TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. By getting the TEFL certification, you will be certified to teach non native English speakers how to speak, read, and write in English. The certificate shows that you are professionally trained to meet international English teaching standards.
Getting a TEFL certification is not as rigorous as getting a degree in education, but it requires both commitment and money.
TEFL is also known as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages(TESOL), teaching ESL (English as a Second Language), ETL (English Language Teaching).
The TEFL field is one of the fastest-growing educational fields globally and presents many English teachers abroad opportunities. There is little difference between all the above certifications. They are all certifications you will need if you want to teach English abroad.
Who Should Consider Taking Their TEFL Certification Online?
Getting a TEFL certificate is a great way to boost your employability abroad as an English teacher. The certificate will give you the confidence that you need to start your teaching career if you are new or inexperienced.
There are different options available for taking a TEFL course that can be a bit confusing. You will be required to choose whether you would want to take your course online or in person.
There are several factors that you need to consider before choosing the TEFL certification to go for. The budget you have for the course will impact the type of course you will take and the number of hours you can take the course.
If you choose fewer hours, it will be cheaper for you. If you choose more hours, it will be more expensive for you.
Getting an online TEFL certification is the cheapest option in the market. An online TEFL certification’s average cost will depend on the institution you choose to train with, but it typically costs anywhere from $200 – $600. You need to do your research very well before settling for a course because choosing a cheaper course might mean that you will settle for a less quality course.
It is also possible to get a course without breaking the bank. On the other hand, having an in-class course will be more expensive and will be at an additional cost. If you take the in-class option, you will have to consider the accommodation cost, daily expenses, and the flight fee if you are taking the course abroad. However, the high costs come with more assistance and benefits.
How Much Time Do You Need for A TEFL Certification?
The time you decide to put aside for your TEFL course will be determined by the type of TEFL course you choose that will be best for you. If you have a full-time job or are a student, you might need to go with the online option to incorporate it into your busy schedule. If you have a flexible schedule, you might want to consider the in-class option.
Online courses have the best flexibility and customization since you have the freedom to finish the course on your terms. There are online courses with deadlines, but most will give you a 6months window to finish the course. This time is great, especially if you are busy.
The TEFL online course is flexible, which allows you to work, study, or travel while completing the course.
On the other hand, an in-class certification can take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months to complete. There are many options all over the world for this option if you cannot find any classes locally. The in-class option is great for anyone who finds it hard to study alone.
While doing the course, you will be surrounded by people who will support and help you get the best out of the course. This will greatly improve your learning experience.
Features of Online TEFL Courses
Online TEFL courses are more flexible and, in most cases, more affordable and a great option for a teacher looking for job opportunities overseas. Different online TEFL programs will offer curricula, but they will all have the same basic elements to cover the course work.
Here is a list of what to expect in an online TEFL course:
- How to plan a lesson?
- Language skills and how to teach them
- Classroom management strategies
- Resources to build out your teacher toolbox
- Proactive teaching lessons
- How to teach specific types of English, e.g., Business English
How to Plan a Lesson
This is the biggest part of the TEFL course. It involves how to plan, structure, and execute a lesson plan. A great part of the course is dedicated to designing your lessons based on the number of students you have, their abilities, and language background.
When done with the TEFL course, you will be expected to build a flexible lesson plan to identify individual needs and help you plan accordingly and establish learning objectives for your lessons. You will be taught how to start a lesson and have activities that will help you practice new language skills and encourage your students to use English in the classroom.
Lesson planning should teach you how to plan great on-site and online classes. Most TEFL programs will have practical lesson plan assessment and grade at the end of the course with feedback on how to improve your lesson planning in the future.
Be ready to create lesson plans all through the closure and get feedback from your online tutor.
Strategies for Classroom Management
This is another part of your TEFL course that you will have to learn whether you have experience or not. Managing a class is tough work, especially if you do not know their common language. You must create a teaching space that will help your students grasp the new language much faster and expand their skillset.
To improve your students’ skills, you need to have a classroom management module that will include specific strategies that you will implement in the class for students with different learning styles and levels.
This majorly falls in the lines of learning how to give instructions, grouping your students, and knowing when your class is ready to move to the next level and include adapting your teaching style to different learners.
Language Skills and How to Teach Them
This is the part of the course that covers the aspects of the language of teaching. They include grammar, writing, pronunciation, speaking, and reading. Every lesson will teach you to focus on teaching a combination of many language skills. An example is when you use a listening activity to teach a pronunciation lesson or when you use a read and writing session to teach grammar.
An English online lesson will help you know how to teach all the English parts and how to teach them. Grammar through the TEFL course will not teach you every aspect of it. However, it will give you a simple overview and offer the required tools that will help you learn just enough about grammar to help your track your students.
Some courses will give you in-depth teaching of English grammar. They include topics such as verb and tense, strategic grammar, modal verbs, and conditionals. The programs will offer in-depth instruction on grammar and in-depth grammar as resources as well.
Building Your TEFL Teacher Toolbox
Your resources and materials in education will help you build an extensive and comprehensive tool book of teaching materials that will help you while teaching your students.
The TEFL online course will give you both digital resources and text-based resources for your TEFL teacher toolbox. You will learn fun activities in the classroom that will help keep your students engaged. You will also learn how to apply software and internet resources as part of your lesson plans.
This is the most helpful part of the online TEFL course. It can also be the most difficult part of the course. This is the part where you will have to practice the teaching part of the course.
There are online programs that require this part, while others do not. Some TEFL courses will include a 20 hour on-site English learning classroom footage that will allow the students to see how an actual classroom works without going on-site.
TEFL course that has the practicing component can vary on how it gets executed. Other TEFL training programs require the trainee to complete the practice part in their community.
It is important to remember that the practical hours are not part of the overall TEFL course, and not all employers require you to have completed the practical art to get a job. It is, however, required that you finish a practical lesson before you receive accreditation.
Extras: How to Teach Business English, Teach Kids, and More
TEFL offers more than the basics in English. Some programs offer the luxury of specializing in different areas. There is often the option of either teaching young learners or teaching business English.
There are different levels in English, and you will be required to choose which serves you best.
How Is the TEFL Online Course Taught?
An online TEFL class is very interactive with audio, video, and written communication. You will also have many handouts, and course content will be available for you to download.
A great TEFL course offers a great learning environment that provides the same level of interaction that would be available in an on-site course.
You should also expect quizzes often that serve as checkpoints to gauge the level of progression in between the course. Some graded tests and assessments ensure that the students are qualified to graduate from the course when they complete it.
TEFL courses use journal entries and forms of written submissions that are graded and returned and also work well as an aspect of personalization to the TEFL program.
How to Choose the Right Online TEFL Program
There are great stories of people teaching English all over the world. After finishing the course, you have the promise of getting a well-paying job in any of all the exotic corners of the world. There are several things you need to consider to be in a position to choose the best TEFL online program
It is also a fact that you can get prestigious teaching positions teaching English even without getting a TEFL certification. However, having a TEFL certification will open more doors for native English teachers and foreign English-speaking teachers.
If you are considering teaching English for just some time or the rest of your life, you should consider getting a TEFL certification. You do not need much tech knowledge to choose the best TEFL online course, but you will need to know a few things when comparing the different online TEFL courses.
Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing an online TEFL course
The Number of Hours
A typical TEFL online course can have a range of 20 to 250 hours of instructions. This huge gap makes it very hard for most people to choose the best course for them. However, there is a basic rule of thumb that will guide you in making your decision.
You will notice that you will still get certified when you take the 20-hour course, but you should consider investing more money to get more hours in. It is a fact that schools abroad recognize certification that is of at least 120 hours.
Taking the TEFL course with fewer hours will give you a rough idea of the teaching methodology and what is expected of you, but it will not be a great ticket to getting you a good job at a great school abroad.
So ensure that you get more hours in while taking the course to secure a full advantage while getting a well-paying job abroad.
It is also important to consider how busy your life is before choosing the ideal program for you.
Live practice teaching
While working with ESL students, you need to have had prior experience teaching English. You will need to have gained a level of confidence and comfort to succeed as a professional English teacher.
Most of the schools abroad are looking for a teacher who will teach English to a non native English speaker. So, you will need all the premier TEFL experience and confidence you can get.
The sessions involve anywhere between 6-20 hours of practice teaching. This is why you need to consider the practicum of the TEFL you choose to go with. It is important to note that even online classes have practicum aspects, and it is up to your instructor to show you how to do it.
Accreditation from a Recognized Independent Body
Most language institutes and schools around the globe looking to hire English teachers will want you to have a TEFL certification from an independent accredited body. This will ascertain that the TEFL classes you took meet the quality of standards set within the curriculum, the number of hours, practice teaching, and the level of instructions needed.
You might come across a website that offers a TEFL course but is not accredited. This means if you take that course, the certificate will be virtually meaningless. The Guide to TELF certification is a great place to see all the major accrediting bodies. You may even be able to take an online TEFL certification course.
Take note that TEFL training schools will claim to have accreditation and even created their bogus accrediting bodies. Others will claim to be an accredited TEFL course, but they are not.
To make sure you don’t fall prey to such sites, check if the training center is accredited in one of the following bodies:
- English Profile
- British Council
- The University of Cambridge
Instruction Provided by Highly Qualified Trainers
If you are looking to be trained and be highly paid as a professional English Teacher, you have to ensure that you get the best professional training level.
This means that any TEFL professional course you take should be taught by a university-level instructor who has a Master’s Degree in TESOL or any other related field. The instructor should also have a lot of experience in teaching English as a foreign language and training teachers.
Look out for TEFL classes that tutors teach. Some of the tutors may be qualified, but they are not professors. You will find that their TEFL qualification may not be more than a year of teaching abroad in most cases.
Quality Job Placement Assistance
Job placement assistance might not feature in the TEFL curriculum, but it is important to know how you will get a quality job while done.
You will have invested your time and money in getting this certification, so you will need to choose a training program to help you navigate the job market. All from applying for jobs, navigating through interviews and recruiters to help you land a great job after doing the course.
This will greatly improve your chances of landing a high-end job if you go through a training program that will give you first-rate expertise on how to go through the interview phase.
Some training programs will offer information about the top-level recruiter and give contacts to schools with English teacher job openings. You will also get information about the visa requirements, hiring requirements and get to know about the interviewing season.
Job Opportunities for Online TEFL Students
Not that TEFL wasn’t popular before, but with the onset of the pandemic, more and more people are turning to online avenues to both learn and make a living. As things stand right now, there are more than 1.5 billion English learners worldwide. This has inevitably created an insatiable demand for qualified TEFL instructors who can help bridge the gap between demand and supply.
Thankfully, this translates to the availability of online TEFL jobs for qualified instructors. However, it doesn’t mean that the jobs will come knocking – unless you are subscribed to high-quality job boards – it just means that there are more employment opportunities for those who know where to look. With that in mind, here are some suggestions as to where you can find high paying TEFL jobs as an English instructor online:
TEFL Jobs Centers
The very first place any qualified TEFL English instructor should look for a job is the TEFL Jobs Centre. This is the perfect platform where students who have gone through the TEFL training and certification by the TEFL Organization can browse the latest available positions and contact potential employers directly. This job center is updated daily and often has very exciting opportunities for the right candidate. While you could very well check the board every day, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you get daily updates on these exciting opportunities is to sign up for the newsletter sent to your inbox with new job offerings.
Frequent Independent Sites
With billions of students and thousands of qualified instructors, it’s a given that such a huge community would have a host of platforms on which it converges to share ideas, have discussions around their niche, and access public resources that help further the profession. One such platform is an independent site called TEFL.NET, which is available for English teachers as a foreign language. Not only does this site frequently have lots of job listings, but it also hosts a wealth of resources, including pages on lesson plans, job advice, TEFL course tips, and so on.
Online School Websites
If you intend to be an online educational instructor, it only makes sense that you would want to be associated with schools that offer online courses almost, if not exclusively. As such, frequenting online school websites for available job opportunities is one of the best ways to ensure that you remain informed. There are several approaches to doing this:
- You could simply make a list of all the institutions you would like to work for and see if they offer online teaching opportunities
- Run a quick Google search using the keywords “online English school”
Either one of these tactics is capable of offering you lots of opportunities for online TEFL teaching jobs. The beauty of running a quick Google search on online English schools is that you can simply go to the individual school websites to see if they have any openings once you have a decent list. This kind of search is easy enough to run as most online schools have “careers” pages or other labeled “jobs,” “work with or for us,” or just “opportunities.”
Although there is a chance that there might not be any work available at that exact moment, the fact that they are an online English school and there is a growing demand for qualified online English instructors, there is a good chance that there might be an opening soon.
The most prudent thing to do is contact the school, find out where you can send your resume, and do so anyway. That way, they will have your CV on file, and when something does come up, they might give you a call.
Some of the best schools to try include:
- ISUS (I Speak U Speak): This is an online language learning platform designed to make teaching extremely easy. It provides its instructors with programs and comprehensive structures without stifling their lesson planning freedom too much.
- Lingoda: Yet another interesting online teaching platform. One of the best things about this platform is that it comprises international talents (teachers from across the globe) and offers a flat rate for its teachers.
- English Town: This is one of the most polished and professional teaching platforms online. As you would expect, since the platform has such a broad range and is highly successful, it has a very selective hiring process, with only the best of the best getting hired to teach their online classes. This means that you will need to show the right TEFL certificate and demonstrate your online teaching abilities through a rigorous interview process. It also demands a bit more from the instructors than most other platforms, with the typical English instructor committing no less than 15 hours per week on the site. Thankfully, the pay is commensurate with the high standards.
There are many other alternatives available online. As mentioned, even if there are no “job availabilities” on your preferred platforms, simply sending in your CV anyway is a good first step to putting yourself on the hiring board’s radar.
Much like every other job, looking for, finding, and choosing the right online English teaching job is all about what works for you. Just because the job is online doesn’t mean that it’s not as demanding. You need to put your TEFL certification and online English teaching skills to good use, which means working for a platform that empowers you to do so.