TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TEFL certification is a program which is offered to people who wish to teach English abroad or online. It is a global industry that brings together people who wish to teach English to the world. The industry is growing at a rate of 15% per year. There are more than 20,000 certified native English speakers who are ready to teach English. TEFL is the most widely recognized certification for English language teaching professionals.
But, you have many questions, right? What is the best? How long does it take? Can I do a course online? What about TESOL and CELTA courses? Great! We’re here to answer all your TEFL questions!
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No, a TEFL certificate is not required to teach English abroad or online. However, some employers may prefer you to have one due to their belief that a TEFL certificate makes for a better teacher. For government teaching jobs in South Korea, China, or Taiwan, completing a 100+ hour TEFL course will increase your monthly salary by $100. That’s $1,200 over a year, which should easily repay the cost of online TEFL courses. JET is a highly respected program in Japan and it’s essential to have a TEFL Certificate to get hired.
No. Easy, right?
Keep reading and you’ll learn what works best for you!
What about a 40, 60 or 80 hour course? Quick and easy, right? Yes! And AVOID! Many jobs in many countries have a rule that the TEFL, TESOL or CELTA course must be 100 hours or more. Any gain from a 160-hour, 180-hour, 240-hour course 310? Honestly, no. Just wasting your time and it’s a way for companies to get more of your $$$.
This can be super helpful, but is not a requirement. If you know a country you want to teach and live in, then 4 weeks of a course will help you adjust to the country and culture. Being in the country while applying for jobs can greatly help you. Some countries and companies strongly prefer that you’re already there. Figure out which country you want to teach in and see if getting a job is possible while living abroad. For example, teaching English in China is 100% possible without currently being in the county. Whereas, teaching English in Thailand is more difficult if you are not there when you applied. Managers in Thailand have seen too many people flake-out on job offers, so there is a very strong preference that you are already there.
Tons of quality online and in-person TEFL courses out there, right? Both train you on the basic methods and theories of teaching English as a foreign language. However, the major difference is online courses are more flexible, whereas on-site courses are more hands-on, involved, and intensive.
In the past, online courses didn’t have a practicum component — a section of the course where you practice teaching in front of an experienced teacher and get feedback.
This is changing. As Marcella of CIEE TEFL says, “our course and some other online providers do, in fact, offer a hands-on assessed teaching practicum. Ours is 20 hours. It used to be a major drawback, but some of us online providers are working hard to make sure our trainees have a meaningful practicum experience.”
In short, a practicum is essential for newbie teachers — it’s where you grow the most as a teacher and get to test out those theories. It’s not always as necessary for experienced teachers who want to supplement their prior education.
Conclusion, choosing an online or on-site certification comes down to your personal goals. Online courses are more affordable and flexible. Great! However, on-site courses, especially those in the country you want to teach in, can help you build connections, network for jobs, and stay focused. Not everyone is independent enough to learn something new online and needs in-person instruction. We get that!