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How can I get TESOL certification?

Whether it’s the spectacular white sandy beaches on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island, the mystical temples of Kyoto or Rio de Janeiro’s carnival buzz, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that somewhere in the world is calling your name. And TESOL (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a great way to get there. There’s just one thing standing in your way – you’re not sure how to get TESOL certification. You’ve come to the right place.

What is TESOL certification?

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. TESOL certification means that you have been trained how to teach English by an accredited TESOL provider – and have an official certificate to prove it.

Why do you need TESOL 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 TESOL job without TESOL certification. Even if you did manage to convince a school to take you on, more often than not you’ll need to provide a copy of your TESOL certificate to get a work permit, particularly in Asian countries.

On top of that, there’s a lot more to TESOL than chatting to a few friendly locals in your native tongue. A TESOL 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 TESOL certification.

What is the best TESOL certification program?

Now, if life were simple, there would be an internationally agreed TESOL qualification or set of standards. Back in the real world, there’s a huge variation in the quality and content of TESOL certification programs so it’s important to choose wisely.

To make sure your TESOL certification is worthwhile, pick a program 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 TESOL qualification
  • Gets good reviews.

CELTA and CertTESOL are the most widely recognised TESOL 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 TESOL as a career option or you want to teach English in a native English speaking country, where CELTA or CertTESOL is generally considered to be a core requirement.

On the other hand, if your main purpose of taking a TESOL 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 / TESOL certification programme that gets good reviews from students worldwide and leads to an English government-regulated TEFL / TESOL 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 TESOL certification course cover?

Regardless of the type of programme you choose, all good TESOL certification courses should cover:

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

On top of that, you may have the option for additional specialist modules – such as teaching young learners or business English – as well as modules that will stretch your knowledge and skills, such as advanced grammar or lesson planning.

Which TESOL course is best?

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

  • How you like to learn. You can do a TESOL 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 TESOL course that offers specialist modules in your chosen subjects on top of the core TESOL program
  • Whether you want follow-on support once you complete the course. Some TESOL providers simply offer the course. Others offer internships, worldwide jobs boards and access to teaching resources such as lesson plans after you’ve finished.
  • 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 need to attend

Ready to go?

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

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