Do you want a job that can take you all over the world after graduation? Perhaps you’re looking for work that fits in around your studies? Or maybe you’re looking for a fun way to spend a few months abroad over the summer months and earn a bit of money while you’re at it.

TEFL can tick all those boxes! If you’re part of your way through your studies or approaching graduation there are opportunities for you in this rapidly growing and innovating industry. To find out how you can get started in TEFL keep reading on.

What is TEFL?

Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) involves teaching English language learners, whether that’s abroad, online or in your home country. EFL teachers work with students of all ages and abilities, in schools, language centres, universities, summer schools, within businesses, and in many more settings.

There are an estimated 2 billion English language learners worldwide, which means the market for qualified EFL teachers is huge.

And to get started in this exciting industry all you need is a TEFL qualification (more on that shortly) and fluency in English. That’s it. No previous experience is required, you don’t need to speak another language, and your degree doesn’t have to be related to teaching.

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Travel the world with TEFL

With TEFL you can get paid to travel the world. Just check out where TEFL has taken some of our course graduates!

EFL teachers can live and work abroad and experience a country like the locals do. Become immersed in a different culture, pick up a new language, meet people from around the world – it’s all possible with teaching English abroad.

Where there are English language learners there are jobs and there are employers across the globe looking for people just like you.

To find out more about teaching English abroad check out our Guide to Teaching English Abroad.

Work from home: teach English online

You don’t have to hop on a plane to TEFL, it’s possible to earn money teaching English right at home. The online teaching market is booming and offers flexible work that can fit in around your studies and even provide a full-time income after graduation.

There are hundreds of online teaching companies and teaching platforms out there. They’re a great place to start gaining experience, providing you with the students to teach and, often, the lesson materials and syllabus. You can also work for yourself as a freelance online teacher, potentially increasing your earnings and become fully in charge of your schedule.

One of the great things about online teaching is that the start up costs are low. All you need to start earning money online is a TEFL qualification, a webcam and a reliable internet connection!

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How much do TEFL teachers earn?

How much TEFL teachers can earn depends one where they work. You can expect to be paid enough to live comfortably in any country, but if your ambition is to save as much money as possible then this will be more achievable in some places than others.

There are a few things to weigh up when looking at salaries, such as living costs and what benefits are included in your contact.

In Japan, for example, average salaries range from £1,600 to £2,200, while in Korea the average is £1,300 to £2,000. Now, it might look like you can earn more money teaching in Japan, but you’re actually more likely to save a higher amount on a lower salary in South Korea. Why? Living costs in South Korea are cheaper, for one thing, but it’s also common for employers to include accommodation and other benefits in a teacher’s contract. These are all things to consider when looking at earnings.

To find out how much you can earn as a TEFL teacher in dozens of countries see the table below!

Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Cambodia
Guide
£680 - £1,000
($900 - $1,300)
No November No No Yes Under 65
China
Guide
£1,000 – £2,000
($1,300 – $2,575)
Yes September No Yes Yes, if degree obtained from an English-speaking country Under 55
Hong Kong
Guide
£1,550 – £6,300
($2,000 – $8,380)
Yes August No Not usually Yes Under 60
India
Guide
£120 – £775
($150 – $1,000)
Yes April Yes No Yes None
Indonesia
Guide
£565 – £1,030
($745 – $1,355)
Yes July No Not usually No Under 60
Japan
Guide
£1,600 – £2,000
($2,100 – $2,675)
Yes April No Sometimes Yes Under 65
Kazakhstan
Guide
£360 – £470
($465 – $600)
Yes August Yes Yes Yes None
Malaysia
Guide
£550 – £1,450
($720 – $1,900)
Yes January Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 65
Myanmar
Guide
£600 – £1,500
($800 – $2,000)
Yes June Preferred Sometimes No Under 52
Mongolia
Guide
£630 – £1,000
($875 – $1,400)
Yes September Yes Sometimes Yes None
Nepal
Guide
Voluntary No April No Sometimes Yes None
South Korea
Guide
£1,280 – £1,600
($1,670 – $2,000)
Yes March No Yes No Under 62
Taiwan
Guide
£1,335 – £1,735
($1,700 – $2,220)
Yes September No Sometimes No Under 65
Thailand
Guide
£740 – £980
($1,000 – $1,280)
Yes May No Sometimes Yes None
Vietnam
Guide
£920 - £ 1,500
($1,200 to $2,000)
Yes August No No Yes Under 60
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Austria
Guide
£700 - £2,600
($850 - 3,200)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Belgium
Guide
£1,455 - £1,780
($1,800 - $2,200)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Czech Republic
Guide
£500 – £1,285
$600 – $1,450)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Denmark
Guide
£2,900 - £3,900
($3,600 - $4,800)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Estonia
Guide
£720 - £900
($920 - $1,150)
Preferred September Preferred Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Finland
Guide
£700 - £3,050
($900 - $3,850)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
France
Guide
£926 – £1,852
($1,082 – $2,164)
Yes September Preferred No Yes None
Germany
Guide
£1,1123 - £1,872
($1,297 - $2,162)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Greece
Guide
£630 – £900
($790 – $1,100)
Yes September No No Yes None
Hungary
Guide
£390 - £650
($500 - $830)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Italy
Guide
£1,054 – £1,229
($1,312 – $1,531)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Netherlands £1,300 - £2,600
($1,600 - $2,800)
Preferred September Yes No Yes None
Norway
Guide
£2,100 - £2,500
($2,580 - $3,090)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Poland
Guide
£400 – £700
($480 – $850)
Yes September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Portugal
Guide
£616 – £880
($756 – $1,080)
Yes September Preferred No Yes None
Romania
Guide
£200 - £460
($260 - 580)
Preferred September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Russia
Guide
£800 - £1,300
($1,000 - $1,600)
Preferred September Preferred Sometimes Yes None
Slovakia
Guide
£330 - £900
($400 - $1,120)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Slovenia £550 - £950
($700 - $1,200)
Preferred October Preferred No Yes None
Spain
Guide
£614 - £1,317
($758 - $1,623)
Preferred September No No Yes None
Sweden
Guide
£1,100 - £2,400
($1,400 - $3,000)
Preferred September Preferred No Yes None
Switzerland
Guide
£1,850 - £2,475
($2,260 - $3,015)
Preferred August/September Preferred No Yes None
Turkey
Guide
£170 - £575
($220 - $730)
Yes September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Ukraine
Guide
£215 - £920
($260 - $1,125)
Preferred September No Accommodation sometimes included Yes None
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Argentina
Guide
£500 - £950
($600 - $1,200)
No March Preferred No Yes None
Bolivia
Guide
£400 - £550
($500 - $700)
No February Preferred No Yes None
Brazil
Guide
£650 - £900
($800 - $1,100)
No February No No Yes None
Chile
Guide
£550 - £800
($700 - $1,000)
No March No No Yes None
Colombia
Guide
£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
No January/February No No Yes Under 62
Ecuador
Guide
£400 - £650
($500 - $800)
Preferred May Preferred No Yes None
Guatemala
Guide
£400 - £550
($500 - $700)
Preferred January No No Yes None
Mexico
Guide
£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Preferred August No Sometimes Yes None
Peru
Guide
£325 - £650
($400 - $800)
Yes March Preferred Sometimes Yes Under 70
Uruguay
Guide
£325 - £800
($400 - $1000)
Preferred March Preferred No Yes None
Country Avg. monthly salary Degree required Start of term Teaching experience Housing & flights included Suitable for non-native English speakers Age restrictions
Algeria
Guide
£550 - £900
($700 - $1,100)
Yes March No No No None
Bahrain
Guide
£1,200 - £2,500
($1,500 - $3,000)
Yes January Yes Yes No Under 60
Egypt £400 - £700
($500 - $900)
Yes September Preferred No No None
Jordan
Guide
£500 - £950
($600 - $1,100)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Kuwait
Guide
£1,200 - £2,000
($1,500 - $2,500)
Yes September Yes Yes Yes Under 60
Lebanon
Guide
£650 - £1,200
($800 - $1,500)
Preferred August No No Yes None
Morocco
Guide
£400 - £800
($500 - $1,000)
Yes September No No Yes None
Qatar
Guide
£1,200 - £2,800
($1,500 - $3,500)
Yes September Yes Yes No None
Saudi Arabia
Guide
£1,600 - £3,200
($2,000 - $4,000)
Yes August Yes Yes No Under 60
UAE £1,600 - £4,000
($2,000 - $5,000)
Yes August Yes Yes No Under 65

Getting TEFL qualified: everything you need to know

To teach English abroad or online there are two basic things you need: fluency in English and a TEFL qualification.

A TEFL qualification will prepare you with the skills and knowledge you need to get started teaching for the first time. A good TEFL course will cover English grammar, TEFL methodology, lesson planning, classroom management, and much more.

Employers abroad and online require teachers to have at least a 120-hour TEFL qualification from an accredited provider, so it’s very important to ensure you take a course that meets this criteria.

Qualify online

You can get TEFL qualified entirely online and study when it works for you. This is a great option for those with busy schedules as well as those on a budget, as online TEFL courses are significantly cheaper than a classroom course such as the CELTA.

But do employers recognise online-only qualifications? Yes! As long as it has been gained through a properly accredited TEFL course provider.

TEFL accreditation

Accreditation is key when choosing a TEFL course, particularly since it’s one of the first things a potential employer will look at. With no overarching accrediting body, the world of TEFL courses can be a bit like the wild west, with nothing stopping anyone from setting up and marketing a TEFL course. You can find extremely cheap courses on sites like Groupon, but just because something calls itself a TEFL course doesn’t mean it will be accepted by employers.

What exactly is accreditation? Accreditation is essentially quality control – it’s conducted by an external organisation and granted if the course provider meets the standards they have set. A good TEFL course provider will have accreditation from several established and reputable bodies that will accredit a wide variety of courses. This then gives you assurance about the quality of the course you sign up for, as well as giving employers assurance that you’ve undertaken training of a high standard.

We’re proud to be the most accredited TEFL course provider in the UK, and you can read more about that here.

TEFL hours and levels

TEFL courses are measured in hours, with 120 hours being the industry standard. Taking a course with fewer hours will put you at a disadvantage, while going above and beyond the basic requirement can help to give your CV a boost.  

For many graduates a 120-hour course will be sufficient, but if you’re looking for more comprehensive training a Level 5 course can be a great option. Our Level 5 TEFL qualifications are regulated by Ofqual.

If you’re not sure what course is right for you take a look at our post all about TEFL hours and levels.

How long it takes to get qualified

Most people studying towards a TEFL qualification in their spare time complete the course within 10 to 12 weeks. With self-paced online study you can work through the course as quickly or as slowly as you like, so if you’re too busy one week to work on it that’s not a problem.

How much it costs

Our 120-hour TEFL courses start from £159.50 and our Level 5 courses from £299. Our course fees include everything, from course materials to your hard copy certificate – we hate hidden fees just as much as you do!

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