September 23, 2017

How To Become A TEFL Teacher

If you’re struggling to find work in this country, you’ll find it’s a very different situation overseas! Many countries are crying out for fluent English speakers just like you to teach English as a TEFL teacher. You don’t need any previous experience or qualifications, you don’t need to speak the local language and some countries will even pay you up to £2k per month – but what exactly IS TEFL and how do you get started? Is it scary? Can you really teach? Katie Baxter at i-to-i TEFL is here to take you through the basics…

What is TEFL?

Become a TEFL Teacher

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. You become TEFL qualified by taking a short course which is either completed online at your own pace or face-to-face with an expert tutor training you as you go. There is also full-time intensive courses available, so it’s a case of choosing the right course to fit in with your lifestyle.

TEFL courses are measured in hours, the qualification you get at the end is the same, but it will state the amount of hours of training you have had. As with anything, the more training you take, the more opportunities you’ll have once qualified.

As a TEFL teacher, you’ll teach English to learners all around the world. Normally you’ll be on your own in the classroom or with a classroom assistant who speaks the local language, so you don’t have to speak the local language in order to teach abroad (although you’ll pick it up when you arrive – another skill to add to your CV!)

TEFL teacher in Thailand

How much can I earn?

We’ll let you in on a secret – TEFL isn’t something that pays for a millionaire’s lifestyle, but in most locations you’ll earn enough to easily live a comfortable lifestyle and perhaps even put some money away for savings. It’s important to remember also that the salary is relative to the cost of living in that country – so what might seem a low salary actually becomes a lot more desirable when you realise that you can eat out for under £5 and your rent is a quarter of what you’d pay back home!

To give you a rough estimate, the highest paying destination at present is Japan, where the average TEFL salary can be up to £2,000 per month! South Korea currently has an average monthly salary of around £1,300 per month, plus the cost of living is significantly cheaper than back home, so it’s a perfect choice for first time TEFL teachers.

There are plenty of perks offered to lure TEFL teachers overseas too that you really need to check out. Some schools will pay your airfare, or reimburse you when you arrive, some include accommodation, food and even gym passes! So when you consider that you might only be paying for your TEFL qualification, the start-up costs are extremely low, plus you get to live in an exciting new location for as long as you desire – what are you waiting for?

Different types of TEFL jobs

What do I need?

Even more good news – you don’t need any previous experience or qualifications in order to get TEFL qualified.

If you choose to take an Online Course, you need a computer, internet access and time to work through the course at your own pace.

If you choose a face-to-face Classroom Course, you’ll need a spare couple of days as they tend to take place over two consecutive days.

If you decide an intensive course is your best option, they usually take place over four consecutive weeks and you need to be able to attend every day in order to pass the course. So if you work full-time, you’ll either need to book the time off as a holiday or perhaps even leave your job.

TEFL teacher job abroadHow do I find work?

Once you’re qualified, the hard part will be deciding where you want to go and live! The whole world is waiting for you. You can find paid work overseas via online jobs boards – i-to-i have their own jobs board and each job is moderated before it goes live, so you can be assured it’s legitimate.

There are also supported options available in the form of paid internships and seasonal positions, where you arrive with other likeminded TEFLers and receive a supported short-term placement. These are ideal for first-time TEFL teachers, but they don’t tend to pay as much as longer term positions.

Do I need a degree?

Some countries require candidates to hold a degree in order to apply for their working visa, but there are still plenty of options available for non-degree holders. Just check out this helpful blog for more information.

What are different types of TEFL jobs out there?

There are so many different types of contracts available from volunteer, kindergarten, high school, University, teaching adults, teaching one-to-one, private tuition and teaching Business English – so you can choose which age range you’d like to teach, where you’d like to teach and how long you want to live abroad for, it’s as flexible as you are.

How long are TEFL contracts?

Most TEFL contracts typically last for around a year but can be longer or shorter depending on the school’s requirements. You can check this before you sign anything – lots of schools even give you an end of contract bonus! What are you waiting for again exactly?

What is it actually like to TEFL?

They don’t speak your language, you don’t speak theirs, how is this going to work?! Well, it’s easier than you think. Your aim is to fully immerse your students in an English speaking environment. Armed with the tips and tricks your TEFL course teaches you, you’ll have them talking and improving their English in no time at all!

How much does it cost to get TEFL qualified?

It completely depends on what type of TEFL course you decide to take in order to get qualified. With us, prices start from £129 for an entry-level online qualification and range all the way up to £995 for a Level 5 TEFL qualification (pretty much the highest level of certification and allows you to apply for the top paying jobs, including teaching in the UK). So when you consider that you could find a job that will pay for your airfare and accommodation, all you have to pay for is your TEFL qualification, so the startup costs are extremely low. As with anything, the more training you have, the more opportunities you’ll be exposed to.

About Katie Baxter

Hi, I'm Katie, I've worked at i-to-i TEFL for 5 years and part of my job is to prepare people for the most incredible experience of their whole lives… pretty cool hey? Except most days I'm seething with jealousy at the fact that everyone is travelling apart from me. So, I try to shoehorn in as much travel as my annual allowance… allows.

I've been lucky enough to travel to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar, Honduras and Mexico to name a few amazing destinations. Being in the UK, I like to take advantage of cheap flights to Europe too. My favourite place is Kenya. I just love it for so many reasons; the food, the music, the people… everything. It's so much more than a safari and beach destination.

Interested in learning more about becoming a TEFL teacher?


  1. Thanks for clearing my mind about some stuffs in teaching English. 🙂

  2. Enginie Jansen says:


    I’m from Africa…Namibia to be precise. I would love to enroll…I have a teaching diploma.


  3. Kristel says:

    While there are many people in the UK applying to become a TEFL teacher, prospects will remain strong as long as you stay focused and handle the challenges that come your way with calm and determination.

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  6. Great article about how to become a TEFL teacher. Thank You

  7. Thanks for your marvellous post about how to become a TEFL teacher! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

  8. Solver says:

    Very good post. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!

  9. Arabella says:

    I am curious about the potential for online or remote work. I have seen some advertisements for online TEFL teaching positions. Have you ever heard of that? I’d be more likely to try this out remotely first then if all goes well, move to the country at a later time. Do you think these advertisements are scams?

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