If you want to know what TEFL is and how to get TEFL certified then you’re in the right place. We’ll help you get an understanding of the basics and before long you’ll be ready to take your TEFL course and get TEFL certified. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
What is TEFL?
Quite simply, TEFL is the acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In essence this is teaching English to non-native speakers, which can be done either abroad or online.
You may also have seen TEFL described under other, similar sounding TEFL acronyms. What are these acronyms I hear you ask… Well, some of the most well-known ones are TESL (Teaching English as Second Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Whilst both of these are often used to describe TEFL, it is important to understand that there are some key differences between TEFL, TESL and TESOL.
However, when it comes to choosing a TEFL course and getting TEFL certified, TEFL and TESOL are often used interchangeably. For instance, there are some courses that allow you to request either a TEFL or TESOL certificate at the end, even though the content you cover is identical in both!
What does TEFL involve?
Unsurprisingly, TEFL involves teaching English. The majority of people who get into TEFL will either start out teaching English abroad or increasingly teaching English online. As you progress, you could also find yourself providing courses to other teachers or even managing a language school. It is thought that there are over 1.5 billion people in the world currently learning English so there are plenty of opportunities out there and demand is high.
If you plan on teaching English abroad, you need to be prepared to relocate and live in another country. This can be a great adventure but it’s not without challenges. A good way to see if you’re ready for this is by taking a TEFL course abroad. In fact, this is just one of the many reasons why you should take a TEFL course abroad!
Having said that, there are equally good TEFL courses that you can complete online and a number of good reasons for obtaining an online TEFL certificate. In fact, this is the most common route to getting a TEFL certification.
What is a TEFL certification?
A TEFL certification is a professional qualification that allows you to teach English to non-native English speakers abroad and online. There are several different types of TEFL certification and it is important to understand the differences between these when it comes to choosing your course. The most widely taken TEFL certification is TEFL itself. You may also come across TESL, TESOL, CELTA and DELTA certifications among others.
Read more about the difference between TEFL, TESL, TESOL, CELTA and DELTA here to decide which TEFL certification is right for you.
Why do you need a TEFL certification?
Having a TEFL certification certifies that you have received training from a qualified instructor and have acquired the skills to teach English professionally. Being TEFL certified forms one of the key requirements for teaching English abroad.
It is also requested by most online TEFL companies. You’ll therefore need one if you’re set on getting an online English teaching job.
This isn’t without good reason either. When you’re working as a TEFL teacher you need to have a good understanding of English grammar. You also need to be able to teach the five key skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and pronunciation to your students in an informative and engaging manner. If this all sounds a bit overwhelming don’t worry. You can learn these skills by doing a TEFL course and acquiring a TEFL certification.
How to get TEFL certified?
In order to get TEFL certified you’ll need to complete a TEFL course. Nearly everyone involved in TEFL will have completed a TEFL course at some point.
To find a good TEFL course there are a number of things to look out for. Firstly, you should be looking for an accredited TEFL course. This is important because it means that the course training is monitored by an independent external body. They will make sure that certain educational standards are adhered to within the TEFL course. This ensures that you will receive a high-quality level of training and that the course:
- Is at least 100 hours long, 120 hours is a good benchmark;
- Has 6 + hours of teaching practice with real students;
- Is provided by a qualified instructor from a recognised course provider;
- Has an accredited curriculum from a reputable organisation.
You should also consider:
- Where you want to take your TEFL course;
- How much it costs;
- What sort of reviews it receives.
TEFL certification options
Now that you understand what TEFL is and how to get TEFL certified, you need to think about where you want to do your TEFL course. TEFL courses are either conducted in class or online. Some TEFL course providers may also offer a hybrid course, which is a combination of the two. You can earn a valid TEFL certification through all of these course types and it really comes down to your personal preference.
In class TEFL courses
In class TEFL courses are a good option if you like to learn in-person with other people. They are usually full-time and will require you to attend training at a specified time and location, and act as a great stepping stone to teaching English abroad. However, if flexibility is what you’re after then you will be better off looking at online TEFL courses.
Online TEFL courses
Online TEFL courses can usually be taken in your own time so are a great option if you’re looking to fit the course around your own schedule and need that flexibility. They are also generally more affordable than in class TEFL courses, whilst still covering the same content.
However, you should make sure that they are provided by a recognized, accredited TEFL course provider. Additionally, they should offer teaching practice if that is something that either you or your prospective employer require.
Be aware that there are a number of very cheap TEFL courses out there that do not meet these standards. Therefore, it is always important that you do your own research. To help you get started here are 5 cheap TEFL courses online that are TEFL accredited.