English Teaching Jobs in Turkey

What are the qualifications for an English teacher in Turkey?

Although it is considered to be fairly easy to get a job in Turkey, the ESL job market is not as open as places like Thailand perhaps where simply being a native speaker is enough to get you hired.  It is essential to have a decent teaching qualification and some experience if you want to work as an English teacher in Turkey.

requirements for teaching English in Turkey

What are the qualifications for an English teacher in Turkey?

This being Turkey there is always a way around things!  If the school likes you and wants you for whatever reason (desperation, looks, other talents), they will find a way to take you on.  However, you are unlikely to get very good pay and conditions and even less likely to get a legitimate work permit.

In simple terms, to obtain a work permit you need a university degree and a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate.

If you really want to get a job teaching English in Turkey, these are the minimum requirements:

  1. A well designed and well written CV
  2. A TEFL teaching certificate, ideally a CELTA but minimum 120 hour online course
  3. A university degree
  4. Outstanding interview skills
  5. Good contacts and networking skills (which you can get via this website!)

*NB*  I couldn't justify putting this in the minimum requirements list but it is worth noting that having a residence permit is a huge advantage.  See below for more information about this.

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Native Speakers

The best  teaching jobs in Turkey are reserved for native speakers from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with a 3 or 4 year university degree in English, Education or a related field plus a CELTA, DELTA or Masters.  International schools look for experience, a teaching license from your home country, and / or a Master's in a related subject.

If you are just looking to spend a year or so teaching English abroad and you are not considering a longer term career here you will be fine with any degree, any decent online TEFL certificate and ideally some experience.

Non-Native Speakers

If you are a non-native speaker of English looking to teach the language, then it is going to be harder for you to find work. There is a strong preference towards ‘native English speakers’ and if you are not one then it will mean you need to do a few things differently in order to succeed.  See my post for non-native speakers here.

Non-native speakers need to do some extra work to make their CV stand out.

Employers need to be given extra reasons, extra motivation, to take (what some might consider) a gamble on you.

If your CV, cover letter and accompanying emails are not written in grammatically perfect, high level formal English and completely error free, you have got next to no chance.

Don’t forget, you are applying for a job as an English teacher.  The most important skill required for that job is the ability to speak English extremely well!


Qualifications for an English teacher in Turkey

learning to fly


If you are a native speaker and have a CELTA qualification, you are at a significant advantage. The Turkish authorities recognize the CELTA as sufficient grounds for a work permit, (provided you have a University degree of any kind) and the better schools will expect this as a minimum requirement.

Although the CELTA is preferred by employers, you can still get a work permit with a quick online TEFL like this one.

We encourage everyone to get in touch and let us guide you to the most suitable jobs for your qualifications, personality, goals and timescales.  We will review your CV for free here.

For higher education institutes you will need an MA or DELTA.

Teaching English without a TEFL certificate of any kind is not really possible.

Residence Permits

Most places now try to only hire people locally with particular preference for those who already have residence permits.  Many places do conduct Skype interviewers and offer jobs on that basis, but you will still be expected to get yourself here and find your feet on your own.  Very few places offer flights as part of the deal these days.  As long as you can support yourself while you are looking for a job, it makes sense to be here in person during the job hunt.

The preference for local hire is a symptom of the system.  Work permit applications require proof of a residency permit. It's a catch 22.  The residence permit process can take several months in total, and decent employers don't like having illegal workers on the premises for that long.  In addition, there might eventually be a problem with your work permit application and the employer could be forced to replace you, leaving them to start the whole process from the beginning with someone else.

If you already have a residence permit the school can immediately submit your work permit application file to the Ilce (local council) for first stage approval.  This means they can get a fairly good early  indication whether or not your work permit will be approved further down the line. 

By the letter of the law you shouldn't be working, and you cannot be shown on any payroll, until you have a work permit.  Therefore, the institution will have to find a way to pay you in cash which involves another level of risk and complication.  The shorter this limbo period is, the better.


Overview of the top three employer types.

  Language Schools

There are literally hundreds of language schools all over Turkey, and they have the highest level of demand for teachers. For this reason, language schools are the easiest places to find work. However, there are a number of unscrupulous employers and a wide variety of pay and conditions.

Don't waste your time and money finding out the hard way, get in touch with us now.

 Private Middle/High Schools

If you have some experience and are happy to teach kids, you will find better pay and longer holidays here! We can offer invaluable first hand advice about what to expect and how to handle the challenges to make your life easier. We work with the best of the best in this category and we can fast track your application with our special contacts. You will need at least a CELTA and a couple of years experience teaching English to children.


Universities require higher levels of qualifications and ideally some experience in teaching at university level.

Unless you have a PHD or Masters degree in the specific subject you intend to teach then most ESL teaching work will be in the form of prep courses. This is a one year intensive program taken by students wishing to study a course which is delivered in the English language, and although their other academic requirements are in order they need to bring their English up to speed.

A DELTA or Masters Degree will give you a distinct advantage because most teachers don't go beyond the CELTA.

Start by applying to Sabancı Üniversitesi, if you want a well paid job. Özyeğin Üniversitesi and Bilgi Üniversitesi next.  Most teachers find it hard to get into universities as they are unable to talk the talk at interview, so prepare well!

It can be hard to get jobs at these institutions as they usually recruit through word of mouth.

If you have excellent credentials you should not encounter any problems getting an interview with the best of them.  It may just be a matter of timing.  Teachers with a good job don't tend to leave mid-year. Many stay for years. 




I hope you found this article useful.  Please ask any questions you have in the comments section below.

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  • By debian 23 Jan 2015

    My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • By Yildiztekin 12 Nov 2015

    Hi I am originally from Turkey but lived in UK since I was 9 years old. I have dual nationality at the moment I wanted to do the TEFL course and teach English in Turkey but I have no university education and no previous experience what can you suggest me thanks

  • By Meenakshi 24 Nov 2015

    I have done masters in Law from India .Do I still need Tefl?

  • By Nihed Medbou 13 Dec 2015

    Hi, I am a native English speaker as I grew up in Ireland, I speak Arabic and French too. Currently, I am in my final year at univeristy, with a major in French and in Linguistics. I wish to teach English to students. I plan to study the CELTA or TEFL course over the summer but I have a question in regards to experience. How do I get experience if I am only going to graduate in May? Is it true that you need a 2 year teaching experience? How is that possible for a student who did nothing but studied for a 3 years in French and Linguistics? Thank you

  • By Fuseini Abdul-Mutala 12 Mar 2016

    hello, I am a BSc. in community nutrition graduate from Ghana-Africa, an english speaking country. i was -posted to a high school to do my national service and i taught science and mathematics for two years. i developed interest in teaching so i enrolled to do a post-graduate diploma in education at the university of education to become a professional teacher. after completion, i also had admission at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences to do masters in nutritional sciences which i am currently studying. i also had the opportunity to teach a high school (mathematics and science) and basic school students on part-time bases. my question is with all these qualifications and experience, do i have a chance to teacher in Turkey?
    Thank you.

  • By osuji 08 Feb 2017

    hi there, i am really glad to get this piece of info. really am considering enrolling for a teaching job at Turkey. i am a 1st Class Graduate of English and Literary Studies from Ahmadu Bello University in ancient town Zaria, Nigeria. i have 3years working experience in teaching based on my related field of core dual discipline English and Literature. i will really want to consider going for a teaching job esp English at Turkey. I am non native speaker of English. how can i enroll for a CELTA course and what are my possible chances of entry.

    • By Chris Poole 10 Feb 2017

      Hi there,
      I don’t think you’ll have any problem enrolling on a CELTA course. Just search for CELTA courses in the city that you want to take it.
      Prices are generally the same everywhere. Many non-native speakers take the CELTA without any trouble.
      You will find it difficult to get a well paid job with job security in Turkey though, due to your nationality I am sorry to say.
      There is an obsession here with hiring only native speakers and even well qualifed non-native speakers find it hard to get anything more than language centre level jobs.
      I wish this wasn’t the case.

      Good luck!

  • By vildan 09 Feb 2017

    Hi, I am originally from Australia but with a Turkish background. I am both an Australian and Turkish resident. I have a Integration/Teacher Aide certificate from Australia and I’ve also got a TESOL certificate. I do not have any sort of university degree. Will these be enough for a work permit?
    Thank you

    • By Chris Poole 10 Feb 2017

      Hi Vildan,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Usually my answer would be no I’m afraid. You would want to be hired as a native teacher for the better salary rates but in order to get a work permit as a non-Turkish citizen you need a university degree and a TEFL certificate.
      You might find a school that was willing to hire you as a Turkish person and register you on the books as something other than a teacher.
      This would be generally fine, and does happen quite often.
      It limits your options slightly but I think your additonal teaching certificate will help swing it in your favour.
      If you would like to send me your CV I can run it past a couple of my client schools for you.

      All the best,


  • By Semra Korkmaz 28 Feb 2017

    Hi there,
    I’m really keen on completing the TESOL course and teaching in Turkey
    My background is Turkish but I’m Australian
    Just wondering will I have any difficulties finding a position without a university degree?

  • By Semra Korkmaz 08 Mar 2017

    Hi I’m from Australia with a turkish background
    I would like to know to find a teaching job in turkey do I need a university degree? Or is the tesol course enough?

  • By Sarah 15 Jul 2017

    Hello Chris, I am an Australian journalist with a degree in Mass Communication. I am currently doing my CELTA course in Indonesia and will be finished soon. I’ve been looking around but can’t seem to find much in the way of jobs over in Istanbul. How would you go about finding something? Thanks!

  • By Asha 16 Aug 2017

    Hello Chris, I am South African, native English speaker with a degree in psychology. I also have a TEFL degree with a pass of 98%, Will I be able to find a well paying job in Turkey? I also speak basic Turkish Language

  • By Leanne 08 Sep 2017

    I’m Leanne. I have been born and raised in the United States and thus English is my native Language. I would love the opportunity to teach in Turkey. Especially English since I teach Language Arts to students currently. Many of them do not speak English as a first language and it requires me to utilize many methods to ensure success. I know I would be a great asset to any school looking for an educator. Thank you for your time.

    Best Regards,


  • By Mohsen Mirzaei 08 Oct 2017

    I’m Mohsen Mirzaei, greeting from Iran.
    Actually, I have PHD degree in English Literature from Mysore Unicersity in south of India. I’m considering enrolling for a teaching job in Turkey. I just want to know, whether I can get opportunity or possible way of entry to any universitiy in Turkey or not.

  • By halah azim 17 Jan 2018

    I’m native from the UK. Have a B.A in engineering and a TESOL and some teaching experience. How much can I expect salary wise? I have an interview soon. Thank you very much.

    • By Mike Jakubowski 30 Mar 2018

      Somewhere between 4,500 TL and 5,500 TL to give you a ball park.

  • By kmbrlymm 09 Mar 2018

    So does the TEFL course have to have the practicum involved? There aren’t any practicum close to me and money is tight. I am a native English speaker and have a Bachelors Degree. THanks for your help!

    • By Mike Jakubowski 30 Mar 2018

      Ideally yes for obvious reasons, but not necessarily!

  • By James 29 Mar 2018

    Hello, I am planning on moving to Turkey in the next year. I have worked there before on two occasions in Ankara and in Izmir for about 5 years combined and had permission to stay in country due to my employment status. I have relocated since then. I have a B.S. and MBA both in business. I currently work and am looking to retire and reside in the Izmir area permanently. I am older and already have a supplemental retirement income. Also we own two apartments in the Izmir area. My wife is a Turkish citizen and we were married in Turkey about 7 years ago. With that being said, I would like to move to Turkey and would like some supplemental income. I have been interesting in teaching ESL courses for several years and feel this is one of the ways to immigrate with employment. I am a native english speaker. I want to get paid above the table..as I am fairly familiar with Turkish labor practices in general. I would like to get a work permit, which is challenging for a foreigner in Turkey. And somewhat decent income to help support for living costs. Eventually I may want to open my own tutoring or personal class teaching facility. I have no direct teaching experience. I have been superising and managing in my work and training employees under me for over 20 years. I am looking to retire in Turkey in the next year or so. What is the basic certification for teaching English I should need and what is desireable? I am a “mature” adult.

    • By Mike Jakubowski 30 Mar 2018

      Hi James,
      Having some previous experience in Turkey is valuable and having a Turkish wife helps too.
      The basic certification required is a University degree and a 120 hour TEFL certificate. The CELTA certificate is more desirable from an employers point of view because of the practical element of the training.
      There is an age restriction on work permits that you might need to look into given you mentioned retirement age. I believe it’s 60 but please check that for yourself. Through your wife you will be able to obtain long term residency but if the age factor is an issue you would only be able to work ‘under the table’ or giving private lessons.

  • By Boateng Victor 13 Apr 2019

    Please l hold a diploma certificate in teaching and master degree .can l have a chance to teach in Turkey.am Ghanaian . thanks

  • By Arash 23 Jul 2019

    I want know can i teach english in turkey with ielts or toefl certicate?with out univercity degree just with ielts and tefl or tesol

  • By Sarah3 16 Oct 2019

    Hi. I hold a National diploma in education certificate, specialising in the foundation phase, with over 10 years teaching experience
    I have teaching liscence. Please let me know if i have a chance to teach in Tureky

  • By Martin Ngolo Esie 12 Jan 2020

    Please I am an English language teacher with a first degree and five years teaching experience.

  • By Martin Ngolo Esie 26 May 2020

    Please I am a Cameroonian.l am an English language teacher .l am a holder of first degree and five years teaching experience.

  • By Saeed khalid 06 Nov 2020

    Applying for Teaching in Middle and High School.

  • By Thahiera 14 Mar 2021

    Hi! I’m doing research before I take on the 120 hour course, I’m from South Africa, native english speaker, but I have no degree, just an NQ5 in banking. In South Africa that’s not quite a degree level, if I’m not mistaken. My heart is set of moving to Turkey & teaching English there. Can you advise on what the likelihood is of me obtaining this or is it best I change direction to some other country?

  • By Ridhwan 23 Mar 2021

    Hi there. I have the following qualifications PTLLS, CELTA and a level 5 CERT-Ed and soon to have QTLS. I also have some teaching experience. As you will have already spotted, I don’t have a university degree. Have I got a chance of getting a teaching job? Would appreciate your response.

  • By Samantha 02 May 2021

    Hi. I am a native English speaker and have completed an online 120-hr TEFL. I have a BA(Hons) degree. I don’t have any direct teaching experience but I have worked on summer camps before with children and I currently volunteer with young people. Would this experience be enough for an entry level teaching role in Istanbul? Do you have any tips on how to get myself there and the best way of finding roles to apply for without direct teaching experience?
    Thank you.

  • By Niha 15 Nov 2021

    Good afternoon Sir/ Madam, I am qualified with the university degree and a degree in Education (B.ed) and I’m from India…. can I get a teacher’s job in Turkey for this qualification? I have total 11 years of experience in teaching.

  • By Career Portal 17 Feb 2022

    Turkey’s location as the bridge between Europe and Asia makes it an enticing gateway destination for UK workers hoping to gain a global business perspective. Graduates may find work in Turkey through large UK companies such as Marks Spencer, HSBC, Vodafone and BP.

  • By Yalçın 23 Feb 2022

    Muğla nın bir ilçesinde bir yabancı dil kursu için native speaker öğretmene ihtiyacımız var. Milli Eğitim yönetmeliklerin uyun olması gerekiyor.
    Yardımcı olursanız sevinirim

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