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How can I get TEFL certification?

TEFL certification is your passport to teaching and travelling your way around the globe. Amazing! But how can you get TEFL certification? Read on to find out.

What is TEFL certification?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. TEFL certification means that you have been trained how to teach English by an accredited TEFL provider – and have an official certificate to prove it. So, to get TEFL certification, you must successfully complete a TEFL certification course.

Why do you need TEFL certification?

Not so long ago, the only qualification you needed to teach English abroad was to be a native English speaker. These days, you’ll struggle to find a reasonable TEFL job without TEFL certification. Even if you did manage to convince a school to take you on, more often than not you’d need to provide a copy of your TEFL certificate to get a work permit, particularly in Asian countries.

On top of that, there’s a lot more to TEFL than chatting to a few friendly locals in your native tongue. A TEFL certification course trains you how to structure, develop and deliver effective lessons and gives you practical tips on managing different levels and ages of classes.

In other words, if you want to teach English abroad legally and effectively, you need to have TEFL certification.

How do I find a TEFL certification course?

Now, if life were simple, there would be an internationally agreed TEFL certification qualification or a defined set of standards that all TEFL certification courses are linked to. Back in the real world, there’s no worldwide (or even UK) regulatory body for TEFL. Instead, a quick Google search will bring up hundreds of different TEFL courses, with a huge variation in quality and content.

What is the best TEFL certification course?

If you want to end up with a TEFL certificate that will help you get paid work teaching English abroad, you need to pick a TEFL course that:

  • Has a minimum of 120 teaching hours, which can include online teaching
  • Is delivered by an accredited provider and, ideally, leads to a regulated qualification
  • Gets good reviews.

CELTA and CertTESOL are the most widely recognised TEFL certification programmes worldwide. Both courses are tightly regulated and run in numerous countries across the globe. This means that, if you pick one of these courses, you can be confident you’ll be getting good quality, trusted content with hands-on classroom teaching experience.

This recognition comes at a price however – and a fairly hefty one at that, with CELTA and CertTESOL courses costing around £1,500 ($2,000 / €1,750). Nevertheless, CELTA or CertTESOL can be a great investment if you’re looking at TEFL as a career option, you want to teach English in a native English speaking country or you hope to get a job at a British Council school – in each of these cases, CELTA or CertTESOL is generally considered to be a core requirement.

On the other hand, if your main purpose of taking a TEFL course is to fund your travels across Asia, Central America, South America or Eastern Europe it’s worth considering other options. For example, i-to-i TEFL now offers a TEFL certification programme that gets good reviews from students worldwide and leads to an English government-regulated TEFL qualification accepted by numerous employers in non-native English speaking countries. Their courses don’t match CELTA and CertTESOL for global recognition or the depth of hands-on training you’ll receive. However you will get a good quality TEFL certification course that covers substantially the same material but costs considerably less.

What does a TEFL certification course cover?

Regardless of the provider you choose, a good TEFL certification course should cover:

  • Teaching theory and methodology
  • How to plan and deliver effective lessons
  • How to teach specific English language skills, including reading, writing, speaking, vocabulary and grammar
  • How to manage a TEFL class and create a positive learning environment.

Many courses will also offer additional specialist modules, such as teaching international English exam classes or business English, as well as modules that will stretch your knowledge and skills, such as advanced grammar or lesson planning.

Which TEFL course is best for me?

Once you’ve decided whether to follow a CELTA, CertTESOL or an alternative good quality TEFL certification programme, the choice of which specific TEFL course is best for you really comes down to personal preference. Think about:

  • How you like to learn. You can do a TEFL course fully online, in a classroom setting or a mixture of both
  • If you want to specialise in a particular area, such as teaching young learners or teaching online. If so, make sure you choose a TEFL course that offers specialist modules in your chosen subjects on top of the core TEFL programme
  • Whether you want follow-on support once you have completed the course. Some TEFL providers simply provide the course. Others offer internships, worldwide jobs boards and access to teaching resources, such as lesson plans after you’ve finished studying
  • When you want to take the course and how quickly you want to complete it. Unless you’re going for a fully online course, there will be set dates in specific locations that you’ll need to attend, so you need to make sure these are realistic for you.

Read our article There are so many TEFL courses out there! Which TEFL course should I take? to find out more.

Ready to go?

Get in touch if you have any more questions about TEFL certification – we’d love to help. And once you’ve completed your course, remember to check back here to find the perfect TEFL job. Watch out world – here you come!

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