TESOL certification; if you want to get into either English language teaching abroad or online you’re going to need one.
This guide will help you understand the process of getting TESOL certified, what the requirements are, and what to look out for. Once you’ve finished reading, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not TESOL certification is right for you. So let’s get into it!
What is TESOL?
TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Essentially, this involves teaching English to non-native English speakers in both native English speaking countries and non-native English speaking countries.
You may also recognize this as TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language). This also involves teaching English to non-native English speakers in non-native English speaking countries. In other words, teaching English abroad.
Nevertheless, despite these similarities, there is a difference between TESOL and TEFL and we’ll take a look at this here.
What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL?
In the TEFL world, TEFL and TESOL are terms that are often used interchangeably. In fact some TEFL course providers even allow you to choose between a TEFL qualification and TESOL qualification after completing the same, identical course.
However, there is one key distinction. While TEFL focusses on teaching English as a foreign language abroad, TESOL additionally includes teaching English language learners in an English speaking country.
You should therefore expect a TESOL course to contain content related to teaching English in a native-English speaking country, as well as teaching English abroad.
Following so far? You can check here to get a deeper understanding of TEFL vs TESOL.
What is TESOL certification?
A TESOL certification is an internationally recognized teaching accreditation which qualifies you to teach English to non-native speakers around the world. This can be both teaching English as a foreign language and teaching English as a second language.
It is generally required by English language schools abroad and online in order to get an English teaching job. Although this isn’t the case in all countries, most schools and language companies request that their English teachers hold either a TESOL certification or TEFL certification.
It often doesn’t matter too much which one you have, as both qualify you to teach English to non-native speakers. However, some employers will be more particular about the type of certification you hold. Therefore, you should always do your research before applying.
While each employer can have their own specific requirements, as a general rule of thumb all TESOL certified teachers must have a minimum of 120 hours of training. This means that you should look for a TESOL certification that is at least 120 hours in length.
TESOL certification courses are offered by a number of different organizations, and there are a few things you need to consider when choosing your TESOL course.
TESOL certifications: What to look out for
There are numerous TESOL certifications out there to choose from, but there are certain things that you should keep in mind before taking the plunge on a course. Here’s what to look out for:
Length of the TESOL course
Most employers will require their teachers to have completed a 120 hour TESOL course at a minimum. There are shorter courses available but these tend to be introductory online courses or specialist in nature.
For, example you might come across a 60 hour TESOL course for teaching English English to young learners. However, as a base it is important that you secure that 120 hours of training to be fully certified to teach English as an EFL or ESL teacher.
Does it include a teaching practicum?
In addition to the standard 120 hours of TESOL training, some TESOL certifications also include a teaching practicum component where candidates must observe and/or teach real classes.
Teaching practice is highly valued by employers as it gives you some form of teaching experience. In some cases it is even a requirement!
So, if you want to give yourself a better chance of landing a TEFL job after completing your course, keep a look out for TESOL courses with a teaching practicum.
Is it accredited?
Accreditation is important because it can give you some assurances over the quality of training provided by the TESOL course provider. If a course is TEFL accredited it means it has been evaluated by an external organization to ensure that the course meets a certain set of standards.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one single overarching body in charge of administering this, so you should still proceed with some degree of caution. Ideally you want to find an accredited TESOL course from an established TESOL course provider with a good reputation. Not just some random course that you came across on Groupon!
Reputation of the TESOL course provider
This goes hand-in-hand with TEFL accreditation as it helps give you an idea of the quality of the TESOL course.
It goes without saying that if a TESOL course provider has a good reputation, you can expect the course to be decent. Perhaps just as important is the recognition of your course within the TEFL industry. Employers are more likely to take you seriously if you have invested in a quality course from a reputable organization.
Is tutor support included?
Having tutor support with your TESOL course can be highly beneficial. As qualified English teachers with existing experience, tutors can provide you with valuable feedback and guidance. This can really enhance your TESOL course experience and make sure you’re on the right track.
TESOL courses with tutor support will be more expensive, but they’re worth it. That’s not to say that you can’t pick up a good TESOL course without a tutor. After all, some people prefer self-led study.
At the end of the day it will come down to your own personal preference. But, if I was looking for a course today I’d personally want a tutor to call upon when needed.
Who needs a certificate in TESOL?
If you successfully complete your TESOL certification course, you’ll be awarded a certificate in TESOL. But do you really need one? If you want to teach English to non-native speakers around the world, the answer is yes.
As we’ve already discussed, most employers will require you to have either a TEFL or TESOL certification. Without one you’re going to find it a lot harder to get TEFL jobs.
Not only that, you owe it to yourself and any of your potential future students to get TESOL certified. By doing so, you’ll be equipped with the skills that you need to deliver effective English lessons. You don’t want to be one of those fly-by-night teachers who aren’t qualified and takes advantage of their students.
What are the requirements for doing a TESOL certification?
In order to sign up for a TESOL course and obtain a TESOL certification, you should be over 18 years old and fluent in English.
You don’t need to be a native English speaker. But, you will be required to demonstrate your English language proficiency when going after TEFL jobs. If your English is not at an advanced level, you may want to consider taking an ESL class or two before signing up for a TESOL program.
Depending upon where you want to teach you may also need to have a bachelors degree.
What are the benefits of having a TESOL certification?
Teaching English to speakers of other languages can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only do you get the chance to help people learn a new language, but you also get to travel, learn about different cultures and share your own culture with others.
There are many benefits to getting TESOL certified before you start teaching English. First, it shows that you are serious about teaching and have the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful teacher. Secondly, a TESOL certification can help you get a job teaching English, as many schools and organizations require you to have one.
Finally, having a TESOL certification can make you more marketable as a teacher and help you earn more money. In some cases TESOL courses even come with a guaranteed job placement afterwards!
So, if you’re thinking about becoming an EFL or ESL teacher, or if you’re already teaching English but don’t have a TESOL certification, you should seriously consider getting certified.
How to get TESOL certified
In order to get TESOL certified, there are a few steps you must take:
1) Decide if you want to take an online TESOL course or an in-person TESOL course either at home or abroad.
2) Do your research and find suitable TESOL courses that fit your budget.
3) Purchase a course, complete the TESOL training program and obtain your TESOL certification.
Let’s take a look at each of these in a bit more detail:
Decide on an online TESOL course Vs classroom TESOL course
Many people are now turning to online TESOL courses to gain the qualifications they need to teach English as a second language. While there are a number of advantages to taking an online course, there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of before making a decision.
Online TESOL courses
One of the main advantages of an online TESOL course is the flexibility it offers. You can study at your own pace and in your own time, without having to attend classes in person. This is ideal if you have other commitments such as work or family.
Another advantage is that online TESOL courses are often more affordable than traditional classroom based TESOL courses. A decent 120 hour TESOL course online could set you back anywhere between $200 – $1,000. Whereas an equivalent classroom based TESOL course usually cost somewhere between $1,500 – $3,000.
However, there are some disadvantages to taking an online TESOL course. One of these is that it can be difficult to stay motivated when you are not attending classes in person and do not have regular deadlines. Another is that you won’t get the same level of experience that you do from a classroom course.
Classroom TESOL courses
Despite being more expensive, classroom TESOL courses are much more immersive. By doing a classroom based TESOL course you get full interaction with a tutor and are more likely to have some teaching practice with real language learners. When it comes to training, nothing beats the real thing and this can be vital in securing a TEFL job.
This is particularly true if you do your TESOL course abroad. In this case, you not only get to spend time studying in a new culture, you also get to have a trip of a lifetime. Furthermore, studying abroad can broaden your horizons and help you establish a network there. This can be very useful if you want to get an English teaching job abroad in that country.
Do your research
When looking for the right TESOL course, there are several things to research and consider in order to find the best fit for you. The first step is to decide what level of TESOL certification you need. There are entry-level TESOL certificates as well as more advanced certifications for those with more experience. You can read more about TESOL and TEFL qualification levels here.
If you’re just starting out a level 3 or level 5 TESOL certification should be more than sufficient. You’ll just need to decide if you want to do a regular TESOL course or the CertTESOL from Trinity College London. Beyond that, in future you might want to consider a DipTESOL when you’ve got some teaching experience.
Once you have an idea of the level of certification you need, you can begin researching specific courses.
When narrowing down your options, look at the curriculum of each course to see if it covers all the topics you want to learn about. It is also important to consider the length of the course and whether it will fit into your schedule.
By this point you should have already decided if you want to study for your TESOL certificate online or abroad. If you want to study abroad, you should find out if there are any specific requirements in your chosen country.
Another important factor to research is the cost of the TESOL course and any potential discounts that may be available. TESOL course providers run regular offers, and you can often make some pretty good savings. Check out these TEFL courses special offers for the latest deals from the major TESOL course providers.
If you’ve seen some courses you like but are still not quite ready to pull the trigger, you can reach out to each program and speak with an admissions advisor, or look for advice here.
Complete your TESOL training
In order to obtain your TESOL certificate and be certified to teach English, you first must complete the TESOL training program. This will be at least 120 hours long and may include teaching practice.
Once you have completed this and passed any related assessments or exams, you will be officially TESOL certified. You can then finalize your search for a TEFL job and start teaching English, congratulations!
Where should you get your TESOL certificate?
Whether you choose to get TESOL certified online or in the classroom is really down to your own personal preference and circumstances. Just make sure you find a good TESOL course provider!
Some of the best organizations that offer TESOL certification courses include but are not limited to: ITTT, International TEFL Academy and Teach Away.
If you’re looking at online courses, ITTT currently have a great deal on their 220-hour TEFL/TESOL Master Package. This comes with two additional 50 hour courses on teaching business English and teaching English to young learners. We’d recommend going for the option with the tutor, videos and practicum. That way you cover all the bases and get a good level of support.
Depending upon your budget, you could also go one step further and do the ITTT 550-hour expert package. This even includes a 250 hour TESOL Diploma (DipTESOL)! So, if you’re really serious about TESOL teaching this could be a good choice. In addition to the TESOL diploma, it contains everything from the master package plus a 50 hour course on teaching English online.
TESOL certification FAQs
Is a TESOL certificate worth it?
Yes, a TESOL certificate is definitely worth it. Nearly all English language schools online and around the world require you to have either a TESOL or TEFL certificate in order to teach English with them. So, if you want to give yourself the best chance of finding a job and are serious about teaching English, you should get TESOL certified.
How long does it take to get a TESOL certificate?
The answer to this largely depends on the type of TESOL program you choose. There are several different types of TESOL programs, including online, in-person and and a combination of the two.
If you’re doing an in-person TESOL course it can be completed in as little as four weeks.
Whereas if you do an online TESOL course it can take anywhere between two weeks to up to six months. This is because you can do it at your own pace. So, if it’s a 120 hour course you might decide to devote 10 hours a day to it, or you can just dip and out when you wanted to.
Do I need to speak another language to teach English?
No, you don’t need to be able to speak another language. TESOL is all about English language teaching. ESL teachers are encouraged to use English as much as possible in the classroom and you should avoid using the students native language if you can. Of course it can be helpful to speak the local language if you’re living and working abroad, but for the actually process of teaching it shouldn’t be necessary.
Can I get a TESOL certification without a degree?
The answer is yes! There are many reputable TESOL certification programs that do not require a degree. However,
you may find that you need a degree in order to teach in certain countries or for certain online English teaching companies.
Conclusion: Got get a TESOL certification
No matter which type of TESOL certificate program you choose, getting a TESOL certificate can open up a raft of new opportunities for your career. With a TESOL certification, you will be qualified to teach English to speakers of other languages from all over the world.
The global demand for English language teachers is high and the online teaching market continues to grow. So, go forth and get started on your path to becoming a certified TESOL teacher today.