How to Choose a TEFLTESOL Certificate - Teach Online & Abroad in 2023

How to Choose a TEFL/TESOL Certificate – Teach Online & Abroad in 2024

So you’ve been thinking about teaching English abroad or online – how exciting! The first step you need to take on your teaching journey is to get TEFL certified in 2024.

There are a few different types of TEFL certificates and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this blog post, I’ll break down the different kinds of TEFL certificates to help you decide which is right for you. I’ll also recommend some TEFL certificates that I have personally taken or recommend as a teacher coach.

So read on and start planning your next great adventure!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a commission when you make a purchase using my link – at no extra cost to you. This supports my business and allows me to help teachers like you. Thank you!

What Is a TEFL/TESOL Certificate?

To begin, TEFL stands for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” and TESOL stands for “Teaching English to Students of Other Languages.”

Some countries use the acronym TEFL while others prefer TESOL. Essentially, there is no difference between a TEFL and TESOL certificate. You don’t need both certificates – only one!

TEFL = TESOL. You only need ONE course.

You may have heard of other certificates like CELTA and CertTESOL. CELTA is the Cambridge English brand of a TEFL/TESOL certificate and CertTESOL is a certificate from Trinity. Other popular brands you may have heard of are International TEFL Academy, Premier TEFL, The TEFL Academy, and Bridge TEFL.

These certificates are often required when looking for ESL/EFL teaching positions abroad and online. The minimum requirement is a 120-hour course.

TEFL courses generally last from four to 12 weeks and cover topics such as grammar, lesson planning, classroom management, and how to teach different levels of students.

More countries are requiring a teaching practicum component as part of your TEFL course if you want to teach abroad. Depending on the country this could be anywhere from 6-20+ hours of teaching practice with real students.

As for accreditation, there is no one, single worldwide accreditation. There are a few different accrediting bodies, like OFQUAL, mostly in native English speaking countries, that certify TEFL courses. Check the course provider’s official website for information about their accreditor.

Not every TEFL/TESOL course is equal – there are also A LOT of scams – so keep reading to find out which certificate I recommend for you.

Which TEFL/TESOL Certificates Will Help Me Get Hired to Teach English Abroad in 2024?

If you want to teach abroad, you’ll want to take a high quality TEFL course. Cheaper courses are ok for online teaching, but when it comes to teaching abroad, you’ll need a quality course in order to apply for your visa. Courses like Teacher Record and Alison are not accredited for teaching abroad.

International TEFL Academy

My favorite TEFL course is International TEFL Academy because it can be completed online or abroad, it includes a 20-hour teaching practicum, you’ll get lifetime job search assistance, and it’s geared towards teaching both kids and adults.

I tested out the 11-week part-time ITA course and you can read my full review here. I really enjoyed the assignments and peer-to-peer forum which aren’t often included in other online TEFL courses.

Also, no other TEFL provider offers such extensive job search assistance. This along with ITA’s pre-enrollment guidance and 50,000+ member alumni group are what sets ITA apart from other TEFL providers.

I recommend International TEFL Academy to anyone who is seriously interested in teaching abroad, but especially for teachers without previous teaching experience, without a degree, or who are non-native speakers as you’ll want a high-quality course. This course is the best all-around TEFL course in my opinion.

To get an extra $50 OFF your 4 or 11-week online International TEFL Academy course, fill out this form exclusive for my readers.

Premier TEFL and The TEFL Academy

If you hold a passport from a native English-speaking country like the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, or South Africa and have some previous teaching or tutoring experience, then you can teach abroad with a more affordable TEFL course like The TEFL Academy or Premier TEFL.

These courses are very similar, in my opinion, with both offering a level 3 and level 5 course option. The courses consist of readings & videos, and quizzes with some differences in assignments and course add-on options.

Job search assitance is much more limited, so you can join my membership Teach Abroad Club for assistance if you decide to go with TTA or Premier TEFL as your course provider.

Click here to learn more about The TEFL Academy.

Use code JamieESL10 at checkout to get an extra 10% off any Premier TEFL course.

Use code ESL365 at checkout to get an extra 10% off level 3 & 5 courses through The TEFL Academy.


CELTA is a Cambridge English TEFL course aimed at teaching adults and includes teaching practice and assignments. This is the most well-known TEFL certificate in the industry and is often preferred in Europe and the Middle East.

There’s a part-time (10-11 week) option and a fill-time (4-5 week) option. This course is very intense and you will learn a lot – but expect to be busy preparing lessons and working on assignments during your course.

You can watch this video to learn about my experience with the part-time CELTA course in Brisbane, Australia. There isn’t usually any job search assistance provided which is why I created my online self-study course to help you with the teach abroad process called The TEFL Teacher Roadmap and free downloadable Teach Abroad Jobs Guide.

You can find a CELTA course being offered near you by clicking here. If you want to take the course online, you’ll need to check with centers that offer the CELTA in your timezone to see if this option is available. You can also google centers that offer CELTA near you.


CertTESOL is the Trinity brand TEFL certificate and is very similar to CELTA. It isn’t quite as well-known and also isn’t offered in as many locations as the CELTA.

To learn more about CertTESOL, you can visit the official website.

TEFL Courses Abroad

Another option is to do your TEFL course abroad. If you choose this option, some programs have a job placement guarantee or make it easy for trainee teachers to network with local schools after their course.

Here are some options I recommend that are accredited (not all job placement programs provide you with a quality TEFL course):

The best TEFL courses for teaching abroad are expensive. If you are just starting out and want a taste of what TEFL teaching is like, then you can always start with a 120-hour course and upgrade to a level 5 course like CELTA, CertTESOL or ITA when you are ready.

Think of your course as an investment. A better course will open more doors and make you a better teacher.

Which TEFL/TESOL Certificates Are Best for Teaching English Online in 2024?

If you want to teach ESL online, most online ESL companies only require a basic 120-hour course.

If you want a very basic, inexpensive TEFL, then you can do the TEFL/TESOL from International Open Academy. This is basically a document that you read through with quizzes. There is no teaching practice element. I only recommend this course if you are a native English speaker with a degree and teaching experience who needs to “tick the box” that you have a TEFL certification. I do not recommend this course for teaching abroad as it won’t be accepted.

If you are a non-native speaker, you don’t have a degree or you don’t have any teaching experience, then a basic 120-hour course from The TEFL Academy or Premier TEFL is enough.

Use code JamieESL10 at checkout to get an extra 10% off any Premier TEFL course.

Use code ESL365 at checkout to get an extra 10% off level 3 & 5 courses through The TEFL Academy.

Teach Online in 10 Days by ESL Teacher 365

If you are new to teaching online, I have created a 10 day online self-study mini-course called “Teach Online in 10 Days” which prepares you to teach online with confidence. You’ll learn about the three different ways to teach online (companies, marketplaces and freelancing) and take action each day with the help of a video lesson and PDF on topics like creating demo lessons, lesson planning, applying to jobs and more.

For all the details about “Teach Online in 10 Days,” click here.

Average Cost of TEFL/TESOL Certificates in 2024

TEFL courses can vary A LOT in price.

For online teaching, you can get a course for as little as $19. CELTA courses can cost up to $3,000 depending on where you take them. The average price for online TEFL courses is between $300-1,500.

It’s important to consider – do you want to teach abroad, online or both? Remember – to teach abroad you’ll need a quality TEFL course that’s accredited in order to get a visa.

Are you a native speaker or a non-native speaker? For non-native speakers, unfortunately there is a lot of discrimination in the industry. You’ll want to be as qualified as possible which is why I recommend getting a high quality TEFL. This means ITA, CELTA, or CertTESOL.

To get an extra $50 OFF your 4 or 11-week online International TEFL Academy course, fill out this form exclusive for my readers.

Do you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject? If you don’t have a degree, you will be more limited in where you can teach abroad (certain visas require a degree) and which online companies/marketplaces you can teach for. Having a quality TEFL can be beneficial if you are competing for jobs against teachers with degrees.

Do you have previous teaching experience? If you have never taught or tutored before, just reading a document and taking quizzes won’t prepare you to be a teacher. You’ll want to take a TEFL course with a teaching practicum so you can learn how to manage a classroom.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the bottom line? Well, if you’re looking to teach English abroad in 2024, a TEFL/TESOL certificate is essential. TEFL/TESOL courses offer you a solid foundation in teaching theory and practice, and will help prepare you for the realities of the classroom. 

If you still aren’t sure which TEFL course is right for you, send me an email at with the following information and I’ll email you back:

  • If you want to teach abroad, online or both (and which countries)
  • Which passport(s) you hold
  • If you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • If you have previous teaching experience or a teaching license

I also offer 1:1 teach abroad coaching.

Happy teaching!



ESL Teacher 365 Online Courses & Memberships

Teach Online in 10 Days Mini-Course

A step-by-step 10 lesson mini-course that will teach you how to become an online teacher so that you can life a life of freedom & flexibility - with unlimited income potential!

TEFL Teacher Roadmap Teach Course

A proven step-by-step formula that will teach you how to move abroad with confidence & clarity. A self-study online course for anyone asking "NOW WHAT?!" after completiting their TEFL certificate.

Teach Abroad Club Membership

Ready to start your teach abroad adventure? Teach Abroad Club is the ONLY monthly membership & community that supports you through the teach abroad process - every step of the way. 

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Certified Teacher & Founder of ESL Teacher 365

I am passionate about helping people teach abroad & online so they can live a life of adventure!

I’ve taught in 6 different countries and love sharing my teach abroad (and online) tips and tricks.

The world is yours to teach and explore!

– Jamie 

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