You’re looking to explore the world. An adventure is waiting. You want to meet new people and if teaching English to Foreign Speaker seems like something you would enjoy, then getting TEFL certified is a good career move. A TEFL certificate is your golden ticket to the fantastical Chocolate Factory that is the world of teaching English abroad. It is internationally recognized and has become somewhat of a necessary prerequisite to getting an international English-teaching job that is credible and well-paying.
The most convenient thing about getting TEFL certified is how easy it has become with online certifications. You can now get yourself qualified while learning on your own timeframe- while being a full-time employee or student, while on the road traveling. There is nothing holding you back. It is a favorable alternative to in-person classes, especially if those aren’t your schtick.
The most frustrating part is going to be picking a course for yourself. The near-infinite options available make your brain hurt, and choosing the right course seems daunting.
Here’s a TEFL mini guide. The aim is to give you an informative heads-up on what you’re getting yourself into with this course. And what you can get out of it. Is it worth it? Is it for you? Read on and decide.
What Is TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)? What is a TEFL Certification?
TEFL is the acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The TEFL Certification is an internationally recognized certification course that gives you an entry-level credential for teaching English as a Foreign Language around the world. As a TEFL teacher, you will primarily be teaching English to people in countries where English is not the primary language.
Why Is a TEFL Certification Important?
Any native English Speaker can claim they can teach English. You might think it really isn’t that big a deal. How hard could it possibly be? So why bother with the certification at all? This isn’t the right way to look at it.
If you want to be a competent teacher, experience is invaluable. And having a high-quality TEFL certification gives you that credibility. Most organizations require a credible certification to a TEFL certificate as a minimum bar to qualify as an English Teacher. Having a certification means you’ve successfully made it through the program and you have the minimum requirements that make a competent teacher. It’s a filtering process for organizations looking for English as a Foreign Language teachers and makes your chances of standing out exponentially higher. A TEFL Course will also teach you to teach. It takes you through the process and the approach to teaching foreign students English.
Alternatives to TEFL- A Matter Of Semantics. (TEFL, TESOL, TESL, etc.)
If you do a quick web search of how to get into teaching English as a Foreign Language, you will get caught up in a whirlwind of jargon. There are multiple similar alternatives to the TEFL course. Let’s ge the semantics right:
TEFL, TESOL, and TESL are all acronyms used to refer to teaching English as a foreign language. However, they have slight differences depending on where you’ll be teaching and the type of students you’ll be teaching.
- TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is mainly used when you’ll be teaching English to non-native speakers in a country where English is not the primary language spoken.
- TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) is used when you’ll be teaching English to non-native speakers living in an English-speaking country.
- TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is an all-encompassing term that covers both TEFL and TESL, and is used to refer to teaching English to non-native speakers regardless of where they live or study.
- CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) are other options, which are internationally recognized qualifications and offered by Cambridge English.
What are the Benefits of doing a TEFL Course?
There are multiple benefits to getting a TEFL certification that make everything convenient and in your favor while starting your career as a Foreign English Teacher.
- You can get a work VISA
If you want to work internationally and have it be legal, you need a Work VISA. And having a credential like the TEFL certification will make getting a VISA much easier. You need to have a TEFL certification of a minimum of 120 hours to be eligible for a teaching VISA. This is the basic requirement.
- Familiarizes you with a Pedagogy
A TEFL course will not only teach you the English language but also familiarize you with the teaching methods and techniques that are used in the classroom. This includes understanding the curriculum, lesson planning, and classroom management. This knowledge will help you to be a more effective and confident teacher.
- Resume Booster and Gives You Credibility
Having a TEFL certification on your resume can make you stand out from other candidates when applying for English teaching jobs. It demonstrates to potential employers that you have the necessary training and qualifications to teach English as a foreign language. This can increase your chances of getting hired and may even lead to higher paying job opportunities.
- More Opportunities and Higher Quality Jobs
A TEFL certification can open up a wide range of job opportunities for you. Many countries around the world are in need of English teachers, and a TEFL certification can help you to secure a job in a location that interests you. Furthermore, a TEFL certification can also open the door to higher-quality jobs, such as teaching at an international school or university.
What are the opportunities as a TEFL Certified Teacher?
Communicating effectively in English is an invaluable skill in this age of globalization. Any Non-English speaker will tell you the extra hurdles you face when you’re not competent at communicating in English. No one likes jumping through extra hoops, and no one likes being held back even though they have a skill, just because they cannot speak English well.
This is where you come in. You are the bridging gap between where they are and where they could be. The life they currently have and all the opportunities the English-speaking Western World holds.
Career Options After you are TEFL Certified
- Teaching English abroad: Many TEFL-certified individuals choose to work as English language teachers in countries where English is not the primary language. This can be a great way to travel and experience new cultures while also making a positive impact on the lives of others.
- Teaching English online: With the rise of technology, it is now possible to teach English online from anywhere in the world. This can be a flexible and convenient option for individuals who want to work as English language teachers.
- Teaching English in a private language school: Many private language schools offer English language classes to students of all ages. These schools often hire TEFL-certified teachers to lead their classes.
- Teaching English in a public school: In some countries, it is possible for individuals who are TEFL certified to work as English language teachers in public schools.
- Teaching English in a university: Universities and colleges may hire TEFL certified individuals to teach English language courses to students.
- Working in corporate training: Some businesses and organizations hire TEFL-certified individuals to provide English language training to their employees.
- Teaching English to refugees: Some organizations and charities work with refugees and may hire TEFL-certified individuals to teach English language skills to refugees.
How Long does getting a TEFL Certification take?
The length of time it takes to get a TEFL certification can vary depending on the type of course you choose and your individual schedule. Here are a few examples of the different types of TEFL certifications and the approximate time it takes to complete them:
- Online TEFL courses: These can range from as short as 20 hours to as long as 150 hours. Some programs are self-paced, allowing you to complete the coursework at your own convenience, while others have set deadlines.
- In-person TEFL courses: These typically last anywhere from 4-6 weeks, and are usually held in a classroom setting.
- Combined online and in-person TEFL courses: Some programs offer a combination of online coursework and in-person teaching practice. These can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks to complete.
How Do You Get TEFL Certified? What Do You Learn In a TEFL Course?
TEFL courses and certification programs typically cover a wide range of topics related to teaching English as a foreign language. These may include:
- Language-specific grammar and vocabulary: Students may study the structure and rules of the English language, as well as common vocabulary and expressions.
- Lesson planning and teaching techniques: Students may learn how to plan and deliver engaging and effective English language lessons.
- Classroom management: Students may learn how to create a positive and productive learning environment, and how to manage the behavior of their students.
- Cultural awareness: Students may learn about the culture and customs of the countries where they will be teaching and how to adapt their teaching style to meet the needs and expectations of their students.
- Language assessment: Students may learn how to assess the language skills of their students and how to use this information to plan and deliver lessons.
- Curriculum development: Students may learn how to design and implement a language curriculum.
- Professional development: Students may learn about the different career paths available to English language teachers, and how to continue to develop their skills and knowledge over time.
What are the Requirements for enrolling in the TEFL program?
The requirements for obtaining a TEFL certification may vary depending on the specific program or provider you are considering. However, there are some general requirements that are commonly found in TEFL certification programs:
- Age: Some programs may have an age requirement, such as being at least 18 years old.
- Education: Most programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may also have additional education requirements, such as a college degree.
- Language proficiency: Most programs require applicants to be proficient in English, as they will be teaching the language to others. This may involve demonstrating proficiency through a language test or other means.
- Teaching experience: Some programs may require applicants to have previous teaching experience, while others may accept applicants with no teaching experience.
- Training and coursework: Most TEFL certification programs involve completing a certain amount of training and coursework, which may be done online or in person.
- Practical or Teaching Experience: Some programs may require students to complete a supervised teaching practicum or internship as part of the certification process
Online or In Person – What is Preferred?
There are pros and cons to both online and offline TEFL programs, and the best option for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. Some factors to consider when deciding between online and offline TEFL programs include:
- Convenience: Online programs are generally more convenient than offline programs, as they can be completed from anywhere with an internet connection. This can be a major advantage for people who have busy schedules or who live in areas where there are limited options for offline programs.
- Flexibility: Online programs also tend to be more flexible than offline programs, as they often allow students to set their own pace and schedule for completing coursework. This can be a good option for people who need to balance their studies with other commitments.
- Interaction: Offline programs typically offer more opportunities for in-person interaction with instructors and classmates, which can be beneficial for some students. On the other hand, online programs may offer more opportunities for interaction with students from around the world, which can be a valuable cultural experience.
- Cost: Online programs may be less expensive than offline programs, as they often have lower overhead costs. However, this can vary depending on the specific program and provider.
Ultimately, the decision between an online or offline TEFL program will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It may be helpful to carefully consider your goals, budget, and schedule when deciding which type of program is right for you.
BEST ONLINE TEFL COURSES FOR YOU
1. International TEFL Academy
The International TEFL Academy is a top-rated program that is great for building confidence. This 11-week, 170-hour course is designed to help you become a proficient English teacher, and it’s taught by teachers who have a minimum of a master’s degree. The class sizes are small, with a maximum of 20 students, so you’ll get plenty of individual attention.
In this course, you’ll learn 150 hours of material and get 20 hours of hands-on teaching experience. You’ll also have a personal tutor who will be there to answer all your questions. And when you’re done, you’ll have lifetime job search assistance, and a network of thousands of ITA graduates around the world.
The best part of this course is that it offers 1:1 job search assistance after completing the course. You’ll also have access to a wide range of support resources, including teacher office hours, live instruction, and peer chat opportunities. However, it can be challenging for some learners to balance assignments and heavy textbook reading. And, it’s on the expensive side, but it covers lifetime job search support.
“The ITA program has been a great experience from start to finish. The onboarding process is efficient, professional and very well managed. My course instructor was extremely knowledgeable. She was always quick to respond to all my questions and willing to fit me into her schedule and meet with me if I encountered any difficulties. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for more.” – ITA Grad Andrejs Mazpolis
2. My TEFL Academy
If you’re looking for a hands-on virtual learning experience, The TEFL Academy is a great choice. They are dedicated to offering students a top-notch TEFL experience, and since TEFL is their specialty, they’re able to offer well-crafted, accredited, and highly interactive courses taught by experienced ESL teachers. Who better to learn from than those who have already worked in the field?
Their Online Level 5 TEFL Course is a fully online TEFL option available to students around the globe. It takes about 9 weeks to complete if taken full-time, but its flexible nature allows you to fit the course to your schedule. It’s composed of 11 mandatory units, plus a bonus unit about teaching young learners, which is perfect for people who hope to teach English at primary schools abroad.
One of the best parts of this course is that tutors give detailed feedback on assignments. Also, it leads to a level 5 TEFL Certificate, equivalent to 168 hours, which will allow you to teach anywhere you want. However, it doesn’t offer video components and must be completed within 6 months.
“My experience with the online course was exhilarating; I didn’t realize how much I was missing out until I took the course! The reading was very thorough and informative with lots of quizzes. I was given ideas of how to be an effective teacher. Age groups were discussed in relation to how their learning styles affects how quickly they learn the English language which was very helpful to know. The examples offered in the course, showed me how to an effective teacher in the classroom; there were various examples, lesson plans and detailed illustrations. If anyone wants to take an online course, take it here at mytefl. You’ll leave the course with alot of knowledge you’ll implement into the real world.” – Alice, Maryland USA
3. UNI-prep TEFL Course
If you’re looking for a fast-paced learning experience, the UNI-Prep Institute’s online TEFL certification is a great option. This 120-hour course will get you ready to jump into your teaching career in no time. You’ll learn about classroom management, lesson planning, and language level testing, as well as the basics of reading, writing, and phonics.
And, you’ll have tutor support available and job search assistance included. Keep in mind that they don’t screen participants, but you will need a high school diploma and native level or advanced proficiency in English.
Past participants have rated this program highly and praised it for its value and level of instruction. The good part is that it can be completed in 2-4 weeks, although students have up to a year to work through the materials. It also offers the chance to review quiz errors and retake quizzes for a higher grade. However, the video quality and audio in modules could be improved. Additionally, it doesn’t offer as much job assistance support as other courses on the market.
I had a great experience with this Institute, really valuable content, relevant material, resources, practical ideas and updated teaching methods. At the begining i wasnt that really motivated but as i started getting deepper in the content and different lessons it started getting more and more interesting. It includes methods for different ages which is really good if you have not decide yet what your preferences are. I think my favourite thing was that it was comfortable to navigate in, an easy and manageable system. -Karen
If you’re looking for an online TEFL course that feels just like an in-person class, TEFLPros is the way to go. They have a unique approach to teaching that includes weekly live coaching calls, which allows you to get the support you need while still studying at your own pace.
Their 120-hour course is fully accredited by ACCREDITAT and comes with a ton of resources, including over 50 hours of video content, 17 hours of in-class observation video, a resume and interview guide, and a module specifically on online teaching. Overall, TEFLPros is a great choice for those looking for a high-quality and personalized online TEFL course. This is a fan favorite. The reviews are spectacular.
TEFLPros’ course not only has a fresh and modern appeal, but it also has content that is thorough and inspiring. Whitney has done an excellent job in creating a course with a consistent structure from start to finish, which I have learned through experience is essential for long-term student success. Whitney is a true TEFL Professional.”
– Tom Greenan, CEO of ACCREDITAT
ITTT has got you covered with their TEFL/TESOL certificate options ranging from 60 to 250 hours. They also have specialized courses like Teaching Business English and Teaching English to Young Learners. You can choose to complete the course online on your own or with a tutor for added support.
One of the best things about ITTT’s diplomas is that they are recognized worldwide, so you don’t have to worry about your credentials being accepted in different jobs or locations. Plus, after finishing the course, you’ll have lifetime access to job assistance services.
One thing to keep in mind is that the course doesn’t include any practical experience component. And once you take the quizzes, you can’t retake them. But, the course includes game resources and worksheets to make learning more engaging and you have a tutor who will respond to any questions you have within a day.
“I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn or teach English, or just needs to meet the requirements for a job. The time and money efficient course provides tons of useful materials and instructions that prepare you well for lecturing and facilitating activities.” — Txiv
A TEFL program is a fantastic way to teach and travel, meet new people and have a wholesome, satisfying job that helps others while also paying the bills. There are a million options out there, and getting stuck in the paradox of choice is just the worst time sink. So just jump- pick a course and get started. You’ll be on your way in no time!