The amount of time you’ll spend studying depends entirely on the kind of course you choose to take.
Getting a basic grasp of TEFL can take as little as 20 hours (in the case of a short classroom course), but getting qualified enough to confidently and effectively teach abroad can take much longer depending on the depth of learning you want to achieve.
Most employers ask for at least 120 hours of TEFL learning, so that’s a good benchmark to aim for. It’s helpful to research the country you’re thinking of travelling to and working out what specific requirements are needed for your chosen path. For some context:
Weekend TEFL course
A weekend TEFL course is 20 hours’ intensive TEFL learning over (unsurprisingly) a weekend, and gives you an insight into the techniques and methodology behind English language teaching, as well as the chance to practise some hands-on group teaching.
Online TEFL course
Online TEFL courses are usually 120 hours plus in order to meet the benchmark required by employers. You can add on specialist modules and even combine with a classroom course to give yourself a really rounded learning experience. The great thing about online TEFL courses is that they’re so flexible.
CELTA (Certificate in English Language teaching to Adults)
This intensive TEFL course can be full time (4 weeks long) or part time (3 months long) and includes six hours of assessed teaching practise to genuine EFL classes.