The TEFL Budget Planner: How much money do I need to teach English abroad?
How much money do I need? Determine your costs to get TEFL certified and your running costs until you get your first teaching paycheck.
Estimating your Total Expenses
Its spread out over three months as that’s a conservative plan to complete your one-month in-class TEFL course, interview and secure a position, begin teaching and final get your first paycheck at the end of your initial month.
As most all schools pay at the end of the month, we’re assuming—conservatively again—that it’s at the end of the third month when you will start to receive income. Some may receive a partial paycheck in the second month, but that depends on the actual start date and the policy of your new employer.
So to be safe, let’s assume you'll need to support yourself from your savings for approximately three months from arriving to your TEFL course to finally getting paid.
Expenses for accommodation, transportation, and food are based on real costs, but it’s important to note that these will obviously vary from county to county. Your food costs, for example, will be considerably different if you do you TEFL in Thailand as opposed to studying in France.
If you not familiar with the local food, it may be best to choose a middle road approach…not too Spartan a lifestyle and not too luxurious. You can, of course, adjust any of these cost inputs based upon your personal preferences and budget considerations.
A Three Month Plan
Month One is the core expenses to become TEFL certified over four weeks. It includes course tuition, internet, and incidental costs as well as food and accommodation.
Add your own row(s) to include additional expenditures like entertainment and travel to complete your budget planner.
In Month Two, you'll be interviewing after graduation. Transportation costs will probably increase as you need to get around town (and upcountry) to see schools and institutions. Your TEFL tuition fee is listed as paid as that cost was covered in the first month.
In Month Three, You’ll be working—earning money—but you won’t get paid until the end of this month. That means you’re still living off your savings. Included in this month is the cost of securing new accommodation as you may wish to move closer to your new school. This is, of course, an optional expense.
Long-term room rentals are typically one month’s rent plus two months deposit—again check the local practice to know how much to input here. These costs are figured in. We’ve also returned to you one month’s deposit at the end of Month Two for the service apartment near your TEFL training center you stayed in Months One and Two.
Your TELF Budget Planner Spreadsheet
Have a look at the TEFL Budget Planner Spreadsheet here.
You can see the total expenses for each month separately as well as a running cumulative total for the months combined.
Finally, in Month Three, we’ve added all the costs for all three months together to give you a good idea of the total investment you’ll need to make to become professionally certified and began a teaching career.
Just Add Airfare
There’s just one more major cost to add: your airfare. We haven’t included that as people are coming to a TEFL training center from all other the world. And also as airfares obviously can vary widely.
Add your airfare costs to the expenses you’ve already itemized on the planner and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the total investment you’ll need to make to become a professional teacher.
As we’re Bangkok-based, the TEFL Budget Planner we did had Thailand in focus. We estimated approximately $4,500 dollars in savings were need in that country to pay for your TEFL certified and the support yourself until your first teaching paycheck came at the end of month three. One would just add airfare to that total to get a total investment (that’s what you’re doing here—investing in your future) figure.
How to Get Started
Step one is to download The TEFL Budget Planner below. Each month is on a separate tab.
Most of the expenses are already inputted. If you have a particular need that's not on the spreadsheet simply add rows as needed above the month's total row to include that cost.
Add your airfare and you should get a cumulative total on Tab (Month) 3 that will give you an estimate of your total expenses until the paychecks start rolling in.
You can also do scenario analysis where you change your assumptions on particular expenses. Food is a good example. You can see how that can affect your total bill if you eat more local.
Another Consideration in Your TEFL Course Investment
For many teaching positions, completing your 120-hour TEFL Certification will increase your monthly salary by $100-$250 in many cases.
That's at least $1,200 over the course of a year, essentially repaying your TEFL tuition just from the extra salary. Early in Year Two that's all profit.
Your TEFL certification will ensure you’ll know what to do in the classroom. The market too will also recognize your qualification and reward you as a professional teacher. And it’s a qualification that’s good for life.
Are you ready to teach abroad?
Speak with an ITTT advisor today to put together your personal plan for teaching English abroad.
Send us an email or call us toll-free at 1-800-490-0531 to speak with an ITTT advisor today.
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