TEFL Courses in the Philippines

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A Guide to Earning TEFL Certification in the Philippines

While the Philippines long time colonial occupiers were the Spanish, the Americans came in shortly after the Spanish American War and stayed through World War II. The result is a country with two national languages, Filipino or Tagalog, and English. With a population of locals who have a high degree of English language skills and a desire to work abroad, the demand for TEFL in the Philippines is high. And as an affordable, tropical destination to live and study in, TEFL certification courses in the Philippines are highly appealing to foreigners.


TEFL courses in the Philippines are primarily located in the two largest cities, Manila and Cebu. Cebu is home to several renowned universities and is located in the Visayan Region. While it’s the second largest city in the Philippines, it is easily navigable and surrounded by some beautiful beaches and diving spots. Home to hundreds of call centers, taking TEFL courses in Cebu or finding an ESL teaching positions isn’t difficult.

Manila is a larger and wilder city with many more urban challenges. The neighborhoods of Makati and the surrounding area house both TEFL programs and English Language programs.  

An alternative to the big city is a big resort. Boracay is a world class beach destination with high-end hotels like Shangri La, and local hotels that cost as little as $20 USD per night. TEFL programs in Boracay allow participants to enjoy white sand beaches and blaring reggae music outside of their coursework. Boracay is an affordable beach destination to earn your TEFL certificate in the Philippines.

Courses & Programs

Most TEFL and TESOL programs in the Philippines are located in Cebu and typically last four weeks. These intensive TEFL courses include 120 hours of coursework. Classes usually run from 9am until 5pm and include at least one week of classroom teaching experience. TEFL students are expected to be native speakers, have a high school diploma and be at least 19 years old, though some programs accept students of all nationalities.

Another option is earning a TEFL certificate in the Philippines while volunteering. Some volunteer providers offer TEFL courses as part of an overall travel experience, giving back to communities while expanding professional skills.

Salary & Costs

Program costs range from $400 USD to $1,500 USD, with some providers including housing. The Philippines is one of the most affordable countries in the world. Cabs cost only a few dollars, street food is inexpensive, and an apartment can be rented for $200 to $500 USD a month.

Staying and teaching beyond your TEFL certification courses in the Philippines, means a modest income of $350 to $700 USD per month. However, there are some teaching English jobs at call centers and multinational companies that use native speakers as trainers, and these jobs will often pay higher. Public teaching jobs in smaller villages in the Philippines usually don’t include a salary, or pay significantly less and are difficult to get, as they require a work visa.

Accommodation & Visas

Foreigners can expect to find apartments in most medium and large-sized cities. They typically include a small kitchen and bedroom with a toilet. Water heaters are uncommon, but a cool shower is refreshing given the hot temperature in the Philippines.

Most nationalities can stay for up to 30 days in the Philippines with a free tourist visa which is acquired automatically upon arrival in the Philippines. For longer stays, you will need to apply for a Tourist visa extension at a local immigration office. When arriving in the Philippines or applying for any visa extension, visitors must provide proof of planned departure from the country (i.e. a flight exiting the Philippines). The first tourist visa extension is for 59 days, and after that extension options vary in duration and price and can be selected based on the needs of the individual.

Student visas are hard to get, and work visas are extremely tedious to obtain and much more expensive. Work visas require visits to immigration offices in either Cebu or Manila. Work permits must be obtained to teach English in the Philippines in formal employment positions, such as those that are paid, and is typically filed by an employer once a teacher is hired. An average work permit allows individuals to work in the Philippines from one to two years at a time before renewal or re-application is required.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

If you want toearn a TEFL certificate in an extremely affordable location, the Philippines should be on your list. The country itself is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, as a developing nation, the disparity between the rich and the poor is dramatic. The Philippines attracts many foreigners because of its beaches, diving, and adventure sports, but many come to teach English in rural villages or volunteer in community development.

While English is one of the official languages, both locals and foreigners participate in English language programs to further their skills and gain fluency. Perfect English can lead to call center jobs. Teachers won’t get rich in the Philippines, but they will benefit from affordable certification programs and minimal daily expenses.

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A Guide To
Earning TEFL Certification in the Philippines


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