How to Become an IELTS Examiner: The 5 Steps

Though many ESL teachers we have encountered have an avid passion for studying and imparting knowledge on the English language, some ESL teachers seek advancement opportunities in ESL beyond the classroom. We often hear of teachers becoming managers, sales consultants, recruiters, and private tutors.

But one avenue that is often overlooked is becoming an IELTS Examiner. This is not only a great way to gain career experience, but also to earn an additional income that can be well-paid, and sometimes more than the income earned in a regular teaching job.

What’s more, many former IELTS Examiners have gone on to become successful IELTS preparation trainers, making full-time careers helping people accomplish their academic and professional goals by achieving the desired IELTS score.

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There’s a world of opportunity to those who meet the qualifications and have a strong work ethic. Read this post to discover what it takes to become an IELTS Examiner and whether it’s a good fit for you​.

How to Become an IELTS Examiner: 5 Steps

What Does an IELTS Examiner Do?​

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized test developed and administered by British Council, IDP Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English. The test has been designed to assess an individual’s English language proficiency. For those intending to study, work or immigrate to an English-speaking country, IELTS is an accepted (and often required) proof of one’s English language proficiency.

According to British Council  more than 5 million people across 140 countries take the IELTS each year. The cost to take the IELTS ranges between $215 – $250.

IELTS is comprised of the following tests:

  • Listening
  • Reading (Academic or General)
  • Writing (Academic or General)
  • Speaking

IELTS Examiners are responsible for administering and scoring the writing and speaking tests.

A happy student showing his IELTS test results.
A happy student showing his IELTS test results.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an IELTS Examiner?

To become an IELTS Examiner, you must have:

  • An undergraduate degree or higher, or demonstrated equivalent qualification(s)
  • TEFL/TESOL qualification from a recognized institution
  • Substantial relevant teaching experience, the majority of which must relate to adult students (16 years and over)
  • Two references to include with your application
  • Original education degrees and certificates to present at the interview

Aside from these qualifications, IELTS Examiners are required to demonstrate consistency in how they evaluate tests in accordance with very stringent standards. For example, one of the prerequisites an IELTS Examiner must meet is to consistently score a specific number of written tests with accuracy. Thus, IELTS Examiners need to be consistent, objective, and attentive to detail.

Evaluating and scoring tests can also be tedious, and people who are a good fit for the role of IELTS Examiner have a high level of comfort assessing many tests and ensuring their assessments adhere to standards.

It’s also important that IELTS Examiners have the ability to set candidates at ease during the Speaking Test, as they will undoubtedly feel nervous before and during the test. IELTS Examiners should be particularly effective at getting candidates to relax and setting up an atmosphere that encourages them to speak comfortably and naturally.

IELTS Examiners often work between 2 and 7 hours during each testing session. Punctuality, diligence, and accountability are vital traits to being successful in this role.

The upside is that IELTS Examiners are well-paid. According to PaySa the average pay for IELTS Examiners is $50,000 per year, with top earners pulling in over $66,000 per year.

What Steps Do You Need to Take?

If you meet the minimum qualifications to be an IELTS Examiner and feel you would be a good fit for the role, you can begin the process as follows:

1. Apply at an IELTS test center

IELTS test centers are located across the world, and each test center is responsible for recruiting and training its pool of IELTS Examiners. Depending on openings, applications are reviewed, and candidates are shortlisted for an interview.

2. Complete the induction

Shortlisted candidates who have successfully completed the interview will be required to complete an induction process.

3. Complete a 4-Day training

Upon completing the induction process, the shortlisted candidate must complete the IELTS Examiner training, which is facilitated by an experienced IELTS Trainer. The training is conducted over four days.

4. Complete the certification process

Applicants must then complete a certification set to demonstrate that they can apply the assessment criteria accurately and reliably. If successful, they become certificated as examiners.

5. Undergo regular monitoring

IELTS Examiners are monitored up to four times in a year, and at least once in two years. During your first year as an examiner, you will be monitored at least three times. The purpose of monitoring is to ensure examiners score IELTS speaking and writing tests consistently and reliably, and implement the corrective actions as provided to them in written feedback.

Is it Difficult to become an IELTS Examiner?

If you are an experienced ESL teacher with the required qualifications, you can apply for an IELTS Examiner position at an IELTS Test Center. You will first want to check that the IELTS Test Center is hiring new people to join their pool of examiners.

The induction, training and certification processes are both intensive and rigorous, so you need to be committed to go through that process with a strong intention of learning and developing the skills needed to be an effective examiner.

You will also need to be open to receiving feedback, particularly during your first year, as the purpose of the monitoring processes is to ensure examiners are not only consistent with their test scoring, but implementing improvements to their performance. To maintain your IELTS Examiner status, you will need to re-certify every two years.

Finally, as long as you are an active IELTS Examiner, you are not allowed to reveal this to anyone, and not permitted to give IELTS band scores outside the exam itself. So, beyond the qualifications, skills and personality traits required to be successful as an IELTS Examiner, you will be bound to a strict confidentiality agreement.

Wrapping Up

We hope this quick introduction to becoming an IELTS Examiner has helped you take a step forward. Becoming an IELTS Examiner is one of the most overlooked, yet highly rewarding opportunities for advancement for ESL teachers looking to take their careers to the next level.

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