TEFL Courses in New Zealand

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A Guide to TEFL Courses in New Zealand

Type "New Zealand" into Google and be prepared to start a massive daydreaming session (this small act alone can inspire anyone to book a one-way ticket!). Thankfully, pursuing TEFL courses in New Zealand is possible, and will allow you to explore a new place, experience the kiwi culture firsthand, and gain valuable professional experience while you are at it. New Zealand is home to over a dozen national parks, covering miles of varied landscapes, worth exploring, but the cities are full of real energy and spunk too. When not planning the next adjective-word-order lesson, it will be easy to fill your free-time with adventurous activities during any TEFL program in New Zealand!


The entire country of New Zealand is just as gorgeous as the panoramic views you see when you take your eyes off Legolas to the backdrops of Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit (where these movies were filmed!). No matter if you choose to earn your TEFL certificate in New Zealand on the North or the South Island, beautiful beaches and great hiking trails will not be out of reach. 

“The City of Sails” - Auckland offers all of the benefits of big city living with nearby access to beaches and nature-galore. It is nestled between two harbors on the North Island land and boasts mild weather all year round. While it has the largest population in New Zealand, it maintains a small-town feel, thanks to charming neighborhoods tucked away in its corners. Whether you are into the spirited nightlife, small cafes, and live-music, or lovely little markets, all of the above can be found in Auckland.

“Windy Welly” - Wellington has a population of 200,000 and has affectionately been called "the coolest little capital." This active city is surrounded by 225 miles of walking paths and bike trails, so despite the smaller size, you’ll never be far from a nice stroll. Wellington is a culinary hotspot too, with over 750 restaurants and cafes. The most popular neighborhood among TEFL students is Mount Victoria, just a 10 minute walk from the city center.

“The Garden City” - Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island with a population of 330,000 people. The vibe in this city is a little more laidback, and they are proud of it. There is no better place to relax than in the beautiful Victorian England-style parks and gardens that you will find throughout the city. While Christchurch is known for a more relaxed vibe, it also plays host to many lively festivals throughout the year (like the “Festival of Romance” and the “World Buskers Festival”), so you can always find inspiration for your next ESL lesson!

“The Adventure Capital of the World” - Queenstown is surrounded by mountains and settled next to a lake, making it a haven for anyone that loves adventure sports. From skiing to paragliding, you can find it all in Queenstown. For the more adventurous souls, the city is also home to the 500 foot Nevis bungy jump, which is the highest in the world! The town itself is small and walkable, but with tourists from all over the world flooding in year round, you will definitely meet many interesting people (both inside and outside your school grounds) while taking TEFL courses in Queenstown.

TEFL Courses in New Zealand

If you want to travel the world, but haven’t won the lottery yet, you could probably use some extra money to fund your travels. A TEFL/TESOL certificate can be the answer to your financial impediment. TEFL programs abroad are the perfect way to go almost anywhere, interact with different cultures, and get paid to do it, and TEFL programs in New Zealand are no exception!

Time Commitment. Most TEFL programs in New Zealand last 120 or more hours. TEFL classes are usually flexible, depending on your needs, and there are online courses, in-person courses, or a combination of both available throughout New Zealand. It is possible to take TEFL courses in New Zealand part-time or full-time, so it can take as long as three months or as little as one month to get TEFL certified. 

Course Content. Whether you have teaching experience or not, TEFL courses in New Zealand will include a variety of topics to prepare you for teaching English abroad. TEFL courses will help you learn the basics of teaching, like how to teach grammar and phonetics, as well as how to plan your lessons. TEFL programs will also help you improve your presenting skills, practice being more clear and direct with your language, and learn how to teach students at different language levels and abilities. Some TEFL courses in New Zealand will even include practice teaching hours, which is a safe way to get experience before you start applying for ESL jobs abroad! 

Post-Certification Benefits. Many TEFL programs in New Zealand offer participants job assistance upon completion of the coursework. In fact, some international TEFL training companies provide life-time job assistance anywhere in the world if you want to teach English abroad somewhere beyond New Zealand in the future.

One thing to keep in mind is that many English teaching jobs in New Zealand are available in summer camps, where international students come to practice English with native speakers. The prime hiring season for these types of jobs is between November and December (New Zealand’s summer starts in December), so while your friends in the northern hemisphere are shoveling snow, you could be lounging on the beach!

Costs & Affordability

As you start to look into TEFL courses in New Zealand, it is a good idea to figure out what is important to you. Making a list of priorities will help you sort through TEFL program opportunities and find the best option for you. Do you want job assistance? Do you want to teach kids? Do you want hands-on experience? These are all things that are worth thinking about as you read the course descriptions and weigh the associated costs of earning TEFL certification in New Zealand.

TEFL courses in New Zealand will vary in cost depending on what is on your “must-have” list. Prices can fall anywhere between $300 and $2,000 for 120 hours of accredited TEFL coursework. Most TEFL program costs will include learning materials and some teaching supplies, like lesson plans and textbooks. For an additional fee, some TEFL programs in New Zealand will offer extra perks, like housing or visa assistance. 

The good news is, once you find a teaching job in New Zealand, the pay is relatively good. New Zealanders appreciate their teachers and pay accordingly for full time teaching positions. An ESL teacher could make about $3,000 a month working for a public school in New Zealand, with even more job opportunities if you have some previous teaching experience. For private English language lessons, teachers can make about $20 an hour. 

The cost of living in New Zealand is known to be relatively cheap, compared to most big American, Australian, and European cities. General necessities are more affordable in most places; however, food and eating out is notoriously more pricey. To help with that, try to eat items that are in season or readily available (lamb chops, anyone?).

Accommodation & Visas

Housing is not usually included as part of TEFL certification programs in New Zealand, but sometimes language schools will help arrange a flatshare or dorm style living at an extra cost for TEFL students. Even if your TEFL program provider does not provide housing, they will often have recommendations, so it is always good to check with them first! They may also be able to connect you to your TEFL classmates so you can make living arrangements together.

New Zealand offers short-term visas for people between the ages of 18 and 30 from most nations, which are usually available for a 12-month time period and fairly easy to get.  To apply, TEFL students just need to submit a form on the New Zealand Immigration website. The basic requirements are that you are within the age range and agree to having health insurance during your stay. You will receive an email from the government a week of applying; it is quick and painless! Another benefit of this visa is that it allows you to work in many different short-term positions while earning TEFL certification in New Zealand, which is great for a little extra money on the side. Check out GoAbroad’s Kiwi Embassy Directory to learn more about visas.

Benefits & Challenges

A major plus of getting your TEFL certificate in New Zealand is that you can become fully immersed in a new culture, but still have the comfort of living in an English-speaking country. Being able to speak the local language will make a good amount of logistical stuff (like visa applications, apartment hunting, and job searches!) a whole lot easier. 

There are great opportunities to work as an English teacher in New Zealand, but it is a little more challenging to find a long-term job. While it may be a great location for earning your TEFL certification abroad, you might plan to take your newly-certified-self to a country that doesn’t speak English natively to find an English teaching job. However, if you’re dead-set on a sweet-as life down under, use research, hard work, and the Kiwi “can-do” attitude to find an ESL job in New Zealand.

The beautiful country of New Zealand has many quality TEFL programs that will give you a great start as an ESL teacher. So this is your chance: find a TEFL certification program and book that one-way ticket to Middle Earth!

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