A TEFL Certificate is the basic qualification you need to teach English as a foreign language or teach English as a second language.
This means, if you want to teach English abroad, you’ll need a TEFL certificate. In addition, many jobs also require a degree (however, if you don’t have a degree you can still sometimes find work – see the links below for more on this).
The certificate is a basic, first qualification. If you’ve been teaching a few years on the basis of the certificate, you might then go for a higher qualification.
Note that a TEFL certificate is equivalent to a TESOL certificate or TESL certificate, etc.
How do I get a TEFL Certificate?
The TEFL certificate is awarded after you have a successfully taken a short TEFL course. If you take the course online then you can usually take as long (or as little) time as you need to complete it. If you take the course in-house it is usually about 4 weeks long.
Normally a good course will cover subjects like:
- classroom management
- lesson planning
- language teaching theory
- teaching grammar
However, there is no set curriculum and each provider (school) will organize their own curriculum based on what they think a TEFL teacher should know.
In-house courses vary in price but start at around $1000 USD (€791, £636); online courses are much cheaper and are around $265 (€200, £155).
Some in-house courses will have extra charges if you opt for accommodation, etc, with the school.
modules & assessment
Often, although not always, a TEFL course is divided into various modules. As you go through the course you will assessed on the work you do. There is not usually an exam to pass.
In-house courses will have a couple of tutors; some online courses provide tutors but you will occasionally find low-end online courses which are entirely based on multiple-choice and with no tutor support; avoid these and go for online courses with a personal tutor to deal with.
Many TEFL courses in-house include teaching practice, that is teaching a group of students so the assessor can see how well you do this. Sometimes these “classes” will mean teaching your peers, other times it will mean teaching “genuine” learners.
Online courses don’t usually include teaching practice, however some do such as this online 150hr TEFL Certificate with Teaching Practice.
ICAL TEFL Course 120hr – the online TEFL course
Teaching English without a Degree – how to find work teaching even if you don’t have a degree
What Qualifications do I need to Teach English? – more about the kind of qualifications you need
How to Choose a Good TEFL Course – what to look for when you choose a TEFL certificate course
Taking a TEFL Course – what to expect when you take a TEFL course
TEFL vs TESOL vs TESL vs CELTA vs… – the difference between these