If you’ve ever thought about qualifying to become an English teacher to non-native speakers but haven’t been quite sure where to start, you’re in the right place. TEFL certification is absolutely essential to finding work as an English teacher – abroad and online. In this article, we’ll run you through exactly what you need to do in order to get certified and set yourself up with the best possible career prospects.
What is TEFL?
Those completely new to TEFL might need some clarification about what exactly TEFL is. It’s an acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and is one of the most common terminologies for the profession. Depending on the course provider, you might also see the term TESOL being used, which stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. They’re both the same thing but it’s helpful to know this early on in your research.
The English language market is constantly growing worldwide, creating a wealth of opportunities for those qualified to teach it. You may be going into a TEFL course with the knowledge of exactly what type of teacher you’d like to be or you might still be on the fence. There’s no pressure to decide right away. One of the greatest things about getting TEFL certified is that you aren’t restricted to any one type of teaching!
EFL teachers get to enjoy a variety of options: full-time teaching contracts at primary, middle, or high schools, volunteering opportunities, tutoring, teaching online, and that’s just to name a few. With a TEFL certification you’ll be able to have your pick. Whatever type of teaching you end up choosing, it’ll without a doubt be a thoroughly rewarding experience.
Choose a well-accredited TEFL course provider
In order to give yourself the widest range of options with the best, most credible employers then you don’t want just any TEFL qualification, you want one from a well-accredited provider. Why? Because it means that the provider’s standards and course materials have been carefully reviewed by relevant bodies. Ideally, the accreditation will come from a government or education body.
There are a lot of companies offering TEFL courses at very low costs, but realistically, how much can you get from a course that asks you to invest so little? The reason you’re taking a course is because you want to teach English well and with confidence. Let that be a realistic outcome by choosing a well-accredited provider.
How much should I be willing to spend on a TEFL course?
As we’ve mentioned, the costs of courses can really vary and this is for a number of reasons. Low-priced courses tend to require little effort on your part and are unlikely to cover enough ground to adequately prepare you. Employers recognise this, which is why it’s fairly standard for a course consisting of 120-hours to be a minimum requirement for applicants.
In this time and no less, you should be able to cover all the necessary material that’ll prepare you for teaching. Just because you can speak English doesn’t mean you can teach it. You most definitely have the potential to but that comes with hard work from learning how to teach in a specific way.
This cost of a 120-hour TEFL course from an adequately accredited provider may cost anywhere between £150 – £500. For a provider to receive accreditation from established bodies, real effort and dedication has to be invested in their courses – and this is naturally reflected in their price. Intensive, combined classroom and online courses will be more costly.
Engage with course material
A good TEFL course will provide you with plenty of material. Dedicate the time advised by your course tutors so that you can really engage with the resources. They have been carefully put together to set you off on the right foot, whether it be lesson plans, teaching scenarios, learning techniques or anything else. You’ll also need to demonstrate your engagement when you’re assessed. Plus, you can be reassured that you’ll have them to look back on once you’re actually teaching.
Consider advanced courses
There are many advanced courses you can take in addition to the 120-hour TEFL course. Advanced courses enable you to explore a particular area in much greater depth so that you become even more confident in your own skills and your ability to find work.
Advanced courses may, for example, cover online teaching with advice on becoming the boss of your own business, the specific skills you would need to teach Business English or skills for teaching certain class sizes or ages.
Advanced courses also help set you apart from competing applicants. You’ll have to do lots of research about where you’re eligible to teach before you start applying. Employer and visa requirements can very much vary. They may include whether you have a degree, are a native English speaker, or have previous teaching experience. Not fitting such criteria absolutely shouldn’t hold you back from becoming an English teacher as there will be other opportunities elsewhere that you’re the perfect fit for.
So, if you’re going to get TEFL certified, you now know what you should prioritise, what employers are looking for and how you can finally get started. For more information about what you need to know before you TEFL, check out this blog