Here we have answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about our courses. Feel free to browse through them and of course if you can’t find the answer to your question here then by all means write us an email and we will get back to you as soon as we can – usually within a few hours.

Requirements To Become A TEFL Teacher

What qualifications do I need to become a TEFL teacher?

The qualifications needed to become a TEFL teacher vary between different countries. In some countries you don’t need any qualifications at all and in others you do.

In many countries though, you will need a degree and a TEFL certificate. Additionally in some countries there is no official requirement for a specific qualification but in practice a TEFL certificate is almost always required to get a job.

We suggest that you check the requirements for the specific country that you plan to work in.

What qualifications do I need to do a TEFL course?

We believe in making our courses available to everyone who wants to learn and therefore there are no strict requirements or qualifications needed. However you will need to have a high level of English in order to complete the course.

Do I need to be a native English speaker?

No! In fact, we have many ICAL TEFL Students who are not native English speakers (that is, they don’t speak English as their mother tongue‏‎).

Our courses are open to all and the course material is written in plain English in a user-friendly style that makes it accessible to everyone.

Having said this, all ICAL TEFL students whether they are native or non-native English speakers will need to express themselves in correct English. This means that if an assignment contains more than just an occasional error it will simply be returned un-graded for the student to re-work and correct.

To read more about Non-Native speakers working as TEFL teachers, click here.

Should I use American or British English?

Our courses are international. We do not focus on one variety of English over another and you can send in your work in American English or British English or Australian English… or almost any other English for that matter as long as you are consistent and accurate.

ICAL TEFL teacher trainers are based around the world (the USA, the UK, Ireland, Canada and many other countries) and they are well versed in all the main variants of the English language and have no preferences.

Do I need to know grammar?

You do not necessarily need perfect grammar to become a TEFL teacher (or indeed to do one of our TEFL courses). But you will need a basic understanding of English grammar.

If you are a native English speaker then your grammar is almost certainly good enough already. If you speak English as a second language but to a high level you will probably be ok too. Although if you are concerned, it may be worth considering our Grammar foundation course before taking on the full TEFL course.

Can I take this course?

Our courses are designed to be as accessible as possible and open to as many people as possible. We have students and graduates from many different countries around the world and we welcome new students from any country who want to learn the best way to teach English.

We do not discriminate against any student for reasons of gender, sexual preference, age, nationality, political, religious or moral beliefs, and so on.

However, to register for one of our courses, you must have a good standard of English.

This means that you must be able to read and write English at a high level (eg, at “Proficiency” level). We do not test you on this, however when we receive work from you, if it contains more than just one or two mistakes we will return it and ask that you rework it and bring it up to an acceptable level.

Also note that you don’t have to have any previous qualifications to join our course – we believe in making education available to as many people as possible!

Do I need to learn a foreign language if I plan on teaching abroad?

Not at all! In most cases you will not be expected to speak the language of the country you are teaching in. In fact, they generally expect you to give your students a “full immersion” experience, and speaking to them in their own language would inhibit that.

That said, some jobs may ask for the ability to speak another language, but this is not the norm and any such jobs would clearly advertise that requirement.

If you want to learn a little of another language then we encourage you to do so, but there is no reason why you should need to to enter a career as a TEFL teacher.

About Specific Courses

Which TEFL course should I do?

That depends a lot on what you want to do. We have 4 different courses designed to suit the needs of different students. By far our most popular courses though are our 2 TEFL courses:

Both courses give you a TEFL certificate which you can then use to find a job and begin your career anywhere in the world. The 150 hour course in addition also includes 30 hours’ worth of teaching practice and you need to be working in a school already to take it.

Do I need additional teaching practice?

It depends on where you want to teach and the job that you are hoping to get. In many cases a simple TEFL certificate is sufficient to begin teaching as a TEFL teacher. However:

There are several benefits to doing additional teaching practice.

  • It helps to consolidate what you learn on the TEFL course
  • It will make you a better and more confident teacher
  • It looks great on your CV and will make you more employable

In some countries and for some jobs (particularly the better jobs and those with higher pay) some previous experience will be a requirement or at least a beneficial thing to have.

I want to teach [specific audience], do I need to take another course?

No, you don’t!

Both the standard ICAL TEFL Certificate Course and the ICAL TEFL Certificate Course with Teaching Practice are comprehensive courses that cover all sorts of teaching scenarios including Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL), Business, English for Special Purposes (ESP) and so on. In fact, the aim of our courses is to prepare you for any teaching situation and any age groups.

So whether you are teaching immigrants needing to improve their English to find work, students taking private lessons to pass an exam, refugees looking for a new start in your country or teenagers in a formal school setting, you will be ready for the job!

In addition, your ICAL Personal Tutor will be able to help you tailor some of your course work to suit your teaching needs, should you have specific requirements.

Accreditation & Using Your TEFL

Are your courses accredited?

No, but this is an interesting point because in reality no TEFL course is accredited in any official way. There is a significant lack of any official accreditation program for TEFL courses.

For this reason, we don’t claim that our courses are accredited and you should be wary of any courses which claim to be accredited.

That said, we do think it is a shame that there is no accreditation system in place and if one is ever created we would be sure to get accredited right away!

Are your courses internationally recognized?

ICAL TEFL Certificates have been accepted worldwide. We have graduates working in all five continents and recognized by many states and authorities.

Just as an example, ICAL graduates work in the USA, China, Japan, Korea, Greece, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, India, Finland, Russia, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, Costa Rica… and many others too numerous to mention!!

Remember though, to be 100% sure you should always check with the school or education department of the country you wish to work in and you should do this even if you take a certificate from another provider since in the end it depends on the school owner/director who they hire.

For a full list of countries where you can work with the ICAL TEFL certificate, click here.

General Course Questions

How long does it take to complete the online course?

ICAL TEFL courses have been designed for self-study at your own pace. We don’t put pressure on you to hand in work or complete assignments according to OUR schedule. Instead, we work to YOUR schedule.

This means you can fit in a course around your own work life and free time. In other words you can take as long or as little time as you like to complete it. If you work already or are still at college, then you can take one of our courses no problem!

The fastest student completed the ICAL TEFL Certificate Course in 22 days while at the other end of the scale we have some students take several years!

On average though, most students complete their course within about 4-8 weeks.

Do I need to get anything for this course?

No you don’t. All correspondence is exchanged by email to ensure a fast and efficient service or taken from the secure online ICAL Student Center.

The courses consist of 5 downloadable modules which are available to you in sequence as you complete the assignment in each one of them. You will always have these to reference even when you’ve finished the course.

The Certificate and related papers are sent by regular mail upon successful completion of the course; this is free of charge.

How do I apply for a course?

Simple, all you need to go is visit our courses page and select the TEFL course that you want to register for. Then on the course page you will find a payment button. Select your currency, pay for the course and fill in your details.

You will be signed up for the course immediately and you will be able to start in your own time at your own pace.

TEFL Careers & Finding A Job

What can I do with a TEFL certificate?

All sorts of things! It’s certainly true that most people start off by working as a TEFL teach overseas. But there are many other possibilities. You could work in a private language school or you might work in anything from a primary to a high school.

Many TEFL teachers work by teaching in companies, in nurseries or kindergartens, or even in higher education colleges and universities. Although to do so you would probably need a few years’ experience first.

If you don’t fancy being a teacher, you could also become a language teacher’s teaching assistant in a public school (state school) or in some big chains of language schools.

How much can a TEFL teacher earn?

Salaries for TEFL teachers vary hugely depending on what country you are teaching in and how much experience you have. For higher level teachers there are also further qualifications that can help you to reach higher earnings.

It is possible to earn between $39,000 (£25,000) to $60,000 (£38,000) as a TEFL teacher, although if you are looking for your first TEFL job you should expect to earn $22,000 (£14,000) to $39,000 (£25,000).

You should also keep in mind that the cost of living in many countries is much lower than in the USA or Europe and a moderate salary can feel like a very generous salary in certain areas.

Can I work as a TEFL teacher in my home country?

Yes, absolutely. Even in countries where the native language is English there is a high demand for English teachers and many of our past students are now teaching in their home countries (including the USA and the UK).

About You TEFL Certificate

Does my certificate expire?

Nope, never. Just like any other professional certification, it lasts a lifetime.

If, after graduation, you lose your certificate then we are able to issue a replacement. (There is a small handling fee for this.)

What does the certificate look like?

Each certificate is printed on high quality paper and sent free of charge in a sturdy hardback envelope to any location in the world once you have completed the course.

Here is a sample of what an ICAL certificate looks like. Depending on the course you take the certificate may have a different title; the student name will be yours and under this is your unique ICAL TEFL ID number. Finally the date will be when the certificate was issued.

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