The most important part of your TEFL course has to be its certification. There are different levels of TEFL certification to choose from. With the rise in the international market for online ESL teaching jobs and with over a million people enrolling for it, the competition has never been easier out there. But with the right course and the right choice of certification, you might just crack it and be out there living your dream.
Now because you’re here, I assume you already did your part of the research on TEFL and are firm with your decision but the problem rises with the right choice of certification for your course. No worries because we are here to explain all the different levels of TEFL certification.
But before let us understand what is TEFL certification and why is it the most essential part of the course:
TEFL known as Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a course that trains you as an instructor and allows you to teach English in non-native countries to the speakers of the foreign language. For example, teaching English to Korean people in Korea.
TEFL courses qualify you to be able to teach English online with or without a degree but here’s where the certification comes in. There are certain International TEFL Standards that must meet your course and the certification.
But as per the International Standards for English language teaching, the certificate must meet 120 hours of the course training period.
International Standards for TEFL Certification:
- The minimum hour requirement for any TEFL course is minimum of 120 hours of training. Numerous TEFL course providers train you for as minimum as 20 hours or 60 hours for the beginners and it might seem affordable.
But as per the International Standards for English language teaching, the certificate must meet 120 hours of the course training period.
- The course must include a minimum of 6 hours of live in-class teaching practice to authentic English students. The 120 hours TEFL course training often consists of 100 hours of online teaching practice and 20 hours of in-class live teaching practice. However, this may not always be the same and may vary from course to course
- All your instructors or trainers should be highly professionals and must have either of the following qualifications: Diploma in TEFL or Diploma in TESOL/ DELTA/ a Masters degree. Your instructor or trainer must have at least 8 years of minimum experience in Training, Linguistics and ESL.
- The instructor must provide you with the training resources and materials that should include: Learning and language skills and awareness, classroom management, phonetics and methodologies.
- The most important part of your TEFL course is its accreditation. The accreditation must be verified with the university and the standards set. The accreditation provided with your course may have a quality assessment and assurance but, it may not always prove to be suitable.
This set of standards further decide the different levels of TEFL certification. Which brings us to our title and the reason you are here.
Levels of TEFL Certification:
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation was established in 2010. Ofqual is a UK government-regulated body. Ofqual has a standardized framework of qualification and assessment. The qualifications for Ofqual includes different levels of Tefl certification based on learners level, calculation of hours, quality assurance.
There are a variety of levels of TEFL certification based on their difficulty level. Higher the course level more the level of difficulty, work and time for completion of your work.
Level 0/ Unregulated:
Level zero TEFL qualification or unregulated TEFL course is a basic entry-level course that only covers basic knowledge about teaching skills. Most of the unregulated TEFL courses do not qualify under the Ofqual set of standards. These TEFL courses are the cheapest and hence tempting to go for but it does not cover the standards for a TEFL course.
Level 1 is a grade 3 to 1 under GCSE ( The General Certificate of Secondary Education ) which is an academic qualification in a particular subject. A GCSE grade 3 is a minimum pass grade under England, UK grading qualification. This level also covers a minimum key teaching and learning skill and may qualify for level 1 NVQ ( National Vocational Qualification).
Level 2 is a grade 4 to 9 under GCSE ( The General Certificate of Secondary Education ) which is an intermediate pass. At level 2 you learn language and learning skills, enhance your ability to perform a task and also get supervised. This qualifies you for a level 2 NVQ ( National Vocational Qualification ) and OCR ( Optical Character Recognition ).
A Level 3 TEFL qualification is the most cost-effective certification that covers all the set of standards that fall under Ofqual quality assurance. Level 3 is also equal to AS and A level certification and recognised all over the world. This level covers the minimum training hours requirement that is 120 hours to 320 hours. With level 3 certification you can get both a job abroad and also get to volunteer for it.
A level 3 course covers in detail your knowledge, teaching and language skills, lesson planning strategies and methodologies to apply your teaching. It also upskills classroom management skill. Online live teaching practice and supervision is done. Level 3 certification is a great choice for entry-level or beginners to qualify for teaching or ESL jobs online abroad.
Some of the recognized sites that provide Level 3 TEFL courses are:
1. i-to-i :
I-to-i has over 25 years of experience in training students to teach English abroad. They provide both level 3 and level 5 TEFL qualification. All their Level 3 courses have the UK government stamp of approval.
Their level 3 course provides 120 hours of training and covers a total of five modules. The course includes an introduction to TEFL, planning effective lessons, classroom management and your vocabulary and grammar.
All the courses are regulated by both Ofqual and ODLQC (Open & Distance Learning Quality Council). Their courses are cost-effective and all their team members are DELTA qualified and highly professional.
2. TEFLcourse.net :
The TEFL course is an online certification service provider. Their course training period is 120 hours with a total of 20 units. Half of their course units cover teaching the classroom, teaching theories and methodologies, and lesson planning. The other half includes language awareness, speech and tense system and pronunciation.
They also provide post-course job guidance and interview preparation. Along with their certification, each student will receive an official copy from the Paris College of International Education.
Intesol worldwide has a training experience of over 26 years at TEFL courses. Their course also is inclusive of TEYL ( Teaching English to Young Learners). The course period is 120 hours and consists of a total of eleven modules. The final grade on your certificate is the average grade of all the assignments.
The course will cover realistic organising and planning your study periods. Deductive analysis and use of grammar, as well as pronunciation and lexis, will also be covered. The course will also guide you with classroom management and lesson planning.
As mentioned Intesol also provides TEYL which will help you differentiate between young learners and adults, their stages and development and teaching techniques.
The TEFL course is accredited with ALAP (Awarding Language Acquisition for Professionals), a UK based organisation specialised in ELT training.
Level 4 TEFL qualification is provided only by a few TEFL course providers. This level covers all the Ofqual set of standards and quality assurance. Level 4 TEFL course covers 140 hours of training period which includes 20 hours of practical teaching experience. The course includes lexis and phonology, grammar awareness, lesson planning and classroom management.
Level 4 is more preferable when it comes to English teaching opportunities in competitive international markets. A Level 4 certification qualifies for an HNC ( Higher National Certificate ), level 4 NVQ ( National Vocational Qualification ).
The most highly recognised and preferred certification worldwide is a Level 5 qualification. A level 5 TEFL certificate meets the same assessment and regulatory standards as CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL qualifications. Level 5 TEFL certification is best for people who wish to apply for a high level of teaching positions abroad or online. Although this level course is a bit expensive it will help you meet your higher salary expectations.
The level 5 course includes 160 hours to 300 hours of training. The TEFL level 5 course will include an in-depth study of vocabulary and pronunciation, language skills, phonetics. The course also covers strategies and methodologies for classroom management and lesson planning.
Some of the recognized sites that provide TEFL Level 5 certification are as follows:
1. Premier TEFL:
The Premier TEFL offers both entry-level 120 hours TEFL course and level 5, 168 hours of TEFL course. Premier TEFL is regulated by Ofqual and follows all the set of standards and assessments it has set. They also claim to provide a CELTA level of training with professionally assessed modules. Their trainers are DELTA qualified.
There are a total of eleven modules that will cover principles of TEFL, grammatical terminologies, vocabulary and pronunciation, writing and speaking skills. They will also assist you with lesson planning, creating materials to teach. At Premier TEFL they will also train you for teaching English to young learners.
Premier TEFL also gets you a letter of reference, job advice and tutor-support.
2. The TEFL Academy:
The TEFL Academy course has a training period of 168 hours which includes 20 hours of in-class teaching practice. The course comes with a grammar course. At TEFL academy they also provide a free top-up course which includes teaching young learners, business English and online teaching.
The course is approved by DEAC and regulated by Ofqual. It is awarded by Qualifi, a UK government-recognised body.
Their only course includes ten compulsory units that cover vocabulary, pronunciation, classroom management and lesson planning.
3. TEFL Org:
TEFL Org is one of the Ofqual regulated Level 5 TEFL course provider. They provide 168 hours of the course training period that covers 79 hours of TEFL methodology, 30 hours solely dedicated to your grammar, a total of 20 hours of video observation. Further, the course provides 19 hours of TEFL principals. Telephone teaching and teaching for a large class 10 hours each.
TEFL org provided lifetime access to their job support, downloadable course content, and personal tutor.
The TEFL org is accredited by Ofqual. There are a total of seven accreditors including BAC ( British Accreditation Council ), SQA, ODLQC.
- i-to-i also provides a level 5 course. I have mentioned their course at level three in detail. Their level 5 course covers a training period of 180 hours with instructors who are DELTA level qualified.
CELTA Level 5:
CELTA, an acronym for Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults is a bit different from TEFL, or to say, it comprises both TEFL and TESL. They are the most highly recognized certification course worldwide and follows the University of Cambridge ESOL guidelines. CELTA is considered to be on a level 5 TEFL qualification.
As per the survey conducted by Cambridge, 70% of job recruiters ask for a CELTA certification with 90% just in the UK.
The course options include both in-classroom and online ( with a little in-classroom ) training. You can also go for a part-time course. CELTA could be a tad bit expensive option but is worth it.
A CELTA course will cover awareness of English language, principles and practice of TEFL. They will guide with your lesson planning for teaching, tests/exams, and for the reference to your students. Trainees will also get to sign up for their TEFLwork, which is a job assistance portal for English teachers.
Trinity CertTESOL Level 6:
CertTESOL at the Trinity College of London is the most recognised certification around the world. CELTA and Trinity CertTESOL are highly recognised certifications preferred by job recruiters worldwide. The Trinity CertTESOL or TEFL certification is a course for people with little or no teaching experience. The CertTESOL course is on Ofqual’s regulated quality framework and rated at level 5.
The course comprises a minimum of 130 hours of training with 70 hours of further study that gives a total of 200 hours of training. The course will cover your teaching skills, language awareness. They will also teach you about the diagnosis of real learners’ needs and classroom materials and how to use them.
Level 6 qualification is equivalent to a diploma or a degree level. This level of difficulty gets tougher at this level. The level 6 course is generally of 350 plus hours. Level 6 diploma is for TESOL ( Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language ). This course would be a great alternative for DELTA or Trinity college courses. To apply for a level 6 the trainee must have at least 2 years of teaching practice or a first degree.
Some of the recognized colleges and sites that provide Level 6 diploma in TESOL are:
1. London Teacher Training College:
London Teacher Training College TEFL course is Ofqual regulated. Their online level 6 Ofqual regulated Diploma in TESOL includes a total of 372 hours of study. As mentioned the minimum requirement to enrol or qualify for the course is the candidate must have two years of teaching experience. A bachelors degree/ First degree or equivalent is a must.
The course will include the study of applied linguistics and practical teaching skills. The candidate is assigned with a task and written work for each lesson, which is assessed by the tutor. This course will mainly benefit those who wish to possess higher qualifications in TESOL.
After the completion of the course, the candidate will receive their certification and a transcript.
2. Notting Hill College:
Notting Hill College provides Level 6 diploma in TESOL and is regulated by Ofqual. The total duration of the study is 372 hours. The key focus would be to develop your language skills, methodology, classroom management and linguistics.
The qualification requirements for the diploma in TESOL at Notting Hill is: the candidate must have teaching experience and hold a level 3/ level 4/ level 5 certificate in TEFL.
The diploma course is assessed with a set of 20 essays, lesson plans, reports and other projects.
Trinity CertPT Level 8:
The Trinity Certification of Practicing Teachers ( CertPT ) is a new qualification for the development of English teachers. Their Level 6 qualification falls between a Level 5 certificate and an advanced Level 7 diploma qualification.
The duration of the course is just 100 hours which includes 30 hours of guided learning and 70 hours of self-study. The key features of the course revolve around how to evaluate the resources. Knowing how to adapt them as per the needs of the learner. Creating resources to meet the needs of the learner and Reflect on your decisions.
Level 7 is equivalent to a masters degree or a postgraduate degree. According to the Ofqual’s Regulated Quality Framework requirements, Level 7 qualifications in TESOL must include real-time observed teaching practice, academic research performed, and the development of practical skills based on current theoretical developments in the industry. In addition to that, the Level 7 courses must involve around 600 hours of study (Total Qualification Time).
DELTA Level 8:
Delta (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the world’s most widely regarded diploma level course for English teachers. The Diploma course is assessed under The University of Cambridge guidelines. The Delta course includes a total of three modules of which you can choose either all three of them or just one. For the complete Delta qualification, all three modules are a must.
Module 1 is both in-class or online and focuses on extending candidates knowledge at teaching English. A written examination will be held twice a year in June and in December. The Candidate may consult the tutor for the closest Cambridge examination centre.
Module 2 is mostly held in classrooms as it requires a lot of attention. Module 2 focuses on practical teaching skill, lesson planning and classroom management. They do have an online blended option where a Cambridge assessor will come at your place for the practical assessment.
Module 3 consists of two options, the first option mainly focuses on the ELT specialism and the second on management.
To qualify for Delta, the candidate must have the best TEFL certification and at least a year of teaching practice.
Trinity Level 9 DipTESOL:
The Trinity College of London Level 7 Diploma in TESOL is a perfect course that will help you get highly qualified jobs. Jobs like being an examiner, director of studies, or teacher educator often require DipTESOL. The diploma course is regulated by Ofqual. Level 7 DipTESOL is equivalent to a master’s degree or postgraduate degree.
To qualify for the course you must hold a first degree or any equivalent qualification. The candidate must have at least two years of teaching experience.
The course mainly focuses on language, its components and professional development.
Level 8 qualification is considered as an equivalent to a PhD coursework. It will usually take years of dedication and practice.
The Tefl university provides a fast-track Ph.D. course in 12 or a full 36 months. The candidate must have a Masters’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in any subject to qualify for the course. In addition to that, the candidate must have 12 months of teaching experience. to that, the candidate must have 12 months of teaching experience.
These are the top essential levels of TEFL qualifications. Each different level of TEFL certification has its own pace and difficulty criteria. No level is too hard to get through if you choose the right course, highly-qualified trainers, and your utmost dedication and practice.
Higher-level courses always come with a benefit, it is advisable to go for a level 3 or better a level 5 course to benefit your job recruitment chances at teaching English abroad.
If you are someone who already has some teaching experience or are a TEFL certificate holder but want to enhance their knowledge and practice, you can go for Level 7 and above. I would personally advise for a CELTA level 5 or Trinity CertTESOL.
Wish you all the best!
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