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 2023.
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.
TEFL = TESOL
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, Bridge TEFL and TEFL Heaven.
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. The best courses require trainee teachers to complete a practicum component, where you will be able to put your new skills into practice by teaching 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.
Not every TEFL/TESOL course is equal – there are also a lot of scams – so keep reading to find out which certificate is right for you.
Which TEFL/TESOL Certificates Will Help Me Get Hired to Teach English Abroad in 2023?
If you want to teach abroad, you’ll want to take a high quality TEFL course.
If you are a native English speaker with a degree and some previous teaching or tutoring experience, you’ll want a TEFL certificate of at least 120 hours like Premier TEFL or The TEFL Academy.
I’ve taken the Premier TEFL 120 hour online course and you can watch my review of it on YouTube.
Basic courses don’t often include teaching practice, which is why I only recommend these courses for native speaking teachers with a degree and experience.
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, are a non-native speaker or have never taught before, then I recommend investing in a quality course like International TEFL Academy, CELTA or CertTESOL.
International TEFL Academy
International TEFL Academy offers courses both online (4 weeks or 11 weeks) or abroad (4 weeks) in places like Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica and more. ITA has a huge alumni network and offers lifetime job search assistance.
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 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.
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.
- International TEFL Academy courses in Asia
- International TEFL Academy courses in Latin America
- International TEFL Academy courses in Europe
- TEFL Heaven Courses abroad (click here to download a free salary guide and you will be sent emails with more info about their courses)
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 2023?
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.
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.
These courses provide a basic introduction into the industry.
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 2023
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 $300-600.
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.
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.
Do you have a degree? 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 teaching practice so you can learn how to manage a classroom.
So, what’s the bottom line? Well, if you’re looking to teach English abroad in 2023, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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