Teaching English in Western Europe can be difficult for American citizens. This is because English speakers from all over the EU are able to work legally and easily in any other EU country. So, much of the demand for native English speakers / teachers is covered by the UK.
It is still possible to get a job teaching in Western Europe, but it’s not going to be as easy as teaching English in Asia.
The first step is to ensure that you are well qualified to teach abroad. Get your college degree (any major will do), then get a CELTA certificate. CELTA is probably the best way to go because they are widely recognized. Also, a TEFL or TESL cert will really help you to get your foot in the door. If you want to teach in Western Europe, you’ll need some kind of certification or a graduate degree in international education – a bit experience couldn’t hurt either.
Some Western European countries make it easier to get work permits (and thus, get work) than others. According to websites and blog babble, Portugal and German may be two of your best bets for English teaching jobs.
If you’ve got another location in mind, consider freelancing as a English teacher / tutor. Many expat teachers find work from locals and businesses who are looking to improve their English. You can call companies who do international trade, and companies who deal with tourists to find some businesses to work with, and you can place ads on college and high school campuses for your tutoring services. Keep in mind that it can be very difficult to set up your own freelance biz, and you shouldn’t expect to make enough money to live for at least the first 6 months. A better be would be to look for a local freelance language tutoring agency. Much like a temporary employment agency, these agencies set you up with work, usually teaching seminars on conversational / business English for local business who deal with international clients.
Teaching English abroad in Western Europe is certainly a possibility, for Americans looking to teach English overseas, but it won’t be as easy as securing a teaching job in Asia, or elsewhere.