We will have a look at the best TEFL certification programs out there as well as give you a guide on how to choose the best course. To become an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher, an important aspect is getting a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate.
What Is a TEFL Certificate?
Some may use the term ‘TEFL certificate’ interchangeably with ‘TESL certificate’, ‘TESOL’, or ‘CELTA’. There are, however, technical differences between these teaching EFL qualifications:
A TEFL certificate is a qualification for those who are looking to teach English as a foreign language to students who want or need to learn English. In the student’s country, English is not the native language.
A TESL (Teaching English as a Second language) certificate is for those who are looking to teach English to non-English speaking students in an English native country, such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, the UK, or the US.
TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a certificate for those who want to teach English to students in both native English-speaking and non-native English speaking countries.CELTA (Certificate for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is similar to a TESOL; however, it is specific to Cambridge University and is well respected internationally.
Do You Need a TEFL Certificate?
The answer to this question is ‘no’. While TEFL experience may be enough to get you an EFL job in some countries and at some schools, for others, good credentials are a requirement. Also, if you want higher paying jobs, then you need to have a TEFL certificate.
Steps to Take to Choose the Best TEFL Certification Program
Here is a list of steps to take in choosing the best TEFL certification program:
- Start by researching TEFL programs and if you know any EFL teachers, speak to them and get their opinions on the best TEFL certification programs out there. Also, read online reviews about these programs; always take these with some grain of salt.
- If you know where you want to teach or have a shortlist of schools, get in touch and ask questions about which programs they would recommend and why.
- If you don’t know where to start your job search post getting your TEFL certificate, look for a TEFL program that also does job placement.
- It is better if the TEFL certificate program you choose is accredited and recognized. There are three factors that contribute to this:
- Is the TEFL certificate program affiliated with a widely respected university, like Trinity or Cambridge? Or, is it a brand name (e.g. CELTA)?
- Is the company with which you are doing your TEFL qualification accredited? A reputable body should accredit the company offering the TEFL certificate program. Here is a list of top TEFL accredited bodies:
- Does your TEFL certificate come with prove that you have completed enough hours of teaching instruction and practice in order to be a successful teacher? Most schools require that you have a 120-hour TEFL certification, which may be broken down into 100 hours of instruction and 20 hours of teaching practicum.
- Look at your budget and choose the best possible course you can afford. In general, a TEFL certification should cost you between US$1,000 – 2,500. However, you may be able to find good online courses for between US$500 – 1,000.
- Consider how long it takes to get TEFL certified and whether it fits in with your life and timeframe.
- Find out where the TEFL training will be held (if it isn’t an online course) and how far you need to travel.
- Ask the TEFL program director or trainer if you can speak to other graduates and find out more about their experiences.
- Read the fine print – look at age limits, required post-graduate degrees, and possible nationality restrictions.
Learn more about our TEFL certification programs
What Will You Learn in a TEFL Certification Program
This will obviously differ from program to program, but in general, you may learn the skills to:
- Plan effective EFL lessons that meet learning objectives
- Effectively teach English language skills, ranging from grammar and pronunciation to listening, reading, speaking and writing, to students
- Manage a foreign-language classroom
- Cultivate a positive learning environment
- Adapt lessons to different learning styles as well as English proficiency levels
Find, modify, and even personalize teaching material
Unfortunately, there are TEFL certification programs that are offered by unscrupulous people and companies. And spending anywhere in the range of US$500 and US$2,500 on a course that doesn’t deliver on promises and expectations, i.e., equipping you with the skills you need to teach EFL, is not a situation anyone would like to be in – ever.
Here are a few pointers to identify the best TEFL certification programs from the bad:
- Not accredited – As mentioned above, it is recommended to do a TEFL certification program that is accredited; if it isn’t, move on.
- About Us page – The webpage of the TEFL program should easily identify the organization and/or the people who are offering the course. If this kind of info isn’t readily available, ask yourself why they would hide that.
- Course length – The recognized baseline of what you need to teach English effectively is a minimum of 120 hours of training.
- Alumni network – This information should be available once requested so that you can get in touch with other graduates of the program and ask them if the course helped them land the job they wanted.
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