Knowledge of the English language is always beneficial in this era of globalization. But what if you could make a career out of teaching English while traveling abroad? Sounds like a dream? Read on to know more.

There are many courses available to help kickstart and advance your career in teaching English to non-native English speakers. Your choice, of course, depends on your target audience and the place of teaching as explained below.   

TEFL/TESL/TESOL – Know what it means  

You may have heard the terms TEFL/TESL/TESOL used interchangeably. Please be aware that these terms do NOT signify any specific certification, school, or company. Many courses and institutions are offering TEFL certification and TEFL courses online.   

TEFL Teaching English as a Foreign Language:  

The best TEFL certification equips you with the skills required to teach English abroad in countries with non-native English speakers like China, Japan, or Brazil. TEFL certification is the most widely recognized and highly regarded qualification of its kind around the world.

TEFL is rather an industry with a wide variety of TEFL courses being offered by various institutions. TEFL certifications and TEFL courses are of varying quality and fee structure.

For example, you could easily take the TEFL course online at Henry Harvin Insititute which offers one of the best TEFL certifications.  

TESL Teaching English as a Second Language:   

TESL certification is a qualification for teaching students who live in native-speaking countries but whose first language is not English. Some examples are teaching students, workers, immigrants to countries such as the USA, Australia, and Canada. A TESL would be suitable for jobs in these countries such as an English teacher for non-native school students. 


This term can be used interchangeably with TESOL. It has become less popular to use this term and most educators prefer to use TESOL instead.   

TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages:

TESOL is a generic term that refers to both TESL and TEFL. For example, a teacher qualified in the U.S with a TESOL certificate can teach English locally to non-native English speakers. Now if he/she chooses to go to another non-native speaking country like China, a TESOL certificate qualifies you to teach English as a foreign language as well.  

What is a TEFL / TESL / TESOL certification?  

All three certifications qualify internationally, to teach English as a foreign or second language to speakers of other languages. Though the terms are used interchangeably, the most common courses are TEFL courses and TESOL courses. It is always better to know the major differences before investing in a TESOL or TEFL certification.   

It also helps to understand the curriculum before deciding which one suits you perfectly. Nowadays, these courses are available online and there are many options for taking the TESOL or TEFL course online and get certified.   

TEFL vs TESL vs TESOL – 10 Major differences  

#1 Degree of qualification  

TEFL certification does not offer a degree in a university but provides you with a good qualification to teach English in a foreign country or in your home country. The best TEFL certification equips you with world-class skills to handle a classroom, enhance your English knowledge skills in grammar, writing, reading and listening comprehension, and much more.

TESOL/TESL on the other hand allows you to pursue it independently or as a Masters’s or Bachelors’s degree as well.

#2 Duration  

Usually, a TEFL course duration may be anywhere between 4 weeks to 6 months. The 4-week long courses will be around 30-40 hours per week (full time) and are more intensive. A TEFL course duration also depends on the institution of study and whether it is a TEFL certification online or not. 

120-hours TEFL / TESOL Online Certification Course

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A TEFL course online is self-paced and can be completed in 3-6 months. The best TEFL certification offers 100+ hours and has a practical training component.  

A TESL/TESOL certification of 120 hours is the minimum standard to qualify for a teaching job. However, if you are pursuing a college degree in TESL/TESOL it may take anything between 2-4 years. For example, a TESL B.Ed. degree in Malaysia takes a total of 4 years to complete.   

Generally, TESL/TEFL certifications do not take too long to complete, but if you are working full-time there are a lot of flexible self-paced online TEFL courses that you can take.  

Check out- TEFL Certification Course in Mumbai

#3 Countries of teaching  

Before deciding the right course, the place of teaching has to be decided. Are you planning to travel abroad and would like to take up teaching temporarily? Or you are relocating to a country where English is not the native language. You would like to take up teaching English as a job, then a TEFL certification / TEFL course is apt for you.

These countries include China, Japan, South Korea, East, and West Asia, Middle East, etc. With the advent of TEFL certification online and TEFL courses online, it is very easy to qualify yourself no matter where you stay.   

If you stay in English speaking country and would like to stay there and teach, then a TESL/TESOL certification would be apt for you. This would include countries like U.S.A, Canada, U.K, etc. However, to get into the education department in the U.S you would need a degree in education along with TESL/TESOL qualification.  

#4 Target students  

The best TEFL certifications and TEFL courses primarily qualify you to teach students in countries where the native language is not English. Here students would be studying English academically as a second or third language similar to History or Geography. You would predominantly be teaching at school, but you may also be teaching adults online if you are employed by companies that teach English online.

You would be training them on grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension, and speaking for academic purposes.   

The skills the students learn will help them write essays, communicate better. For students who plan to study abroad, EFL helps them crack exams like TOEFL or IELTS before getting into university in an English-speaking country. Hence learning English academically is very important in shaping the student’s future.

On the other hand, if you are TESL/TESOL certified, as a teacher you would be helping people (children or adults) from all walks of life to communicate in English in an English-speaking country. This includes college students from a foreign country, ex-pats, immigrants, etc. For example, you may be teaching an immigrant worker to communicate effectively at job interviews, or with their employer.

Also Check– TEFL certification course in Pune

#5 Job Opportunities  

A TEFL certification offers you a variety of job prospects that you can choose from. You can teach online from the comforts of your home or you can travel around the world to teach in-person. There is a wide demand for TEFL-certified English teachers around the world from China to the Middle East to Latin America.  

Here are some of the job prospects if you have completed TEFL certification.  

Teaching English online for a company

If you work full time and would like to teach English on a part-time basis from home, there are many English tutoring companies around the world that tutor children and adults. Many online tutoring companies are based in China or Latin America, so you may be catering to students (mostly teenagers and young kids) who take English classes on weekends or during holidays. You may also teach University students or business professionals.

Teaching English online as a freelancer  

This is similar to teaching for an online company, but you would be running your own business and be responsible for getting your clients.  

Teaching English in the classroom  

There are many lucrative job opportunities for teaching face to face. To qualify for most in-person positions, you will need to invest in a TEFL certification at an institute like Henry Harvin. This prepares you for a classroom teaching job, whether you want to teach in your home country or abroad. You would be teaching at public or international schools, English language institutes, private tutoring (preparing students for IETLS or TOEFL). 

Some other job opportunities for both TESOL and TEFL are Volunteer English teacher, head of the English department, English language teacher trainer, curriculum designer, or course designer. If you have a Master’s in English, you can even teach at Universities and colleges.   

Kindly Check- TEFL Certification Course in New York

#6 Course syllabus

The syllabus for a TEFL course or a TEFL course online varies with each institute. The best TEFL certification courses offer 120 hours of course content such as the one at Henry Harvin. The syllabus will cover the teaching process, the role of an instructor, how to teach young learners, teaching, vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. 

It also includes courses on lesson planning, classroom management, testing, and assessment. It is better to conduct thorough research on the best TEFL certifications before deciding on what to pursue.   

#7 Certification and Credibility  

A TEFL/TESL certificate does not expire and there is rarely a need to recertify. Both the courses are equally credible and can mostly be used interchangeably. Researching the institute can help you decide the best TEFL certification or the best TESOL course.

Do they have a global presence? Are they affiliated with any universities in the United States or the United Kingdom? What are the reviews from alumni? How many years have they offered their TESOL/TEFL courses? All these questions help you to decide on what is best for you.  

Know about-TEFL Certification Course in Florida

#8 Cost   

The cost of TEFL certification depends on the institute offering it, the number of tutors, and whether it is an online or in-person course. An in-person TEFL course will cost anywhere around $1500-$2000, while interactive online TEFL courses with live tutors will cost between $900 – $1500.

There are also self-paced online courses that cost between $300- $600. Henry Harvin offers one of the best TEFL certifications with 120 hours of online, self-paced course content with tutor mentoring.

TESL/TESOL courses cost around $400 to $500 for certifications of 100 hours. A university-level TESOL course costs between $1000 and $2000.   

#9 Prerequisites  

The good thing about the TEFL course is that you need not have any specific degree or formal qualifications as a prerequisite for pursuing it. You just have to demonstrate good English-speaking skills. If English is not your native language you may have to gain a Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) to prove your English-speaking skills. You need not have any prior teaching skills or teaching experience.  

TESOL/TESL course entry requirements are more stringent than the TEFL course and usually require a bachelor’s degree.   

#10 Benefits  

Being TESOL/TEFL certified can open avenues for you to see the world, promote cultural exchange, and experience other cultures. If you teach in another country, you will experience a new culture and people You would get more job opportunities around the world as you would be internationally certified.   Apart from this, a TEFL certification helps you get into the corporate sector. 

With the TEFL qualification, a trained teacher can become a corporate trainer or work as a voice and accent trainer. TESOL/TESL prepares aspiring teachers to fulfill their dreams of teaching in a school/ classroom environment.   

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A TEFL certification offers many benefits like a high-paying overseas job, easy working Visa, world-wide accreditation, travel benefits, online teaching, and much more. Whether you are looking to teach online or overseas part-time or looking to travel abroad TEFL course is the best option for you. On the other hand, if you are already qualified for teaching and are looking to upscale yourself with international accreditation, then TESOL/TESL would be the best option for you.   

Choosing the right TEFL course is important and the best TEFL certification not only equips you with all the tools needed for becoming a great teacher but also with practical hands-on training with the help of experienced tutors.   


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