How much money do I need to get started?
You will need a TEFL Certification to teach at a legitimate school or language institute. Onsite TEFL certification courses can cost from $1700 – $2400, while online courses run from $196 to $1300. You can check out our course comparison chart for a great breakdown of TEFL course offerings and prices. Some programs and countries where teachers are high in demand will even pay for your TEFL certification.
You’ll also need to budget for travel expenses to get settled in your new home. Most high-paying TEFL destinations require long flights and expensive airfare. It is even possible to get airfare reimbursement for some TEFL jobs.
What countries pay the most?
Asia and the Middle East continue to rule as the highest-paying countries for teaching ESL. The Middle East, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all boast salaries in the $2000-$4000 range. The UAE is among the highest-paying locations, but they rarely hire teachers without experience.
Asia, South Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan all offer decent salaries in the $2000 range. Japan pays a bit more, but the job market is highly competitive in comparison to other Asian countries. The salary in Vietnam is slightly lower, but jobs are easy to get and the cost of living is low.
Both China and Saudi Arabia will hire new teachers; China will often reimburse your airfare and also widely accepts online certifications.
What countries pay the least?
Central and South America and Thailand tend to pay less, although the cost of living is typically quite low. Although you may not save a lot of money teaching in these countries, it is possible to live with a decent quality of life as an English teacher.
Will I actually save money?
You will save the most money by teaching in a country that pays well and has a relatively low cost of living. Vietnam, South Korea, and Oman have a particularly low cost of living. You can also save money by looking for a program that offers housing, airfare reimbursement, or bonuses. If you are really motivated, you can teach extra private classes to amp up your savings.
Go get your hustle on!
Many TEFL teachers have paid off college loans or stashed serious savings from their time overseas. Additionally, teach abroad experience is a great way to jumpstart your resume and pave the way for a more lucrative career back at home. So go make it happen! If you are willing to teach in Asia or the Middle East and you are hardworking, you can indeed have the experience of a lifetime while saving a good deal of money.
Check out our handy TEFL Jobs at a Glance chart to find out what to expect when teaching in countries all around the world!