What are the start-up costs for teaching English abroad?

If you plan to head overseas to teach English, one important factor to consider is the amount of cash you will need to cover your initial start-up costs. Depending on where you end up teaching, your are certain to have some unavoidable expenses that might include the cost of a TESOL certification course, travel to your chosen destination, and funds to support yourself until you get your first paycheck.

How much does TESOL certification cost?

The cost of your initial TESOL training will depend on which type of course you choose to take. At ITTT our popular online courses start at less than $200, while an intensive in-class TESOL course costs in the region of $1500 to $2000, without flights, accommodation, and other daily expenses. However, your choice of course should not be based entirely on its cost as there are several things to consider.

What are the pros and cons of online TESOL courses?

Online TESOL courses have many benefits. They are generally affordable for most people and they give you the freedom to study wherever and whenever you want. All you need is access to a computer and the internet, as well as the self motivation to see it through to the end. However, it is worth noting that many employers around the world will expect you to have a TESOL certification of at least 120 hours. While there are many short format online courses available, these are not likely to be enough to secure you a job that pays a good salary. Another thing to consider about online training courses is the lack of practical teaching practice. Although this is not always a requirement for getting a job, it will put you at a significant disadvantage in areas where competition for jobs is high.

What are the pros and cons of in-class TESOL courses?

The obvious main advantage of an in-class TESOL certification course is that you will be taught in person by a highly experienced teacher trainer. In-class courses also allow you to practice what you have learnt in a real classroom that contains genuine English language students. However, the very nature of these intensive courses means that the overall cost can be too high for some trainees. The fact that you need to attend a training center for a 4-week period can also be an issue for some people.

Will I have to pay for my own airfare when teaching English abroad?

As the majority of ESL teachers head overseas to teach, most will have the inevitable cost of airfares to consider. However, in some countries it is common practice for employers to hire their teachers before they leave home. In this scenario, the employer will usually cover all or at least some of the cost of the flight. This approach to recruitment is most common in parts of Asia and the Middle East.

What will I have to pay for on arrival when teaching English abroad?

The bottom line is you will need enough money to make it through to the day you get your first paycheck. If your chosen destination is in Europe or South America, you will most likely have to travel there before you start your job search. In this scenario you should budget for at least two weeks to find a job and then a further month until your first paycheck arrives. Your budget will need to be enough to cover expenses such as accommodation, transport, phone credit, and meals. The actual figure required will depend on the country you are in and your own lifestyle. A typical average amount for Western Europe would be around $2000 to $3000, while countries in Eastern Europe should be about half of that amount. If you are heading to Latin America you can possibly survive on as little as $750 to $1000 for this period of time. In Asia and the Middle East most teachers will have already got a job organised before leaving home which will reduce the necessary budget. Many jobs in these regions will also include free or subsidized housing which will further reduce the funds required.