10 Things to Know About TEFL

Imagine leaving the grey skies behind and zooming off for a sensation-drenched TEFL adventure across the globe.  Or perhaps you’d prefer to picture yourself with a super-flexible career teaching English online from anywhere you fancy – whether that’s a sun-baked beach or your own living room.

With TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), this really can be your life. And to start you on your TEFL journey, we’ve pulled together 10 things to know about TEFL. We’re good like that!

Once you’ve read our blog post, why not head straight to our TEFL courses and start your training today? Or if you want to find out even more about TEFL, download our TEFL brochure or request a call back from one of our TEFL experts. We always love chatting about all things TEFL!

Q: What is a TEFL course?

A TEFL course is a course that trains you to teach English to non-native English speakers.

TEFL courses come in all shapes and sizes, from super-quick taster sessions through to in-depth diplomas. However, if you’re planning to find a job or volunteering position in TEFL, you’ll need to complete a minimum of a 120-hour TEFL certification course. If you are looking for access to the highest paying jobs, then you’ll need to complete a Level 5 TEFL certification course or, even better, a TEFL diploma course.

These TEFL courses are open to both brand new and experienced teachers and are respected by TEFL employers around the world. They are specifically designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need to plan and deliver effective well-structured English lessons – and cover everything from teaching methodology to planning lessons to dealing with those tricky grammar questions to classroom management.

In other words, a TEFL course is the perfect springboard for teaching English online and around the world.

Q: What is a TEFL qualification equivalent to?

Your TEFL qualification is more than a pretty certificate to decorate your fridge. Every qualification regulated by the English government’s qualifications body, Ofqual, has a difficulty level, based on a scale running from entry-level (easiest) up to level 8 (most difficult). This means that regulated TEFL qualifications such as those offered by i-to-i, are officially equivalent to other vocational and academic qualifications on the same level in the Ofqual qualifications framework.

So, if your friend, auntie, or future employer asks you what your TEFL qualification is equivalent to, you can tell them that a Level 3 TEFL qualification is the equivalent level to an A-level, an NVQ level 3, or a music exam at grades 6-8 (which all sit at level 3 on the framework) and a Level 5 TEFL qualification is the equivalent level to a diploma of higher education (DipHE), a foundation degree or an NVQ level 5, which all sit at level 5.

Now that’s something to be proud of!

Q: What qualifications do I need to be a TEFL teacher?

The most important qualifications that you need to be a TEFL teacher are fluent English and a TEFL certificate / TEFL diploma – plus tons of enthusiasm, brilliant self-motivation and a huge topping of flexibility.

The level of TEFL qualification you need to be a TEFL teacher will depend on your personal situation. For example, if you’ve got significant previous teaching experience or are only going to do a short stint of volunteer teaching, a 120-hour, Level 3 TEFL certificate may be sufficient. However, if your aim is to find paid TEFL jobs across the globe, you’ll normally need a Level 5 TEFL certificate or TEFL diploma.

For some TEFL posts, particularly in Asian countries, you will also need to be a native English speaker (ie speak English as your first language and be a citizen of the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa). Similarly, some TEFL employers stipulate that you must have a bachelor’s degree on top of your TEFL qualification.

Don’t panic if you’re not a native English speaker and/or don’t have a degree though. While you’ll find more TEFL opportunities if you tick both these boxes, there definitely are still jobs out there for TEFL-certified, non-native English teachers or for TEFL teachers who don’t have a degree. If this is you, and you’re struggling to find a TEFL job, get in touch with i-to-i’s fabulous (and free!) TEFL jobs support service that will help you to find the role that’s right for you.

Q: Is TEFL hard to pass?

If you’re a native English speaker and, particularly, if you’ve got a degree then you’re definitely capable of passing your TEFL course.

This doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing that you will pass your TEFL however. You do need to put in the time and effort required to work through the course and complete the assignments. We have a dedicated team of in-house TEFL experts who will be on hand to help and guide you throughout your TEFL course to ensure you pass with flying colours – that’s why our pass rate is 99%!

Q: What is a Level 5 course?

A Level 5 course is the highest level of TEFL training course open to new TEFL teachers. As such, it’s hugely respected by TEFL employers across the globe. Level 5 courses include i-to-i’s Level 5 TEFL certification course and Level 5 TEFL diploma as well as CELTA and CertTESOL.

A Level 5 course enables you to study TEFL in greater depth and to cover a wider range of topics than you’ll find in a Level 3 course. For example, i-to-i’s Level 5 TEFL diploma lasts for 300 hours (compared to 120 hours for the Level 3 certificate course). Alongside core TEFL methodology, our Level 5 TEFL diploma also includes specialist modules in teaching young learners, teaching business English and teaching English online.

This means that TEFL teachers who have completed a Level 5 course are in demand by TEFL employers – and TEFL teachers who have completed a Level 5 course can feel confident they will hit the ground running from day one. Which makes it a win all round!

Q: Which TEFL course is best?

Which TEFL course is best for you depends on your personal circumstances and where you plan to teach. A Level 3 TEFL certification course can be a great option if you’re looking for a TEFL taster, want to do a short stint of volunteer teaching or if you’re not a native English speaker and may struggle with the greater depth of a Level 5 TEFL course.

On the other hand, a Level 5 TEFL certification course is likely to be a better fit if you’re a native-level English speaker, planning to look for paid work teaching English online, or want to TEFL around the world. The greater range and depth of TEFL skills you cover in a Level 5 course are specifically pitched at helping you to become a successful, paid TEFL teacher.

If you really want to jump to the top of the TEFL jobs application queue and feel super-prepared in a broad range of TEFL settings from day one, the Level 5 TEFL diploma course could be your perfect option. This TEFL course gives you everything from the Level 5 TEFL certification course and also includes specialist modules in teaching online and business English on top, helping you to stand out from the crowd.

If you’re not sure which TEFL course is best for you, request a call from one of our super friendly TEFL experts. We’ll talk you through the options and make sure we find the TEFL course that is right for you.

Q: Are TEFL courses worth it?

Yes! TEFL courses are definitely worth it – they give you the qualification you need to find paid work around the world plus the skills to do the job once you get there. And that’s not just us saying it.

Take a look at any TEFL jobs board and you’ll see that TEFL courses tops the lists of qualifications employers are looking for. In fact, our latest TEFL Market Snapshot Report revealed that over three-quarters of the TEFL jobs advertised stipulated a TEFL qualification.

On top of that, i-to-i’s TEFL courses have been specifically designed to enable you to deliver well-structured, engaging and relevant English lessons to non-native English speakers of different ages and levels, even if you don’t speak a word of their language. Which is pretty important when you see those eager students staring at you on day one!

And if you’re need even more convincing, take a look at the reviews our TEFL courses get on independent course review sites such as reviews.io – we’re delighted that our TEFL graduates consistently tell the world that their TEFL course was definitely worth doing!

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