What Jobs Can I Get With a TEFL?

A TEFL will help you to get jobs at language centres and schools and government or private schools. It is definitely not unheard of someone getting into an international school with just a TEFL it is unlikely.

Language Centres

If teaching in a school is not your cup of tea you could try looking at language centres with a TEFL. These places are generally keen to take on staff and will overlook things such as a lack of experience and qualifications.
  • You do not need to attend as many meetings, morning ceremonies and generally just have to turn up for your lessons.
  • Often lesson plans are already made up for you.
  • Fairly flexible work times, usually you will have to work weekends, but you can choose two days off in the week.
  • Normally you will work in the evenings, so no need to be up early!
  • Students are potentially more motivated to learn, as they or their parents are paying specifically for extra English lessons.
  • Generally smaller classes.
  • Wages are generally lower than in schools.
  • You normally only get paid for the hours you do, so no sick pay, holiday pay and if no students no pay!
  • You have to work weekends.


As a general rule most government schools, bilingual schools and schools with an English program are only looking for a TEFL. Normally government schools offer a lower salary but will hire less experienced and qualified staff. The next level up would be private schools such as a bilingual school or schools with an English programme. The wages here are normally higher, but potentially the holidays are taken up with summer camps. These schools are normally fairly keen on hiring staff so will often overlook a lack of experience.
International schools do sometimes employ people with just a TEFL and a degree but generally they are looking for someone more qualified. Wages and holidays at international schools are often competitive with what schools in your home country offer.
Wages at government and private schools are usually around the 5,000 rmb to 14,000rmb. 

  • Most schools will pay you holidays (not all do)
  • working a standard 9-5 Monday to Friday means you have the same time off as most people
  • wages are generally higher

Where can I do a TEFL?

Over the last few years hundred of TEFL courses have sprung up all over the world. From expensive four-week residential courses in exotic locations all the way down to bargain basement on-line courses being almost given away. Anyone can set up a TEFL course, do some Google advertising and set themselves up as a course provider. The only way to guarantee the quality of your TEFL is to look at their accreditation. Beware there are lots of courses that use words like Oxford and Cambridge but actually have nothing to do with them.
How much do they cost?
Due to the sheer amount of ones available and regional price differences we can only give you a rough guide but generally $1,000 to $2,000.
120 hour SEE TEFL $1395-$1595
120 hour UNITEFL $1,490-$1,790

A good introduction to teaching and gives an insight into what being a teacher entails.
You will feel a lot more comfortable stepping foot in a classroom after completing a course.
You need at least a 140 hour TEFL to get a work permit in China.

A good TEFL course is often around the same price as a CELTA or TESOL which are valued a lot more highly. Howver they do normally require more work and are more difficult to pass. Click here to view CELTA and TESOL

A TEFL will only take you so far in the teaching profession and at some point it will be beneficial to get some higher teaching qualifications
Due to a lack of regulation the quality can vary widely between courses.
Which is better on-line or in person?
An on-line course is generally a lot cheaper and can be completed a lot quicker and easier than one where you must attend in person. However most people benefit from being in a classroom situation, and attending the seminars in person. From an employer point of view as well an on-line TEFL does not look as good. Also when applying for jobs in China you need at least a 120 hour course that you attended in person.


A TEFL which stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In a nutshell, a TEFL course is a training program which gives you the skills and confidence you need to teach English as a foreign language. A TEFL is a great way for someone who is unsure if they want a teaching career, as it only takes a month and is not too expensive. Also to gain a work permit for China you will need a 120 hour TEFL.
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