Although India is the largest country in South Asia, its TEFL market is not nearly as developed as in the East or Southeast Asia. This makes it a great place for new teachers, looking to train and receive their TEFL qualification in the region, but turned off by the growing, strong competition in the ESL field. With great diversity in culture, history, and cuisine, you will never find boredom while living or traveling in India.

From the large cities of Mumbai and New Delhi to the Himalayan Mountains or the Thar Desert, India is an immense country of assorted climates, terrains, and people. Overall, it is the perfect destination for the ESL teacher who is looking to go beyond the classroom to explore and learn about his or her students and the lives that they lead. Read on to learn how you can complete your TEFL course in India.

Not many teachers think of India when considering a TEFL course abroad. Often, teachers who plan to work in India will receive a TEFL certificate in their home country; but, now there are several options for the teacher that is looking to do a bit of travel and exploration before settling in one location for work.

4-Week Courses:

The 120-hour course, spread over 4 weeks, is the standard for TEFL courses everywhere not just in India. You will learn how to manage a classroom from professionals who can share their real-life experiences as ESL teachers.

In addition, your fellow students will come from all over the world; you will learn from their teaching styles and life experiences, all while soaking in the culture and daily lives of those living in India. Applicants will need to know no other language than English, though be prepared for a rigorous 4 weeks of gaining the necessary skills to teach a rowdy and large classroom of ESL learners!

TEFL + Internship:

Following a standard 120-hour course in India, participants will be placed in a teaching internship, or rather a short-term teaching position at a local school. These are unpaid positions but often give the teacher some time and space to feel comfortable in a classroom.

You may teach at a public school, language school, or in a corporate office. With this, your TEFL provider’s office will offer strong support if you are having issues at work, or need help finding accommodation. This is a great way to get off your feet as a new teacher, as well as travel locally while you teach abroad.

If you're not ready to go overseas, or prefer to study by yourself, consider taking a TEFL course online.

When and Where to Look:

Unsurprisingly, the most popular location for TEFL courses in India is the city of Calcutta (Kolkata), the former capital of British India. Known for its intellectual and cultural history, Calcutta is a great city to explore and learn. In addition, most TEFL courses offer classes year-round (or about 5 to 6 per year). Make sure that you leave time in between your TEFL course and desired work start date.


TEFL students in India must be over 18 years of age and be a native speaker (or speak English fluently). In addition, if you plan to stay in India post-TEFL course, you will need to obtain a work visa. Your school or employer will sponsor your visa, but you will be required to have a valid passport, for up to six months, and two passport photos.

Post-TEFL Resources:

Upon completion of an academically challenging course, it will be time to start the search for a teaching job abroad! If you are in a TEFL program that offers job support or internship placement, you will need to choose whether you want to teach at a K-12 school, language school, or in a corporate office. This will largely depend on your career goals and preferences.

If you plan to do the job search solo, you have the same options as listed above. In addition, you could teach at an international school or volunteer. International schools are looking for experienced educators, with at least 2 years or more in the education field. Often they need teachers to instruct narrow subjects, such as math, science, or the arts and music. As a volunteer teacher, you will not get paid, but this is a great option if you are looking for a short-term teaching stint, or wish to give back!

Cost of Living:

English teachers in India will be able to live comfortably on their job salaries. However, the cost of living while taking your TEFL course in India will greatly vary depending on your location. India is a large country, with major metropolitan cities like Mumbai, and smaller communities in the Himalayas or Southern India. Thus, the average cost of living ranges from $250 to $1,100 USD per month. An average price for a one-bedroom apartment is $165, but can be as low as $95.

A teacher’s salary will range anywhere from as low as about $150 to as high as $1,000 USD per month, although the average salary in India is around $435. Nevertheless, an ESL teacher in India will find that food and rent are affordable; if you are looking to save money, decide on a location that isn’t an international city such as Mumbai, where costs are high.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the qualifications to take a TEFL course in India?

    To take a TEFL course in India, you need to be at least 18 years old and be a native English speaker (or be near-fluent).

  • What kind of TEFL courses can I take in India?

    The two most common types of TEFL courses you can find in India are a 120-hour course or a combination of TEFL plus an in-person internship.

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