EF Education First Review – Teach English For Money

EF Education First is one of the most popular TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) schools or platforms in the world. It was founded in 1965 and has over 46000 employees in 116 countries. In South Africa, it is represented by a branch called Education First South Africa and they will form part of our review.

What Is Education First

EF Education First is an international education company that specializes in language training, educational travel and cultural exchange. There are 3 ways of teaching English for EF. You can either work from the company at a centre that is located in your country. Secondly you can apply to teach English abroad and if you make it in you will be stationed at one of the countries. The third is to teach English online, which is the alternative to moving abroad.

The option to teach online is only available to people in the US and the UK. If you are in South Africa, you can apply to work locally, or you can apply to work abroad in which case, you will be applying for the post in China which is the only one available to South Africa.

Summary Review

Education First is a well-known company and has been around for over 50 years which means that there are, at the very least, a legitimate company and not a scam. Depending on where in the world you are coming from, they pay what is either a good or acceptable salary. There are however, some complaints that some employees have had about the company, such as extreme working hours and compensation is not commensurate for the level of work required. All in all, however, they are decent company work with and worth considering as an option for making money

How EF Education First Works

Requirements for getting in:

In order to get into  EF you need to be a native English speaker with a neutral accent. The qualification that you need to have is a bachelor’s degree in any field. A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is not mandatory but it will be highly advantageous if you have one. Additionally, you need to have an outgoing personality and good communication skills, as well as a passion or appreciation for English and the teaching profession.
You can apply to be one of their teachers here.

Teach English In South Africa or China

There are two options for teaching for English Live from South Africa. The first is to teach at their local centre which is located in Bryanston. The second is to teach in China at one of their many schools where foreign teachers can work. Each have their pros and cons. For teaching in China, you will need to have at least 1 year of teaching experience. You also have to be aged between 24 and 55 due to work visa requirements.

For the teaching in China option, if you make it into the program you will have to relocate. In China, EF has over 100 schools in 60 cities so there are ample opportunities for those who qualify.

Working at the English teaching centre in Bryanston is ideal if you do not wish to relocate, whether it is due personal circumstances like family commitments or personal preference. The position at this location is also open only to South African citizens.

The Teaching Work

You will be teaching students from China, who will be either children or adults. EF will provide you with training and teaching resources that you can use to tailor your teaching for the students.

The hours, if you work at the Bryanston office, the hours are from 9:00 to 18:00 for five days in the week if you are working full-time. If you are working a half day, it is from 13:00 to 18:00 for four days in the week.

How Much Does EF Education First Pay?

The pay can vary according to which days of the week you work and if some of those days are on the weekend. For example, at the time of writing there are half posts that pay different amounts. The first is from Sunday to Wednesday and pays R4500. The other is from Tuesday to Friday and pays R3500. The monthly salary for a full-time teacher at EF is R9860.

The payment of R9860 per month, assuming a month with 22 work days and 8 hours a day works out to around R56 an hour. That is about $4.30 per hour which is low compared to the industry standards. For example, Cambly is considered to be at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to pay and they pay $7 per hour. The Cambly type example is done in the comfort of your own home and by your own schedule, meaning that you decide your own hours and work when you want to work.

How does working in South Africa compare to working abroad?

If you work in China, the salary will be RMB12,350 per month which comes up to around R26000 a month. This is a considerable amount more than the local salary but comes at the cost of having to relocate. How much it goes toward affordability would be determined by where in China you stay as big cities are always more expensive. If you want to travel then this would be the better option. Ther are also extra perks like a flight allowance, health insurance and other forms of support and training.


in a country like South Africa where the unemployment rate is so high that 1 out of 4 people are employed, it is always great to have alternate forms of employment for qualified persons. Thanks to global platforms like EF, we are able to ply our trade to people on the other side of the world. Getting into EF does not need a qualification that is specifically in English or in teaching. A bachelor’s degree in any field is sufficient so the opportunity is open to anybody who meets the requirements and can illustrate the passion for English


The salary is lower than the standard for such a position or the hours worked, but we live in a country where unemployment rate is very high. While it could be higher, it is acceptable for an entry level post. A job opportunity is better than none for some people and it is a decent option that pays enough to pay the bills and have some change.

Alternate Options to EF Education First

In terms of the job itself, EF is an acceptable option, particularly if you are from a developing country where the minimum wage is lower and earning expectations aren’t that high. South Africa is one such place. There are however better options available when considering other opportunity costs. There are online teaching platforms on the internet which pay more than what you would earn at the local centre, and with less stringent entry requirements. For one that accepts teachers from all over the world, Cambly is a good option that has a better value proposition.


If taken in the context of working in South Africa, EF is a fair job opportunity if you can make into their ranks. They pay an entry salary and for that reason, it is good for the short term but not really of the mid- or long term. If you are resourceful, and have the skills for this job, there are better alternatives out there that you can try out which will pay more than what EF pays in South Africa while doing it from your own home or any location you choose.

To conclude, work for EF but plan for something else as well. For the alternative option to teaching English online, you can read the Cambly Review over on the Work From Home Africa Website.

Thank you for reading. If you found this article and have questions or your own feedback to share, leave it in the comments below.

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