What are the Costs Involved for Teaching English?

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They say that you have to spend money to make money, and this is never more true than when it comes to teaching. Teaching is one of those jobs which you need to fork out from your heard-earned salary for necessities that you need in the classroom. When you teach English as a foreign language abroad there are a number of other costs which need to be taken into consideration as well.  So, what are the costs involved for teaching English?

So to make sure you are financially prepared for this mind-blowing adventure that is a TEFL career, here are the costs you will need to consider.


The first expense is of course going to be your TEFL certificate. This is essential both for your CV and for your sanity so it’s not something you can skip. TEFL courses from different providers come with different price tags but we beg you, please don’t go for the cheapest course. It’s often not worth your time and won’t help you get a TEFL job in any way.


Once you’ve been offered your job you need to make sure all your paperwork is in order. First of all if your passport needs to be renewed, that will cost you a certain amount. Plus you may need to get your degree or ID certified or notarized, or you may need extra copies of transcripts or medical records or background checks – all of which cost money. And don’t forget about your visa!


There are a number of EFL employers who will cover the costs of your flights or at least contribute towards them, but this might not mean paying for them outright. Some schools will pay you back for your flights when you arrive in the country or at the end of your contract. Depending on where you are flying from and to where, this could be quite an expense you need to budget for!


True for all teachers. Some schools are very good at providing their teachers with basic stationery like pens and staplers, but others might expect you to have everything you need. You shouldn’t have to worry about photocopying costs or classroom resources but as a teacher, you can count on needing the following:

White board markers, Scissors, Glue, Blu-tak, Notebook, Highlighters/coloured pens and a Stapler.

To be safe, always ask the school what is provided in the teacher’s room so that you don’t leave home without something essential!


A sad state of affairs but if you’re not one of the lucky ones to get a teaching contract with accommodation included you’ll need to consider this. Renting a house or an apartment is pretty much the same no matter where you are. You’ll need to put down a month or possibly two months’ rent as a deposit. Do your homework as to the average rental wherever you are going and make sure you have this available to you. Don’t count on your salary as you’ll need to pay your rent before you get paid.

What are the Costs Involved for Teaching English?

Living costs

Again this is the same as for any job. Living costs can be as high or as low as you make them. Generally speaking, the more you do, the more it’ll cost. So if you are happy staying in and watching Netflix or reading a book rather than painting the town red, you’ll be able to save more money. Also bear in mind that you’ll need to be able to live for a month before you get a paycheck.


Food can make or break your budget. If you are used to eating out most nights or you prefer not to cook, then your food bill could be quite high. Shopping at supermarkets for local goods and produce and cooking at home will definitely save you money. Having said that, there are many countries where it is no more expensive to eat street food than it is to eat at home, and it’s often more delicious!

Teaching online

If you are teaching online then there are a few other things you’ll need. In order to get a job teaching English online you need a stable internet connection, a good headset and webcam. These are the essentials but you might also want to invest in a small whiteboard and whiteboard markers, finger puppets or other props and flashcards and other teaching materials.

This might all sound like a fair amount of money but if you are moving abroad this shouldn’t come as a surprise and would be necessary no matter what work you were doing. All in all, though, we think this is overall a small price to pay for the adventure of a lifetime.

Brandon Botha says

This article really helps a lot! Do you guys know of any companies that does online teaching where I could apply to but that don’t require a Degree?

Priscilla Dreyer says

Hi there i would just like to know how mch the cost is in all ….i am very interested in an online course please …thank you so much

Dorothy Vlietstra says

I am in my sixties with an English degree and post grad qualifications as a librarian. Can I still do a TEFL course and teach English online?

Lerato says

I would like have a TEFL Certificate, please give me more information.
Thank you

Pauline Fuller says

Hi both my husband and I would like to teach online and complete a TEFL course but my husband does not have a degree. Can you help with some advice ? Thank you

Lemese says

I am interested in doing the TEFL course and teaching Online…kindly advise on how to proceed/steps to follow to completing same.

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