TEFL certification is the qualification you get from successfully completing a TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).
Equally, you could complete a TESOL course to become TESOL certified and these qualifications would be for the most part, interchangeable.
Technically, the slight difference between the two is that the term TESOL can also be used to describe teaching English to non-native speakers within a native English-speaking country. So, for example, English teachers who work within countries such as the UK, Ireland, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa would use the term TESOL rather than TEFL. The term TEFL is generally used for teaching English to non-native English speakers in non-native English-speaking countries.
The main thing to remember is that you can use your TEFL certification or TESOL certification to teach English abroad! Phew!
If you want to teach English online or in a foreign country, you will usually need TEFL certification to do so. This is so that the school or language company who are hiring you know that you’ve been properly trained and so that you can obtain the correct visa to allow you to work there.
You don’t need any prior qualifications to get TEFL certification or to teach English as a foreign language, however, you may need a Batchelor’s Degree (in any subject) to obtain a working visa for countries such as Vietnam, China and Thailand. Your TEFL certificate and / or degree may also need to be legalised (notarized) by a solicitor or embassy to prove it’s legitimate.
1. Make sure your TEFL Course is Accredited and Regulated
If you’re looking to get your TEFL certification, don’t be fooled into buying the first or the cheapest course that you come across. You will firstly need to find out whether the course is legitimate and accredited or, even better, regulated. This information should be displayed clearly on the course provider’s website and can also be verified directly through the accrediting/regulating body’s website too.
2. Look for TEFL Courses with a minimum of 120 hours training
If you’re new to TEFL, you will need a course that provides at least 120 hours of training to meet the industry standard. Anything less could be considered insufficient by most employers and we always recommend completing as many training hours as you can, or you may find that you’re overshadowed by other applicants holding a TEFL certificate for more than 120 hours.
3. Classroom Training vs Online Training
Most TEFL courses are mainly online-based but often there is the option to participate in some classroom-based training alongside this. Consider your location and whether you are physically able to attend the classroom course. If you can attend, this is generally more desirable for employers so try and go for the combined training wherever possible.
4. Is Tutor Support included in your course?
Just like any other course, throughout your TEFL certification, you should be able to have (remote) access to Level 7 / DELTA qualified tutors throughout your TEFL course. This makes a huge difference with online courses because you won’t have access to face-to-face tutoring, so it really helps to be able to speak to someone for support over the phone or via email.
5. Does the TEFL provider have good reviews?
Finally, it doesn’t hurt to review the course ratings provided by current/past users. For obvious reasons, this can give an insight into the usability, legitimacy and/or potential issues with the course and these can be compared with other course providers’ ratings to help you make a more informed decision. Read ours here.
Let’s start from the top. Why would you want to get TEFL certified? Well, there are lots of reasons! With your shiny new TEFL certification, you can travel the world, teaching children in local schools and meeting tons of people from all cultures and walks of life. Or you can teach English online, work flexibly from home or become a TEFL digital nomad, travelling the world whilst earning a good income online. Plus, you’ll learn a valuable new skill, boost your CV, work in a rewarding role and help students all over the world learn the international language that is English. What’s not to love?!
Who can get TEFL certification?
The beauty of TEFL lies in its accessibility. Anyone who can speak English fluently can get TEFL certified. You don’t need any prior teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree or any specific qualifications. You don’t even need to be great at grammar! All you need is an accredited TEFL Course to get you trained up and ready to teach English as a foreign language.
In terms of age limits, you simply need to be over 18 – there are no official upper limits, although some employers may specify that they want candidates to be under a certain age. If you’re a mature TEFL candidate, don’t let this worry you. There are still plenty of jobs out there for teachers of any age – check out our blog for more info.
Do I need to be a native English speaker to get TEFL certified?
[To clarify, a native English speaker is anyone who speaks English as their first language.]
Good news! No, you don’t need to be a native English speaker to get TEFL certified. You just need to have a fluent or even better, native level of English to be employable in the TEFL industry.
Some employers may specify that they only want applicants whose first language is English – but there are tons of positions out there for teachers who don’t necessarily have a native level of English.
Where can I get TEFL certification?
If you’ve made the decision to teach English as a foreign language – either abroad or online – you’ll first need to get your TEFL certification in order to apply for jobs. But it can be tricky to choose a provider with so many around. Just make sure the course provider you choose to train with ticks all of the five points above – like i-to-i does!
Things to look out for
When you’re in the market for a TEFL certification course, there are a few things to avoid to make sure you’re getting proper training from a reputable provider with the right accreditation. These are:
What are the different types of TEFL certification?
There are a number of different ways in which you can get TEFL certified – we’ll start with online TEFL courses.
The benefits of online TEFL certification courses are:
The benefits of classroom TEFL certification courses are:
The benefits of combined TEFL certification courses are:
How do I find work once I’ve got my TEFL certification?
The easiest and most effective way to find work both online and abroad is through online TEFL jobs boards, such as LoveTEFL Jobs – i-to-i’s sister company.
On these sites, you’ll be able to register your details for free, and then view and apply for positions that are suitable for you.
The application process for TEFL jobs is generally straightforward:
First, you’ll submit your application online along with a copy of your updated CV.
Then, the employer will let you know if they’d like to see you for an interview. This will likely take place via video call and is the employers first chance to see whether you’d be a fit as a TEFL teacher.
If you’re successful at that stage, you’ll get a job offer – hurray! Make sure you read through your contract fully before signing anything.
So now you’re fully informed on TEFL certification, all that’s left is for you to pick a TEFL course and get booked – hurray! Here are a few reasons why i-to-i should be your first choice when deciding on a place to get your TEFL certification. If we do say so ourselves…
Read our article Which TEFL course is right for me? to help find the TEFL certification course that is most suitable for you.
Or if you want to learn more about i-to-i TEFL courses, you can view our full range by clicking here.
For more info on this exciting opportunity, simply pop your details in below and we’ll get in touch very soon!