How to make money with TEFL

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Sick of your day job? Hoping to make a little extra cash? We already know TEFL can take you places, but what most people don’t realize, is that you can make a career out of it. Your TEFL certification is a lifelong investment. Many people who get certified will go on to teach abroad, but forget they have this useful certificate. Long after you’ve returned home, you can continuously cash in on your course. Whether you want to make it a full-time career, or just a part-time job, a TEFL certification is a money maker. Don’t know where to begin? Personally curated by the TEFL experts here at CIEE, this complimentary guide, including a helpful info-graphic, will show you how to you can make money with TEFL.

Step One: Go Local

Community Centers

Find out if your community has any adult education centers or recreation centers and check if they have ESL classes. If they don’t ask if they are interested in starting one.

Local universities

Check out your nearest community college and see if they have an ESL class and are in need of teachers. Again, if they don’t yet offer it, you can always find out if they want to.

Language schools

This will probably be your best bet. Not only can you learn a foreign language at these schools, but you could also teach ESL there. Your TEFL certification and experience teaching abroad will really make you a strong candidate for the school.


Does your area have a large immigrant population? If so, then there’s probably a local NGO to support them. Reach out, tell them about your experience and your TEFL certificate and see if there are any paying opportunities for EFL teachers. Larger organizations will likely be more willing to pay you for your work, whilst smaller ones may not have the funding. If money’s not a concern for you, this could also be a great volunteering opportunity.

Step Two- Go Online


A great online source for socially progressive career opportunities. In addition to the many NGOs, social enterprises, and human services jobs, Idealist can help you find your fair share of ESL opportunities, in person and online.


Another online job hunting source, Indeed has tons of online ESL jobs. You can earn anywhere from $10-$20 an hour, make your own schedule, and work from the comfort of your own home.


A site for freelancing gigs, Upwork has plenty of ESL opportunities with varying time commitments and experience requirements.

TEFL specific jobs sites

Check out some TEFL specific job boards. Our favorite is because they update their job listings every day and have great opportunities both domestic and abroad. Teachlingo is another reliable source, and you can apply directly through the site. Other helpful sites include Dave’s ESL Cafe and ESL Job World.

Step Three: Go Independent

If none of these options work for you, become a private tutor. Market yourself to local businesses, organizations, schools, PTO groups, and via word of mouth. Put up fliers and advertise online. This option is certainly the most work, but if you prefer working for yourself, it’s definitely the most appealing, and, once you’re established, can really pay off long term. For more information about becoming a private tutor check out this great resource.

Remember another great way to work independently is contacting local organizations and asking them to let you use their space. For example, if you wanted to host an ESL class at a recreation center, you’d ask for a space and a time slot in exchange for a commission. You charge the student individually for the class and give the center a percentage. Explain how hosting an ESL class at their center can really make a positive impact on the community and show the center’s commitment to diversity.

Step Four: Go Abroad

We understand not everyone can just quit their job and live abroad for a year, especially if you’ve done it before. However, you may be able to take off time in the summer. You can find various temporary English teaching jobs abroad through Work Away. For example, you can work as an Au pair for a family that wants their children to learn English, or as a live-in tutor. While some of the opportunities may not pay, they do supply room and board, making it the perfect opportunity to travel on a budget.

For more information about TEFL, teaching abroad, and making money with your certificate, check out our website or feel free to directly contact our experts at

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