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the basics of TEFL certification and the best TEFL courses for online English teachers.

What is a TEFL Certificate?

A TEFL Certificate is a qualification that’s recognized internationally. It allows you to teach English abroad and is a crucial part of your teaching job application.


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There are a few types of TEFL certifications, and the acronyms can be a bit confusing!

1. TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language). This certification is used worldwide for teachers who want to teach English abroad to foreign students (or teach English online to foreign students). Example: A Canadian teaching English in China, or an American teaching English as a second language in Mexico.

2. TESL (Teach English as a Second Language). This certification is used by those who are teaching English in their own country to someone who needs to learn English as their second language. Example: A Brit teaching English to immigrants in England.

3. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). This certification is used for those who want to teach English either abroad as a foreign language, or in a country that speaks English as its native language. It’s similar to TESL (above), but isn’t as widely used or recognized.

4. CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). The acronym doesn’t really work for this one! CELTA is the more expensive, “posh” version of TESOL, and is specific to Cambridge University.

Now that that’s out of the way, we’re going to focus on TEFL Certifications in this article.

Having a TEFL certificate will allow you to apply for jobs teaching English in foreign countries or jobs teaching English online.

The typical curriculum covers teaching fundamentals, how to create lesson plans, and how to instruct students in English grammar, reading, speaking, and writing.

Who Needs a TEFL Certificate?

Anyone who plans to teach English abroad or teach English online should look into getting their TEFL certification. TEFL certificates are widely known and valued in the English teaching industry.

I got my TEFL certificate even though I already had a Master’s in Teaching and three years of formal classroom experience. I didn’t want to disqualify myself from a potential job just because I lacked the credential they required.

Most in-person English teaching jobs around the world want teachers that have a TEFL certification. Even in places where a TEFL isn’t required, you’ll likely get a higher pay rate and have more employment options if you have one.


Will I Need a TEFL Certification to Teach Online?

That depends, but probably.

A few years ago, online ESL companies were mainly concerned with hiring native English speakers. Now, with more regulations on online teaching and more competition between companies, requirements are stricter.

It’s becoming common for online English companies to require that all teachers have a TEFL certificate.

China recently passed a law that says all online English teachers must either have a TEFL certification or a traditional teaching license.

Considering how many of the large online ESL companies cater to the Chinese market, you can imagine how many teachers were impacted.

But even if your online teaching company doesn’t require a TEFL certificate, it’s a good idea to get one anyway. With a TEFL certificate, you’ll have two main advantages:

ESL Teaching Skills

During your TEFL course online, you’ll learn best teaching practices that will improve your skills as an educator.

A lot of people think “If I speak English, I can teach it, right?” But this isn’t the case. Teaching a language is very different from speaking a language. Some people who speak excellent English don’t make great teachers.

Teaching, like any skill, must be learned and practiced. In a TEFL certification online course, you’ll have the opportunity to do exactly that.

Getting a TEFL certification is especially important if you don’t have a formal teaching background. You’ll want to gain as much practical teaching knowledge as possible so you can impress your future students and employers.

Job Security

If for some reason your online ESL company changes their requirements, having your TEFL certification could be the difference between keeping your job and having to find another one.

If you need to switch companies at some point during your online teaching career, having your TEFL certification already taken care of means you’ll have more options.

Also, if you ever decided to transition into in-person teaching, you would already have the certification you need. Even if you have online teaching experience, most schools still need to see proof of your TEFL course completion for you to be eligible to teach.

For me, having a TEFL certificate feels like a security net. I know that if I’m ever unable to teach online for some reason, I can use my TEFL certificate to get a job teaching abroad instead. Having TEFL credentials only improves your choices.

☞ SEE ALSO: 15 Pros and Cons of Being an Online English Teacher

Which TEFL Course Should I Take?

That’s a great question! A quick google search will show you that there are dozens of TEFL courses out there, so it can be difficult to know which one is best for you. There are a few things to consider when making your decision.

Accreditation

In order for your TEFL certification to have any meaning, it needs to be accredited.

You may have seen ads on discount websites for $5 TEFL courses or even websites offering Free TEFL courses. Unfortunately, these usually are not accredited and won’t do you much good when it’s time to get hired.

While you might be able to get away with an unaccredited TEFL course with some uninformed employers, I wouldn’t recommend doing that. It’s not worth risking your job if someone discovered that your certification wasn’t legitimate.

Taking a TEFL course that has been accredited means that a third party approved the curriculum and teaching methodologies of the course.

You’ll know for sure that what you’re learning is correct and up to date. This helps you become a more effective English teacher in the long run.

Number Of Hours

When you start looking into TEFL courses, you’ll see the number of hours for the course. This represents the number of hours you will study to get the certification. In general, you want a course that offers at least 120 hours.

Now, if you do a self-paced online TEFL course, there’s a very good chance you’ll finish in less than 120 hours. But that 120-hour course will cover much more content than a 40-hour or 60-hour course.

Most TEFL employers want to see the 120-hour certificate.


Online, In-Person, and Combination Courses

TEFL courses fall into three categories: online, in-person, and hybrid courses that combine the two.

Online TEFL Courses: Online TEFL courses are great if you need schedule and location flexibility.

Before I started teaching online and travelling, I did an online TEFL course because it worked out well with my job. I was able to go to work during the day and complete my TEFL course online in the evenings and on weekends.

Online TEFL courses are often self-paced and may take longer to complete than in-person TEFL courses. They are also usually less expensive.

The downside of choosing an online TEFL course is that you won’t get real-time demonstrations and feedback on your teaching.

While your course might include video content, there’s no replacement for actually standing in front of people and applying the material.

This is where In-Person TEFL courses shine.

In-Person TEFL Courses: With an in-person course, you’ll do all your training and practical student teaching during a shorter time frame, usually a few weeks.

You can also choose to do your TEFL training abroad, meaning you’ll get to explore a new place while learning new skills.

In-person TEFL courses are better for those who want to get TEFL certified as soon as possible. You’ll also leave with more experience teaching in real life.

In-person TEFL courses are usually more expensive.

The benefit is that you’ll be ready to start teaching sooner, have more practical experience, experience living in a new country, receive job placement assistance in that country afterward, and meet other aspiring TEFL teachers in your class. Plus, your accommodation and some excursions and activities are also included.

If an in-person TEFL certificate sounds like what you’re interested in, click here to check out exciting opportunities in Thailand, Spain, Argentina and more!

Hybrid Or Combination Courses: The third option is to combine online and in-person elements into a hybrid or combination class. With these class formats, you’ll do most of the written work online independently.

Then, your TEFL company will arrange opportunities for you to do in-person teaching days, possibly with other students. This means you’ll get a chance to apply what you’ve learned and receive feedback before applying for teaching jobs.

Practicum Teaching

Some TEFL courses will also include a practical teaching component. During your practicum, you will either practice teaching a lesson to real students or observe English lessons taught by established teachers.

Practicum experience can also be tutoring one-on-one, student teaching, or volunteering with a local organization that offers English classes.

Here’s how this plays out in different TEFL courses:

In-Person TEFL Courses: The course arranges the practical teaching opportunity for you. You will observe and practice teach during your in-person TEFL course.

Hybrid TEFL Courses: You do the theoretical parts of the course online on your own time. There are special in-person training days that you can attend to get your practical experience hours.

Fully Online Independent TEFL Courses: You do the course on your own and you are responsible for arranging your own practical teaching opportunities.

When you complete your practical component, you’ll need to have the supervisor or lead teacher sign off on your hours. You submit this to the TEFL company when you finish your training.

While there are lots of ways to fulfill your practicum teaching requirement, it can be time-consuming to arrange.

Not all TEFL courses have a practical teaching component. But it’s a good idea to consider one that does if you want to get some hands-on teaching experience before diving headfirst into the classroom.


TEFL中国官网:www.TEFLinChina.com

TESOL中国官网:www.TESOLinChina.com


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