How to Foot the Bill of Your TEFL Certification Cost

by Published

If you are feeling the urge to teach English abroad you need to get a TEFL certificate. Although not all countries require a TEFL certificate to teach English, it is highly recommended and will give you an upper hand when seeking out the ESL job market. The TEFL course cost should not be your one and only deciding factor that causes you to say yes or no to teaching overseas. Even though the TEFL certification cost is not cheap, don’t let that put you off. As for any professional course, you will need to invest a bit of money. Good news! The money you spend towards a TEFL certificate will quickly pay for itself once you get a teaching job abroad. Getting a TEFL certificate can be a ticket to job security around the world! 

$1 USD on white background 

Every dollar counts! Even this one, that you clearly didn’t need to take a photo of just put it in the bank.

Your anticipated TEFL course cost

TEFL courses have a range of costs, but you can typically predict spending anywhere between $1,600-$2,000. Both a TEFL course online or in person will cover about 100-120 hours of training, part of which is teacher practice training. This is done in no less than four weeks and can be extended over a few months depending on your schedule. The course should be covered by professional instructors and accredited!

So, what’s generally included in a TEFL course? Materials for the course, expert trainers, a community of go-getters like yourself, and help with job placements after the course is finished. On top of that, you will gain a network of other TEFL students from around the world who have the same goals, to teach abroad!

[Get matched with affordable TEFL courses

Be leery of “too good to be true”

Be cautious if the courses seem too cheap. You may be so lucky as to find a TEFL course Groupon, but make sure to check that it is accredited. We’d hate for our teaching abroad journey to start with a silly scam! A TEFL course online can be as little as $200, but having the classroom experience will give you an advantage in many other ways. If you’re just looking for a by-line on your resume or checking off a qualification, this could be an o-kay route. But in general, we recommend taking the course seriously and paying a little more to make sure your training is legit.

Again, read the fine print, consult reviews, and talk to advisors and past participants if at all possible. And most importantly—trust your gut. If you smell a rat, that’s probably because they’re a rat!

Factor in other expenses

You also have to take into account the expenses incurred whether you will be living at home or going abroad. If you take a TEFL course overseas, you could actually end up saving money depending on where you go. An at home course could cost even more than $2,000 once you factor in commutes, rent, and loss of earnings from not working. If you plan to go abroad, you could pay less than that and even find programs that tack on perks, like language classes, meals, and even accommodation. If you choose to take the course in the country you hope to teach in, that will make your transition much smoother!

[Compare TEFL courses side-by-side with MyGoAbroad]

cheers lattes and iced coffee

You what a latte can’t do? Certify you to teach English. Stop paying for them!

Get the most return on your investment

Say you spend upwards of $2,000 on a four week course. After just a month, you come out on the other end with a certificate that can easily get you a job. Now it’s time for the job hunt. Check out these TEFL programs that can almost guarantee you a job as an English teacher abroad post course. Furthermore, there are some countries that pay up to $5,000 a month as an ESL teacher. Hello United Arab Emirates! Although it’s a more competitive country to teach in than others, you can make all of your money back within just weeks and have loads of other benefits on top of your salary.

Now, it’s not all about money, but it is nice to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that having a TEFL certificate will not cause you to go broke for long. Check out the top ten highest paid teaching abroad jobs. If none of those countries are in your “I need to go there” list, don’t worry. Even smaller salary jobs still have perks of living in a country where the cost of living is low. Your TEFL certificate will be worth it overall. Bonus, you can go all over the world learning new cultures, teaching new people, and growing professionally as an ESL teacher abroad. 

How to pay for your TEFL course

1. Save money 

Start a TEFL course cost piggy bank and throw any extra money into this. Dig between the couches or fish out coins in the bottom of a fountain. Make goals to save each day, week, or month. Savings is crucial to help you cover the costs of getting TEFL certified. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline, but the payoff is pretty damn spectacular.

If your TEFL certification cost is about $2,000 and you want to have that cash in a year, you will need to save $38.46 a week. That is just $5.50 per day! 

2. Kick habits! 

Along with savings goals, skip the coffee. Do you really need a “venti double whip extra foam overly caffeinated heart attack waiting to happen mocha?” No. Because the price of that ridiculous coffee that no barista ever wants to make is actually the amount that you will save to put into your TEFL course cost piggy bank. The price of your coffee could be going into your account to get you a TEFL certificate! This is a much better choice for your health, career, and life as a teacher abroad.

Whatever your guilty pleasure may be, think about balancing your priorities and weigh the importance of getting a TEFL certificate to teach abroad. It might not be easy to kick habits that you take for granted. But the small amounts of money that you can save on a daily basis will add up in the long-run.  

[The Ultimate Guide to TEFL Certification for Americans Who Want to Teach Abroad]

bikes lined up at spin class

You might need to skip spin class while you save up for your TEFL certificate. Just go for a walk, it’s fine.

3. Get a job. Or second job. Or third job….

Nothing in life is free. And that is why you need to work. Maybe you need to pour coffee, scrub toilets, babysit, or walk dogs. Whatever it may be, it will grow your TEFL fund before you know it. Say you get a job—or additional job—at $10 an hour for 10 hours a week. That is an extra $400 per month. You could save $2,000 in just four to five months! If you don’t think you have time for that, count how many hours you spend each day scrolling through Instagram. Getting a part time job is not necessarily about having enough time, it’s about balancing the time that you have. 

4. Live below your means

Get rid of unnecessary expenses. Take inventory on what you own and decide if you really need it. Do you use that gym membership? Do you watch all 500 of those channels on cable? Can you have a garage sale and get rid of clothing or odds and ends? Can you downgrade your phone plan? Eat out a little less? If you do eat out, order water and skip the appetizers. Minimize your lifestyle and see if you can live on a little less while you save for your TEFL certification cost. 

5. Test out your entrepreneurial skills

You may not be able to sell your cute clay pottery you made for your mom when you were five, but are you artsy at all in other ways, such as knitting, photography, or painting? Hello Etsy. If you’re not so crafty, consider having a bake sale, playing music at a bar (or the streets! #buskerlife), or hosting a fun run.

You never know about your inner entrepreneur until you try. Be creative!

6. Apply for TEFL scholarships

What better way to cut your TEFL qualification cost than accessing free money? Apply for a scholarship to get TEFL certified! It’s never a good idea to pass up free money if you can make it happen. Check out the Premier TEFL scholarship that can save you loads. Not only would you be saving money, but you would have the opportunity to take the course in central Europe where you can spend time learning about new cultures as well.

Pro tip: Consider applying for scholarships to volunteer abroad and starting out as a volunteer ESL teacher to lessen your immediate startup costs to living abroad. Then, while you’re out there, switch gears to a TEFL certification program and find an ESL teaching job. Easy-peasy!

[Download this planning timeline to help prepare for your TEFL Certification]

homemade muffins on a plate

Mama’s muffin recipe is finally paying off.

7. Start fundraising

Send out letters or emails to family and friends and tell them about why you want to get a TEFL certificate. Explain in writing and photos what your goals are for teaching ESL and getting certified to do so. Offer to have a fundraising dinner to explain your plans for getting a TEFL certificate and what that really means. Many people don’t even know what a TEFL is, but if you explain through seeking donations, it could spark some interest.

FundMyTravel is also a great way to seek out donations to get TEFL certified at home or abroad. If you write up a persuasive summary about your calling to get qualified to teach abroad, you may just get some donations for your TEFL course cost from those who want to help make your dreams come true. It never hurts to ask!

Along with asking, if a holiday or your birthday is coming up suggest to your parents or grandparents that they can pitch in toward your TEFL course fund. The best presents are the ones that are practical and get you on the road ready for adventure. 

[What is the Best TEFL Certification?]

8. Plan to book affordable travel 

Check flights in advance to map out where is most affordable. For instance, teaching abroad and paying for tickets to Japan will likely have more up-front costs than deciding to teach in Mexico. Getting around Southeast Asia is going to be cheaper than getting around the USA. Check out the cost of living of where you want to get TEFL certified, so that you have anticipated knowledge of what your other expenses may be. If you are wanting to get TEFL certified abroad, see if any meals or accommodation are included or discounted with your course. 

Is a TEFL certificate worth the investment?

The TEFL qualification cost is worth it! Don’t let the TEFL certification cost keep you from living out your dreams of teaching abroad. Even if you don’t have a lot of disposable income, you can still make it happen. Do some research about what TEFL certification program you plan to enroll in and where you want it to be done. Once you figure out that, then write down your goals for how much you plan to save each week. Writing things down can really help with making those goals a reality. With a bit of planning around finances, it can be done. The teaching salary and life experiences you will soon have will make you wonder why you ever debated if it was worth the investment.

[Watch this: Is a TEFL Certificate Worth is? Will it Get Me a Better Job?]

Plane taking off

Book budget travel if you can!

With these tips in mind, you’ll cover your TEFL certification cost in no time

It’s always exciting to get caught up in the hype of planning to work abroad. But it’s important to remember why you are choosing to get a TEFL to teach English overseas. If you absolutely love the idea of working with English language learners, then go for it! Some days will be all fun, games, dancing, and singing, while other days the students may give you blank wide-eyed stares. But that is all part of the ESL adventure. You will learn in your TEFL course how to handle all sorts of situations and be the best teacher that you can be. The influence that you will have on your students is going to give them the ability to communicate around the world, which, overall, can make the world a better place.   

Choose from a variety of low-cost TEFL courses now