will also need to show a valid teaching certificate from their home country. University applicants will not need those but higher ed credentials will be a must in most places as the competition is quite high these days.

Do not come here and try to work illegally, you will probably get caught and even if you do not the stress is not worth it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All,

I am a newbie here, so greetings to everyone. Let me introduce myself, I am an American citizen and have a Master's degree. I had a family issue and needed to go to Turkey for a few years. I found out that English teachers are in demand in Turkey. so I obtained a TEFL certificate. But the thing is that I have no teaching experience. Could anyone tell me where I should apply for teachings jobs and what is the expected pay range. Also, the visa information would be helpful


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Welcome to Turkey Central.

Have you read through the Teaching English in Turkey posts yet? I suggest you go through some of the more current postings and then come back to ask your questions. 

Unfortunately for you, a Master's and a TEFL are now quite common. Are you of Turkish origin and do you have citizenship here? That will help. There are many qualified Turkish teachers teaching English now and the "old days" of a "native-born" English speaker without qualifications getting a legitimate job are over.

That being said, if you have no teaching experience and do not have a teaching certificate from a K-12 school system in the US, you will have your best success by applying at universities, most elementary or high schools will probably not want you or be legally able to hire you. Unless you really like young kids, you will probably find the university students more interesting.

Do searches for universities in whatever city you wish to reside. There are quite a variety and range of pay scales, benefits and cost of living in different areas. You are not too late yet to make application but I would get on the ball and start to narrow your searches down to specific schools. Many of the better schools probably know who is coming back in the fall and have a good idea of how many, if any, new hires they will need. 

You can email your choices with copies of your CV and other qualifications along with a cover letter.  If you speak Turkish I would send them the same documents in Turkish. If you are living in the city in which you will reside, you would be wise to personally visit the schools. Try to call the head of the English department and make an appointment to visit. That will speed things up. In Istanbul for example, if you plan it right you should be able to visit two schools a day until you find one hiring and that you like.

If the school is legitimate, they will do the paperwork for work and residence permits. (They are not visas, a visa is what a tourist gets.)

Good luck

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I used to pick a city, then search all the schools in the area and send out emails. So over the years I've accumalated quite a few email addresses. I can share this list just pm me if you want it. You can send one email application and blind copy the email addresses so they don't see all the schools you've applied to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello there!

I have been teaching English in Istanbul for 6 years now, and for 3 of those years I have been collecting information based on my experiences and those of my colleagues and friends on a website/blog.

I am genuinely trying to help people by bringing everything under one roof.  I try to keep up to date with the latest jobs out there and add them to my list regularly.  Teachers can upload their CV and apply for jobs online.  It's all free.

It's not perfect, but I think it's a good start for anyone who is looking for info about English teaching jobs in Turkey and wants to get up to speed quickly.  I hope it will save people some time. 

Hundreds of people have been hired so it definitely works!

I hope you find it useful - the link is www.englishjobsturkey.com

Happy teaching!

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bookie,  It seems you and your colleagues have put together a great resource for both teachers and schools.

I was looking at your web page "Requirements for teaching English in Turkey"

When I got to the part where it discusses the Overview of the top three employer types

The section on Private Middle and High Schools does not mention that a teaching certificate from a prospect's home country is a requirement. Has that changed? If not, I believe this is an important qualification and that it should be emphasized.

The Robert College page of teacher qualifications states:

A teacher must have a strong background and experience in his or her subject area. This is not a good school for a novice teacher, although we do, from time to time, hire highly promising young teachers on an internship basis. In addition, the Turkish Ministry of Education has

requirements that MUST be met before we are allowed to offer a contract. These are:

1. an undergraduate degree in the subject area to be taught, and
2. a valid teaching certificate in this subject area.
While not requirements, we also look favorably at advanced degrees, international teaching experience, and experience using information technology in instruction.
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  • 2 months later...

Hello everyone , I'm glad I just found this forum ! I am planning to move to Istanbul to live and work . I have a Bachelor degree In English language and literature, IELTS certificate and a good experience of living in United States and other European countries . I am fluent in Russian ( it is my second native language) and French . I am willing to find job in Istanbul as an English teacher . I would greatly appreciate any advise or help on this topic . If anyone knows any  language schools I could apply to while my visit in Istanbul , I would be very grateful !

Thanks Bookie for your post , I will check those links you've posted ! I'm looking for any kind of source of information related with teaching English in Turkey especially from experienced people :)

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