How Much Does TEFL Certification Cost? Is It Worth It?

By Bridge
January 2, 2019
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To teach English as a foreign language, one of the qualifications employers ask for is certification. You know you need it, but how much does TEFL certification cost? Prices vary depending on some key factors, but expect to pay about $200 for very minimal online certification, and closer to $400-500 USD for online certification of enough hours to qualify for most TEFL jobs (at least 100). If you opt for university-level online training or an onsite TEFL course, the price, as you might expect, is higher– usually between $1,000 to $2,500 USD.

Here’s a breakdown of how much a TEFL course is, depending on the type you choose. Find out what you are paying for vs. what you’re getting with each option to decide which course is right for you.

First things first: Is a TEFL course worth it?

Almost all schools worldwide that hire English teachers require that they hold TEFL certification, among other qualifications; therefore, yes, it is definitely worth it to get certified if you plan to teach English. (Just starting out? Start here: What is TEFL?) Even if you are already a licensed teacher in the U.S. teaching another subject, for example, TEFL certification will still show employers you have the special skills to teach English to speakers of other languages.

Yet not all TEFL courses are created equal, and neither are all TEFL trainees, so to make certification worth your while, make sure to choose the right course for your background and teaching plans.

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How much does an online TEFL certification cost?

The vast majority of people who get TEFL certified to prepare to teach English earn their certificates online, and online certification is accepted by most language schools around the world. That’s great news since online TEFL certification courses cost significantly less than in-person courses and they are far more flexible and convenient, as well.

You’ll see a range of prices when you browse online TEFL courses – from $150 to as much as $1500. The average 120-hour online TEFL course with a tutor typically falls in the middle range of this, at around $300-$600.

What factors affect the cost of online TEFL certification?

These variances in TEFL course cost are due to a number of factors. Let’s break those down to clear up pricing confusion and to help you decide which one is right for you.

The number of hours of certification

Generally speaking, more TEFL hours = a higher price tag, and this is a major factor affecting TEFL course cost. Most teaching jobs require that you hold at least 100 hours of TEFL certification, so courses of fewer than 100 hours will be considered more introductory-level and will be less expensive. These courses are usually in the $150-$350 range. TEFL courses of 100 hours or more, on the other hand, will be more in the range of $300- $600, with the price going up as the hours do. 

Amount of tutor involvement in the course 

Another factor that affects TEFL certification cost is how much guidance you are provided in the course.

  • Some courses do not involve a tutor, meaning you study on your own and take self-check quizzes to assess your grade. These courses are less expensive since no tutor or instructor is being paid.
  • Other courses have TEFL tutor involvement and therefore cost a bit more. Your personal tutor in such a course might give you feedback on assignments and answer your questions.
  • Finally, there are interactive, instructor-led courses that are the most expensive online TEFL course option, falling in the $900-$1500 range. These courses may not be substantially more hours but are often university-level TEFL courses aimed more at career-minded teachers, and some have the option to earn credit toward a master’s degree in TESOL.

The TEFL course provider

As you might expect, TEFL courses offered by well-established and accredited training centers will be more expensive than courses offered by what are sometimes referred to as “TEFL cowboys” or fly-by-night online “shops” with no verifiable accreditation.

Choosing an accredited TEFL certification course gives you, as a consumer, a layer of assurance that you’re buying a quality training, and also lets your future employers know you are well-trained and prepared to teach.

Take a look inside our online TEFL course in this video:  

How much is an online TEFL course vs. an in-person course?

Now that you we’ve looked at online TEFL course tuition, what about in-person (or “onsite”) courses? Is the $1,500- $2,500 price tag for onsite TEFL certification a good decision for you? Should you choose online or in-person TEFL certification?

Despite the convenience and affordability of online TEFL courses, there are still some situations in which taking an in-person TEFL course is a better choice.

  • Some people simply learn better in the classroom, in a 100% hands-on environment.
  • Others feel strongly about completing a teaching practicum as part of their TEFL course, and onsite courses include this component (note that you can also add a teaching practicum to an online TEFL course).
  • There are certain countries in which onsite TEFL certification is preferred over online training, namely those in the Middle East. This high-paying region requires the highest qualifications, so if you plan to teach there, consider an in-person TEFL course, despite the higher cost (especially if you do not have previous teaching experience).

Can I pay in installments for a TEFL course?

Whether you choose online or onsite TEFL certification, the answer to this will depend on each individual TEFL provider’s policies. However, as a rule, online TEFL course tuition is usually paid up front, upon registration. That said, one way to “finance” TEFL certification of more hours is to begin with a course of minimal hours that you is in your budget, and later upgrade that course by adding hours when you can afford to.

With onsite TEFL courses, you usually pay an initial deposit, with the balance of your course tuition due closer to the start date.

Is the certificate itself included in the course? If not, how much does a TEFL certificate cost?

With online courses, you can typically download and print your TEFL certificate upon completion and submit this to schools when you apply. Some online TEFL providers may also provide an online portal where schools can go to verify your TEFL certificate by entering the unique number. These options are free.

Often a “hard copy” original version of your certificate will require a fee (around $50-$75) since the certificate will be printed on certificate-quality paper, embossed and signed, and mailed to graduates at locations around the world. You’ll also have the option to have the certificate notarized or authenticated internationally (with an apostille), which would cost extra.


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