What is TEFL?

TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign Language. If you have decided to teach English to non-native speakers and finding out the required qualification you must have come across this term or any one of its acronyms (TESOL/ESL or even CELTA) including TEFL certification and other course-based certifications.


Though fundamentally they mean the same, nevertheless there are some marginal differences. TESOL stands for Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages, ESL is English as a Second Language and CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.

TEFL varies from TESOL as generally, TESOL is for native speakers who teach English to non-native speakers located in their own countries, whereas TEFL is for those who travel away to foreign lands to teach English. However, these two acronyms are used interchangeably.



The main difference between TEFL /TESOL and CELTA is that the latter is specially designed to teach adults whereas with a TEFL or TESOL one can teach both kids as well as adults.


How is TEFL Certification Beneficial?

what is tefl
tefl certification

The modern world is shrinking with the advancement of technology and all people are coming closer to each other. We live in a world where people want to communicate themselves more effectively and therefore there is a rise in the demand for the working knowledge of English and hence English language trainers or facilitators are in demand.


So if you have a command over the English language you can gift yourself the chance to travel anywhere in the world and earn your money by teaching English. TEFL acts as a badge and gives your profile that extra boost to earn the position of English language teacher in a foreign land.


Read Also:  TEFL Certification in Utah

So TEFL helps you in the following ways:

  • Be eligible for teaching jobs in your preferred location abroad.
  • Develop and nurture the skills (like lesson plans, grammatical knowledge, etc) required to teach abroad.
  • Be noticeable when applying for a job
  • Earn a higher salary than your counterparts and get hired by reputed schools.


A TEFL course is designed in a way to help you:-

  • To teach with conviction the five elements of language learning like reading, writing, speaking, listening, and pronunciation.
  • Upgrade your lesson planning skills to convey knowledge effectively
  • Enhance your grammatical understanding and deliver efficiently in a simplified manner difficult grammar concepts to your students.
  • Learn to manage your class in a way to maintain discipline at the same time encourage your students to interact without hesitation


Plan lessons and devise learning materials so that they are comprehensible to all the students and caters to their needs.


Who can be benefitted from the TEFL course and TEFL Certification?

what is tefl
tefl certification
  1. Fresh Graduates/Undergraduates: If you are wondering what career you can pursue after your graduation then the TEFL course is definitely beneficial to you as it helps you initiate a rewarding career while traveling all over the world if you want.
  2. New or Experienced teachers: If you have experience but want to magnify your job prospects or you are new to the field of teaching and not getting a proper job in your home country, TEFL is the course that can open new roads to success.
  3. Want to change – If you want to change your field of work and embark on a profitable career, and you have a good command over the English language then the TEFL course is one of the most recommended ones.


How to get TEFL Certification?

TEFL certification courses are available

  • online
  • as a weekend course
  • on a part-time basis
  • through regionally accredited colleges and universities.


Though in some cases earlier, an offline course was more in demand by prospective employers, yet with an increase in the online courses, with competitive curriculum, candidates with online TEFL certificates are in getting demand too.


Online TEFL courses are conducted often on 1 on 1 basis and are comparatively cheaper (approximately 1000 USD) moreover can be completed from the comfort of your home, at your own pace and convenience, and it also gains a point as you can complete online TEFL course while completing your studies or pursuing a job.


Offline courses are costlier (above 2000 USD) and they do offer some relaxation of time but being regular courses they do have certain norms to follow. You need to attend sessions at a certain time and at a certain place. They score a point more than the online ones as they are considered more reliable by prospective employers.


In both cases, a number of these course providers include teaching practice in their curriculum, which helps the apprentice to get accustomed to the environment and expectations of the job. But this cannot be reflected in your resume as a valid teaching experience.

Read Also:  TEFL Certification in Oregon


In case you are certain about the location where you think you would start working as a teacher of English, you can always opt for a TEFL course in that country. This will surely help you get acclimatized to that country, their work culture, and also help you build connections so that you get hired by the best in the industry.


A standard TEFL course ranges from 40 hours to 150 hours. However, a minimum of a 120 hour TEFL certificate is recommended for most countries. Most countries(government requirement) ask for a graduation degree along with 120 hours TEFL certification for teaching English learners in their schools.


Which are the best institutions offering a TEFL Certification in the course?

Numerous institutions are offering TEFL courses worldwide. All of them advertise themselves to be the best in the industry. But you need to keep your eyes open and put your brains to do some research work on those programs before giving them your money. 


Read Also:  TEFL Certification in Minnesota

You should go for an internationally recognized TEFL program so that it becomes easier to find employment in your dream location.


However, if you search for a while you will find out there are dozens of accredited TEFL courses. To help you initiate your research here is a list of 10 most popular, accredited TEFL programs. However, do look for reviews and reach out to the program alumni before deciding upon the TEFL program you want to pursue.


#1. Henry Harvin TEFL Academy:

Henry Harvin is one of the top Edu-tech companies in India providing certification in TEFL.


The Henry Harvin TEFL course is a 1220 hour online self-paced course. It is certified by AAEFLHenry Harvin offers a 120-hour online self-paced AAEFL (American Association of EFL). It allows you to year-long access to the course for revision.


The actual fee of the course is $600 but is currently being offered at $299. It is an affordable course with amazing benefits like free access to Henry Harvin’s online LMS platform with abundant content.  The trainers are well recognized in the industry and have always received positive feedback from the course takers.


The course usually runs for 8- 12 weeks and doesn’t require any prerequisite knowledge in the same. The course offered by Henry Harvin commences from the basics and goes on to the expertise level.


Course completion certificate after the proper evaluation is generated which allows you to take up numerous jobs in different countries like China, Japan, Korea, etc.


Must Check US Ranked No. 1 TEFL Certification Course Online

#2. International TEFL Academy

what is tefl
tefl certification

International TEFL Academy (ITA) is one of the most sought after TEFL programs. They offer the course in 25 different locations all over the world. The centers in Asia are concentrated in the southeastern part of Asia. Being one of the most prominent names in the field of TEFL certification, the degree offered by them is legitimate and recognized and accepted by all the institutions all around the world. They also offer accredited online TEFL course for those who want to learn on their own from a comfortable corner of their house.


The institute produces around 5000 TEFL certified teachers every year who move on to work in 80 different countries around the globe.


#3. International TEFL and TESOL training:

what is tefl
tefl certification

International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT), is a well-known, accredited course provider. They offer their programs in various countries like Guatemala, South Africa, Vietnam, etc. thus manufacturing a large group of certified English teachers belonging to diverse social locations. They also offer online TEFL Courses. ITTT focuses on practical training for its students to equip them with a working knowledge of the industry.


With a very competitive curriculum, best employers hire the ITTT alumni. However, they do not provide any job placement assistance like most of their counterparts.


#4. The Language House TEFL

what is tefl
tefl certification

The Language House TEFL is a well-known and accredited TEFL course provider in Prague, the Czech Republic. The USP of this provider is that it lays a lot of emphasis on the grooming of the individual candidates. They provide person-specific assistance and guidance and hands-on experience to the student throughout the course. They extend constant support to them even after their employment. In this process, The Language House TEFL helps the students to accomplish their full potential.


However, the institution is confined to a certain geographical territory so it does not have as good a network globally as its counterparts have.


#5. i to i TEFL

what is tefl
tefl certification

ItoI TEFL has been in the field of training prospective ESL teachers for 3 decades. It has a wide network worldwide and is a leading trainer of TEFL. Through its accredited TEFL courses, it has trained approximately 200,000 teachers who are working efficiently in various countries. This far-reaching premier institution provides not only online and classroom teaching options to its student but also internships and job placement support to its students. The experienced and qualified faculty of I to I adds to its reputation.


#6. Premier TEFL

what is tefl
tefl certification

Premier TEFL another leader is again a stalwart in the field of TEFL course provider and it has an array of specializations to offer besides the basic TEFL certification. They also offer paid internships and combined courses to many prospective teachers in different locations across South America, Europe, and Asia. It has a band of qualified instructors and 4 options for online TEFL certificate, all of which provide a high-value benefit to the aspiring teachers.


However though Premier TEFL is a reliable online TEFL course provider, it does not specialize in classroom teaching.


#7. myTEFL

my TEFL is one of the best TEFL course providers and is a good choice for aspiring teachers. Along with the accredited courses they provide assistance in the job application process. My TEFL offers online as well as onsite courses in various countries like Thailand, Argentina, or Spain and an array of training programs all over the world. All the course programs offered by my TEFL have 24/7 curriculum and tutor support, technical support, and full library access.


 my TEFL also contributes to social causes by donating a part of its revenues to partner charities.


#8. TEFL Worldwide Prague

TEFL Worldwide Prague is an American company. It has been working as a TEFL course provider since 2003 in Prague, Europe. It has a different way of delivering its curriculum to wishful teachers. They entertain both native and non-native students. TEFL Worldwide provides its students with a month-long program wherein they interact with their fellow novices and acquire insight and knowledge in an interactive and interesting way.


However there is a single weakness of TEFL Worldwide Prague, it is their limited flexibility because of their single location and structure.


#9. Maximo Nivel

TEFL course is just a part of all the certifications provided by this giant educational institution located in Latin America. Teachers who aspire to become TEFL certified teachers and who are willing to teach abroad, this institution is a decent choice.

It will help hopeful teachers to be hired in Latin America and also get accredited certifications that are recognized worldwide.

However this company focuses on Spanish English language exchange in South and Central America, so it may not be suitable for students who do not want to work in these areas. Most of Maximo Nivel’s programs are present in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.


#10. Teach Away/University of Toronto Faculty of Education

It is one of the best TEFL courses as it has the brand name of the University of Toronto attached to it. Highly qualified and experienced professors of the University of Toronto design this course. It is a self-paced accredited online program that generally gets over in 6 to 12 weeks.

The program offers the options of 100, 120, or 150 hours of training and is a partner of Teach away. Teach Away is another huge company thus providing the students to teach abroad in any location they want. Sometimes, they both work in collaboration.


The course has a prestige of the University of Toronto’s brand name which makes it one of the most reliable and sought after TEFL Certification. However, that also makes it more expensive than most of the other online TEFL courses.


#11. Oxford TEFL

The Oxford TEFL teacher training program offers both an online course as well as an onsite 4-week course option. Their centers spread in several European cities as well as India. They provide both a basic TESOL certification as well as an advanced TESOL Diploma.

This can not only help a new teacher but also augment the knowledge of experienced teachers. It helps them in expanding their job prospects. Oxford TEFL also provides Czech and Spanish language courses to supplement their programs in Barcelona and Prague.


However, because of its limited center choices, it may not be a good option for students who are looking forward to broader prospects.


How can a TEFL Certification help in building a rewarding career?

The general belief is that a TEFL Certified teacher can teach English abroad while traveling around. It will not be the best career move when someone is thinking of a long term career. However, this is a wrong notion.  One can build his/her long term career with a TEFL certificate in hand; here’s how it is possible:


  1. You should carry on with your teaching role. You get more knowledge giving yourself an edge over the others and making your employers believe in you. Your improved skills in planning lessons and learning material are, of course, your asset. You can move to your desired location and carry on teaching also.
  2. One usual way to climb up the TEFL career ladder is to become an academic coordinator. This allows in training and coordinating with other teachers. Many language schools and institutes hire such language coordinators for specific language training.
  3. Climbing further up the ladder you can end becoming the Director of Studies, which is more of a management position. All language institutes offer this position. The role of the Director of studies is to plan, develop curriculum and devise workshops for teachers. It also involves coordinating with teachers, recruiting new teachers, etc..
  4. Starting your own language at school can be an option. You can become your own boss and open a language school. You will learn the knowledge of the language and an effective style of delivery,
  5. If you are passionate about teaching and have gained experience, you’ll want to share your knowledge with new teachers. You can become a TEFL teacher trainer.
  6. You can take to writing course books or other guide books once you have gained insight into teaching English as a foreign language.


In inference, a TEFL Certificate attached with some minimum educational qualification can pave the way for a consistently rewarding career. Especially in the field of English language education, it will be in demand.


Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs Regarding TEFL Certification:

Q.1. What is TEFL Certification?

The universally accepted standard qualification for teaching English to non-native speakers is known as TEFL/TESOL certificate.

Q.2. Which is the most accepted program of TEFL?

Generally, employers worldwide look for TEFL certified teachers who have attended 120 hours TEFL course.

Q.3. Who are eligible to take the TEFL course?

If you are passionate about teaching English and have a good command over the language and of course 18 years of age, you can enroll yourself for the TEFL course.

Most employers do not look for a university degree but it is preferable in some countries.

Q.4. Which is the most popular mode of TEFL course delivery?

TEFL courses are designed to be delivered both online as well as onsite. Both have almost the same curriculum and have virtually equal weightage when it comes to job openings.

You can choose the institute and mode according to your convenience.

Q.5. Where can I teach after the certification?

Almost all countries of the world entertain English teachers as communication in English has become a prerequisite for success. In English speaking countries there are other lucrative opportunities for TEFL certificate holders.

Q.6. What is the average cost of a TEFL course?

The prices of different courses vary with the provider and certain other factors, however on average an online course fee ranges from $200 to $500.

Q.7. What is the average salary of a TEFL teacher?

The salary of a TEFL teacher depends on the country he/she is working in. On average the salary ranges between $600 to $4000 USD per month.

Q.8. Do TEFL Certificates expire?

No they do not. TEFL certificates have a lifelong validity.

Q.9. Can anybody teach English in foreign countries with just a TEFL Certificate?

A TEFL qualification is compulsory if you want to be hired as a teacher of  English abroad without a degree or experience. Most employers look for teachers to have a 120-hour TEFL

Q.10. How long is a TEFL course?

The standard duration of a TEFL certificate course is 100 to 120 hours of (usually face-to-face) training with 6 -8  hours of observed and categorized teaching practice.

Q.11. Is it difficult to get a TEFL certificate?

If you are a native English speaker and have a bachelor’s degree then you will be able to handle the TEFL program load very easily. Even if you are not a graduate but have a good knowledge of the English language you can manage the TEFL course. The grammar lessons can be technical and look difficult but can be accomplished. However, time management skills are crucial to be successful in TEFL certification.


In Conclusion

Language is a means of communication. It brings the essence of cohesion between diverse cultures. Time and again human beings have tried to formulate a language that can bind everyone all over the world together. English is such a language.

Learning it from experts has given rise to a booming industry of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. According to a recent survey, around 250,000 native English speakers work as English Language teachers in more than 40,000 schools around the world. And to pursue this rewarding career it is necessary to get a TEFL certificate.

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