Discover what TEFL means and how a TEFL certification can open up a world of opportunities for working abroad or online, as an English language tutor.

So you’ve heard about this thing called TEFL… and you’re interested to learn what it means to get TEFL certified and how it all works? Great, you’re in the right place! We’ll explain the basics and help you to understand if TEFL is for you.

What is TEFL and Why need a TEFL Certification?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It refers to the practice of teaching English to non-native speakers in countries where English is not the primary language. TEFL professionals typically work either online or in-person in language schools, colleges, universities, or private language schools. They are responsible for creating lesson plans, delivering language instruction, and assessing student progress.

What is TEFL Certification? - Premier TEFL

Online TEFL certification programs are available worldwide and are designed to provide training and professional development for individuals who want to work as English language teachers. These TEFL courses usually include coursework in language teaching methodology, language assessment, and cultural awareness. Graduates of Premier TEFL certification and diploma programs are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively teach English to non-native speakers.

What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are similar fields, but there are some differences between the two.

TEFL typically refers to teaching English to non-native speakers in countries where English is not the primary language. The focus of TEFL is on teaching English as a foreign language in a foreign context. For example, when native English speakers are hired to teach English in South Korea to high school students, we refer to this as TEFL.

TESOL, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses a variety of English language teaching contexts, including both foreign and domestic. TESOL can refer to teaching English to non-native speakers in an English-speaking country, as well as to teaching English to non-native speakers in a non-English-speaking country. Phew, that was a mouthful… still with us? Great! The focus of TESOL is on teaching English as a second or additional language, regardless of the context.

In summary, TEFL can be viewed as a sub-field of TESOL, with a specific focus on teaching English as a foreign language in foreign countries. Both fields require similar skills and knowledge, but TESOL is a more inclusive term that covers a wider range of varied English language teaching contexts.

Do I need experience to become a TEFL teacher?

No, you do not necessarily need prior teaching experience to become a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. However, some employers may prefer or require candidates with previous teaching experience, particularly in the field of language tutoring or instruction.

What is TEFL Certification? - Premier TEFL
Having prior experience in teaching, education, or working with language learners can be beneficial in developing your skills as a TEFL teacher and making you a more competitive candidate. On the other hand, many individuals who become TEFL teachers do so after transitioning from a different career, and they are able to successfully teach English as a foreign language through the training and certification process.

Ultimately, the most important qualities for being a successful TEFL teacher are a strong command of the English language, a genuine interest in teaching and helping others, and a willingness to continuously learn and grow as a teacher.

>> Resource: Download the FREE TEFL Career Kickstarter Pack <<

How do you choose the best online TEFL certification?

When choosing an online TEFL certification program, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you receive the best training and the most reputable certification.

It is also important to know whether you are motivated enough to complete a self-led online course. This takes some discipline and good time management on your part. Sticking to a regular schedule of study will help you to complete your course in your chosen time frame, whether that is 6 weeks or 6 months.

Here are the top things to consider when choosing the best online TEFL certification:

      • TEFL Accreditation: Look for a program that is accredited by a recognized organization, such as:  
        1. The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) which regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England
        2. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is formally recognized by both the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as an authority on quality assessment of distance education.
        3. Or the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) which is a quality assurance organization for the online and distance learning sector.
    • Course length: The recommended minimum length for a TEFL certification course is 120 hours, this is the minimum international industry standard to become a TEFL teacher. Some programs can be as long as 180 hours, such as a Level 5 TEFL Diploma. Consider a longer program that also includes some live instructor training if you have no prior teaching experience.

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    • Trainer qualifications: The trainers should have a relevant degree or DELTA qualification plus teaching experience and be knowledgeable in the field of TEFL. You should be able to see TEFL instructor profiles on pages like a ‘Meet the Team’ section.
    • Price: The cost of a TEFL certification program can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Unfortunately this is where the saying “Buy Cheap, Buy Twice” can be very true. Be wary of programs that are significantly cheaper than others, as this may indicate lower quality – and usually leads to enrolling on a second program because you didn’t get the depth of training or knowledge to be a confident TEFL teacher from your first course.
    • Feedback and support: Check if the program offers regular feedback from qualified trainers and support from peers during the course. This will help you to receive constructive criticism and improve your teaching skills. Popular channels for feedback and support include being assigned a personal tutor for direct questions, live learner support sessions where you can ask questions in-person, community forums to collaborate with peers and the academic team as well as your assignment assessor who provides feedback on your marked work.
    • Job support: Some TEFL certification programs offer job support, including access to TEFL job boards, career advice, resume/CV templates, job application coaching, and placement assistance. This can be a valuable resource when you are ready to start your career as a TEFL teacher.  

Pro Tip: It’s important to know that job support is different from a “guaranteed job placement”. Be mindful of TEFL providers who say they can guarantee you a job at the end of your course. If this is offered, ask to see a sample job contract, and with which employer? Do you have any choice in deciding who you work for? The truth is that guaranteeing you a job upfront, ahead of completing your course, is quite a feat. Think about it. Did your university or college guarantee you employment after graduation? No. Why? Because there are a number of factors to be considered when hiring someone. And it’s not just based on qualifications and certificates. It also takes into account: personality, cultural fit, interview performance, experience, and references.    

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose an online TEFL certification program that will provide you with the best training and the most comprehensive and recognized certification in the field.

Once you have determined a short list of TEFL programs that you are impressed with, check out their verified customer reviews online on Google or Trustpilot to confirm they are as good as they claim to be!

>> Download: Online TEFL Course Prospectus <<

What type of TEFL jobs are there?

There are several types of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) jobs available, including:

    • Traditional Classroom Teaching: This type of TEFL job involves teaching English to in-person students in a brick-and-mortar classroom setting, either in a language school or in a public or private school.
    • Online English Teaching: Online TEFL jobs allow you to teach English to students using video conferencing tools from the comfort of your own home or as a flexible remote gig whilst traveling.
    • English Immersion Programs: English immersion programs provide students with an immersive English language experience, typically abroad. Popular European immersion programs include Angloville and Vaughan Town.
    • English Summer Camps: English summer camps are typically run for a few weeks during the summer months and provide a fun and educational experience for students. Recruitment for summer camp TEFL jobs typically happens between January and April. Popular TEFL summer camp destinations include Germany and Romania.
    • Adventure and Volunteer TEFL: Adventure and volunteer TEFL programs offer a unique opportunity to combine teaching English with adventure travel or volunteer work. Typically volunteer TEFL programs and adventure camps only require a commitment of a few weeks to a couple of months. Check out these awesome TEFL volunteer programs in Argentina and Spain.

Each type of TEFL job offers different opportunities and challenges, and the type of TEFL job you choose will depend on your personal interests, skills, and whether you are looking to have a short-term meaningful experience or build a new career.

Can I make a career from TEFL?

Yes! You can definitely make a career out of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). The demand for English language teachers is high, especially in non-English speaking countries where English is seen as a valuable skill. There are over 1.5 billion people are learning English globally. 

And since TEFL is a contract-based industry, schools and employers are continually searching for new teachers to hire.

There are many opportunities to work as a TEFL teacher both at home and abroad, and many teachers find that they are able to travel and work abroad while pursuing their English language teaching career.

As a TEFL teacher, you can work in a variety of settings, including language schools, universities, private language academies, kindergartens, public schools, and corporations. You can also choose to teach English online, which can provide you with the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world.

The salary for a TEFL teacher can vary greatly depending on the location and the type of institution you work for, but many TEFL teachers are able to earn a comfortable living. In some countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, TEFL teachers can earn a high salary and enjoy a good standard of living whilst saving up to 40% of their salary. 

In conclusion, teaching English as a foreign language can be a rewarding and fulfilling career that provides the opportunity to travel, meet new people, experience different cultures, learn a language and make a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of your students. If you have a passion for education or teaching or a desire to work abroad, TEFL might be just the right career choice for you.

What is TEFL Certification? - Premier TEFL

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