ESL teaching vs. EFL teaching vs. ESOL teaching

So, you’ve made the decision to teach English online and abroad – great choice! The first step of your journey is to get qualified before you start your exciting new career. While teaching English is a pretty straightforward process, understanding the difference between qualifications can be tricky. Carry on reading to find out whether you need an ESL, EFL or ESOL certification to land your dream teaching job…

What is an ESL certification?

ESL or TESL stands for Teaching English as a Second Language. This type of qualification is essential for teaching non-native English speakers in your home country and abroad. As a result, your students’ native tongue will be anything but English. ESL teachers help students with everything from reading and writing to listening and speaking. Once you’ve become ESL qualified you can teach English online and in-person – amazing!

What is an EFL certification?

EFL or TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language – simple!  It’s what you’ll be doing if you plan to teach English online or abroad. A TEFL certification means that you’ve successfully completed an accredited TEFL course like our Level 3 or Level 5 Courses. Employers will need to see that you’re qualified before you’re offered any paid or voluntary teaching positions but luckily for you, this can be done in just a matter of weeks – sign us up!

What is an ESOL certification?

ESOL or TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. And big surprise, a TESOL certification means that you’ve got an accredited TESOL qualification. As with TEFL, this qualification is your passport to teaching English around the world.

What is the difference between ESL, EFL and ESOL?

ESL, EFL and ESOL teacher in China

If we’re being technical about it, TEFL refers to teaching English to students who live in a country where English is not the official language. TESOL and TESL on the other hand, have a slightly broader definition – as they refer to teaching English to non-native English speakers wherever they live in the world.

However, outside of North America, TEFL, TESL and TESOL are all used as terms for teaching English to non-native speakers, regardless of where the teaching takes place.

Is it better to have an ESL, EFL or ESOL certification?

ESL, ESOL and EFL courses tend to be similar in level and content. It might be worth checking the visa requirements of the country you’d like to teach in before you start your course. Here at i-to-i, we’ve qualified over 210,000 teachers, many of whom are now living the dream teaching English online and abroad. Most employers will accept ESL, EFL, and ESOL teachers as long as they’ve studied a minimum of 120 hours.

If you’re struggling to find the right course for you feel free to get in touch with a member of our team!

We have a range of TEFL Courses that are fully accredited by the ODLQC and regulated by Ofqual! Check them out here

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Good luck and happy TEFLing!

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  1. Nola Hollis

    I would like to do this course to teach English in Egypt. Can someone contact me by email. I am in Egypt now and dont get good connection for phone talkin. I am American. Thank You.

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