Looking for a job teaching the English language abroad, you come across several acronyms like TEFL, TESOL, CELTA.


Confused? Which one is better for your career? Let’s talk about it one by one.

1. What do TEFL, TESOL, CELTA Stand for:

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

This is the most common acronym you will come across while looking for teaching English abroad. It certifies you for teaching English in countries where English is not a native language.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speaker of Other Language OR Teaching English to Students of Other Languages)

It is another common acronym mostly used in Canada, Australia, USA. TESOL certification is for teaching English to non-native speakers in English- speaking countries.

CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)

It is one of the most widely recognized certifications in teaching English awarded by Cambridge university, Cambridge English Assessment.

Now CELTA is also known as Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages.

Before enrolling in an English language program, the following factors should be taken into account.

Read Also:  TEFL Vs TESOL

2. Take a Moment Before you Commit

Are you really into it?

Are you passionate about teaching and willing to bring some change, then yes teaching English can be your future career.

Before getting into teaching abroad make sure you really wanted your career in teaching English abroad. Landing in some unfamiliar place totally different from your culture, socio- economic background is something out of the box. You have to indulge yourself in their culture, lifestyle, and many more.

If you are adventurous, want to experience different cultures, and explore the country, then definitely you can go head.

 Are you Qualified Enough?

Different countries have different requirement for teaching abroad. Do proper research of the specific- country you are looking for. Most of the countries don’t particularly look for the degrees or previous teaching experience. However, international schools hire the one who has certification of at least 120 hours and from accredited training course.

Is the Course Accredited?

Make sure that you are being part of an accredited program. Take an adequate amount of time in doing research about the training centers. There are different regulatory bodies who will provide accreditation to the training centers, school and universities after evaluation of the program.

Don’t enroll in any program who cannot verify their accreditation bodies or claims to have their own accreditation bodies.

How Long is the Program?

Length of the course should be a minimum 120 hours. Don’t enroll in the short- term intensive classes which does not fulfill the minimum criteria of class hours.  Short-term courses might seem easy, but doesn’t meet international certification standards and you may end up being unemployed or deprived of the type of job you are looking for.

Instructors Qualified or Not?

Enquire about the instructor before your enrollment. The Instructor should be qualified and experienced enough to guide you.

Accredited programs usually have well- trained and experienced teachers and is assessed and approved by their accreditation bodies.

Is the Course Online or Classroom?

 You can choose either of this option depending upon your requirements. There are always pros and cons of everything, you need to decide which one is best for you.

Classroom courses require you to be present physically and can easily attend practical teaching classes. You need to travel to the training centers

Whereas online classes you can attend anywhere from the world, which is far easier than to be in-person class. You don’t have to travel to training centers, which will be more convenient in terms of saving time and money.

Online classes may or may not have practical teaching classes.

Make sure you enroll in the program which include practical teaching classes.

This practical training will boost your confidence.

What is the cost of the Program?

The cost of the program is one of the defining things you should consider before enrolling. Your  financial status should be kept in mind while choosing any program. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be left out without any penny in your pocket.

There are end numbers of English teaching programs, and there is no doubt about being confused. Some training institute might charge $100 only and have 20 -30 hours of class time. This type of program, although sounds cheap and affordable, isn’t according to the international teaching standards.

You need to consider about travelling and accommodation cost if you are looking for an institute which is abroad or far from your place. In this kind of situation online courses seems better.

Have You done Research of the School?

  When we buy any product, we check reviews, the quality of the product, manufacturing and expiring date. So, why not digging into the schools and institutes. Think that you are out for the shopping and you want the best product in an affordable manner, which is durable, countable, warranted.

 Do your research: check the reviews, talk with alumni, talk with the present learners, and the one previously certified by the school if possible.

Don’t be the prey of money minded institutes. There are lots of training institutes who are doing their job sincerely and will help you throughout your process.

Did you Check Course Details?

The curriculum of the program plays a pivotal role in your future job-hunting process. According to international standards the program should include teaching practicum with real students. Confirm about this before enrolling.

It is better to go forward, if your program includes 120 hours of class, practical teaching classes, language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), lesson plan development, classroom management, assessment and evaluation.

Who Will do I Teach?

When it comes to teaching English, there is a wide variation in learners. It can be of any age group. It can be children or an adult.

If you are looking to teach children then most and former thing is patience. Children are not easy to handle. Class management, lesson management has to be done accordingly. You need be academically strong and search for the program who provides this.

TEFL course basically has academic programs.

 If you are looking to teach adults, then learners will mostly look to develop their communication skills rather than academics. You need to have knowledge about language skills.

CELTA and TESOL certification sound better option.

You would like to check this

TEFL Certification course in Hyderabad

TEFL Certification course in Mumbai

Does your Program Include Placement Assistance?

Last but not the least why not to check for the placement assistance. Besides your ultimate goal is to get the job. If your program is providing

you course with accredited certification and assisting you in your placement then definitely it is yes!!!

Let’s get into the difference between TEFL, TESOL, CELTA.

 3. Modes of TEFL VS TESOL VS CELTA Certification.

TEFL certification:

You have three options to be TEFL certified

Online course

Online TEFL certification is the cheapest option. You can get certified even with $100. But the cheapest one may not meet international standard. 

Average cost of online TEFL certification may vary from $300-$500, 120 hours of class is standard time for the online course. Length of the course might vary according to your other commitments as most of the online course are self-paced.

Classroom course

Might be little costlier than previous one. The average cost may vary from $1000-$2000, need to attend in person class. Course length may vary from 20 hours full weekend programs to 4 weeks full time training. Teaching practical classes to the real students are include in standard program.

Getting course abroad

  Is expensive than other two. Consider travelling, lodging and food expenses. But might worth getting international certification and to cover-up your initial investment. Length of the course vary according to the teaching programs and international standards.

TESOL Certification:

Online course

TEFL and TESOL are used interchangeably in ESL world. The Institutes providing TEFL and TESOL certification can give information in the same manner. TEFL/TESOL 120 hours of class is required

The cost might range from $200-$500

Classroom course

 Classroom TESOL course might be intensive, 4 weeks course. Generally, classroom course will include practical classes as well.

The cost might range from $1000-$2500. Which is expensive than the online course.

Getting course abroad

Either it is TEFL or TESOL, going to some other country for certification will always cost more. But don’t forget it to consider as it will open more job opportunities.

NOTE: TEFL and TESOL are used interchangeably.

CELTA Certification

Since CELTA is widely recognized, recruiters request CELTA certification.  

More than 1500 CELTA course is available all over the world in 300 approved CELTA course centers in 30 different countries.

Norms’ to join a CELTA course

  • Age should be 18 plus
  • Education standard equivalent to entering higher education
  • CEFR level- high C1 or above

Classroom/face to face course: 

This course can be taken in two ways:

Full time-   4–5-week course

Part-time-   months to a year

Online course

 Online courses are in blended form, online self-study plus hands-on practice. It has the same syllabus alike face to face courses. You need to travel for lesson planning and practicum.

4. Who is TEFL, TESOL, CELTA for?

TEFL course is for the one who wants to teach English abroad rather than their own country. TEFL course is always in high demand in countries where the native language is not English like China, South- Korea, Japan. It focuses on academic classes.

TESOL course is for the one who wants to teach English to learners in English-speaking countries. It basically focuses on teaching about communication to learners in English-speaking countries like Canada, USA.

CELTA course is for new teachers, native or non-native English language speakers, experienced teachers who want to develop their skills, teachers who want to travel and teach abroad.

5. Let’s talk about TEFL VS TESOL VS CELTA in terms of

  • Duration and class hours
  • Intensity
  • Price
  • Value

Duration and Class Hours

Length of the course depends upon the company or the school offering the course. Here I have written in a general form on the length, time and hours needed for classes.


Duration of the TEFL course and certification can vary greatly. It can vary from 4 weeks to 6 months.

4- week course is an intensive one. The time required to complete this course is 30 – 40 hours per week.

However, 6- month long course will be less intense, although it is a little lengthier. This one is more appropriate for the teachers who have other commitments.

As you know online courses are more flexible one, you can adjust your course span according to your prior commitments. You need to consider taking minimum of 120 hours of online classes and from accredited programs.


The classroom course is full-time, intensive 4-weeks long. Thus, it requires more effort and commitment.

On the other hand, online courses can be lengthier, less intensive, which usually takes several months and depends upon the number of hours the course consists of. The hours may vary from 40 to 150 or more.

In order to be eligible for most teaching jobs 120 hours, of course, is essential.


CELTA course includes 120 hours of in-person class and six hours of practicum.

Full-time CELTA courses complete within four to five weeks, whereas part-time might take from months to year.


The Intensity of any course depends on various factors like:

  • Online or classroom
    • Length and hours of the class
    • The curriculum of the course
    • Your tutor
    • Your personal engagements.

Online or Classroom

TEFL and TESOL courses both have online and classroom options. Definitely online classes offer less intense classes than in person as you can get certified according to your need.

CELTA can be more intense than TEFL and TESOL. If you are attending a full-time or part-time in-person course, both require your engagement.

Online CELTA classes are in the blended form, so you need to be in person for lesson planning and practicum. Which might not be possible for everyone.

Length and Hours of the Class

TEFL and TESOL programs vary greatly.  The program can be a weekend or 20 hours of lessons, both cases will be intensive because you must finish your course in the time allotted.

OR it can be several months and long 300 hours of class time, which will be less intense.

Celta has several months long, full-time courses which might be relatively intense. This requires a full-time commitment and may be challenging to see additional work.


The Intensity of the course will vary based on the curriculum offered by the TEFL and TESOL program. Evaluation and practical teaching are the characteristics that determine its intensity. TEFL and TESOL curriculum is less intense as compared to CELTA.

CELTA has a different curriculum which requires 120 hours of course duration with assessments where you have to submit four written assignments and a teaching practicum of 6 hours.

It can be intense, but worth it. CELTA certificates are accepted by 25,000 organizations worldwide.


Your tutor is an essential part of your course and certification. The assessment and practical training are assigned to you by your trainer. So, the intensity varies as a consequence.

Your Personal Engagements

Whatever course you attend, your personal commitments will definitely have an impact on the intensity of the course. If you are involved in the full-time course that needs more time and furthermore you have other commitments as well, then you’re going to have a hard time working on both things at the same time.


Prices for TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA vary considerably.

Factors Affecting the Price

Classroom and online class:

online classes are cheaper than classrooms.

Hours of the class:

with the increase in duration and hours of the class cost will increase accordingly.

Course provider:

A well-established school will definitely charge more. Universities and colleges have a higher rate for the course in comparison to online.


Whether it’s online or classroom, if the curriculum includes multiple assessments and teaching practicum then the cost will be higher.

Note that the Practicum Classes will always have a Higher Value.

The average price of a TEFL/TESOL online course can vary between $100 and $500. In-person, the cost usually ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.

The cost of CELTA may range from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the school.


CELTA is an accredited certificate from the University of Cambridge. It is internationally recognized. Companies give priority to teachers with this certification. CELTA certificates are accepted by 25,000 organizations worldwide.

 Obtaining a certification from an accredited school increases the value.  TEFL course is valuable to teachers who want to work abroad and TESOL is valuable for the teachers who want to teach the learners in their own country. TEFL/TESOL course adds more value as it enables teachers to take academic classes and develop the communication skills of the learners.

By now you must have understood about TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA. Before getting to any conclusion let’s get into the pros and cons.

6. TEFL- Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • You can easily take TEFL course online.No need to travel for the course. The online course can be more convenient than in person.
  • Any graduates are eligible for the TEFL course. Regardless of your background, you can get a TEFL certification.
  • You don’t have to be very proficient in the English language.
  • If you are adventurous then definitely TEFL is great. You can explore the country where you work, appreciate their culture and lifestyle.
  • Fulfilling and rewarding career. Teaching students and seeing them succeed is a reward for any teacher. You will be pleased to see that you can make some changes to their lives.

Cons –

  • You cannot be rich. The type of salary offered by recruiters is not as high as other higher-earning jobs and businesses.
  • Learning to teach is not easy. Your learners can be anyone and you have to do a lesson plan and class management accordingly. If you are teaching children then your working environment will be totally different.   
  • Schools not paying you in time and exploitation of teachers are one of the cons that teachers might have to face. So, be smart whiling choosing your job.
  • Cultural shock is one disadvantage you have to face while working in a different country or city. It’s difficult to get adapted to a new culture.

7. TESOL- Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • You can teach either in your own country or go abroad.
  • It is comparatively cheaper than CELTA.


8. CELTA- Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • It is recognized as a brand and if you have CELTA certification, then your job profile will be on the top list comparing to other certification
  • It has a standard course, no matter wherever you take a certification.

Cons –

  • Is expensive compared to the other two because of its recognition and standard course?

  • Eligibility criteria for CELTA are that you have to be 18 plus, your English should be good enough, CEFR level high C1 or above.
  • CELTA is mainly focused on adults and if you want to teach children, then you need to take extra classes.
  • Doesn’t provide job assistance.

9. Decide between TEFL, TESOL, CELTA

It is difficult to choose between TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA. It’s tricky, but it could be. You must evaluate the factors I have described above. You should hit the ground running.

Is this program appropriate enough to achieve your goal? Can you meet your expectation? Ask yourself all the questions, then find the right one.

Keep going over and over, until you figure it out.

I hope the above content will be helpful for you in your upcoming journey.


Online TEFL Certification

Henry Harvin-

It provides 120 hours of TEFL certification where you can attend multiple sessions from multiple trainers and get trained to be the best and get 100% placement assistance.
International TEFL Academy

Maximo Nivel



Explore Asia

Travel bud


Teaching House

Oxford TEFL

British council

Also Check this Video

Recommended Reads

Recommended videos for you


  1. vipin khatri Reply

    One of the best quality blogs. I must say. Content is presented very well. Gives complete coverage of the topic.

  2. raman kumar Reply

    One of the best quality blogs. I must say. Content is presented very well. Gives complete coverage of the topic.

Join the Discussion

Interested in Henry Harvin Blog?
Get Course Membership Worth Rs 6000/-
For Free

Our Career Advisor will give you a call shortly

Someone from India

Just purchased a course

1 minutes ago
Henry Harvin Student's Reviews
Henry Harvin Reviews on Trustpilot | Henry Harvin Reviews on Ambitionbox |
Henry Harvin Reviews on Glassdoor| Henry Harvin Reviews on Coursereport