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Top 5 TEFL Certifications

Updated on October 29, 2015

About TEFL Certifications

TEFL certification or ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ is the global standard of qualification for teaching English. Earlier, it was possible to get an English teaching job without any teaching experience or qualification. However, the scenario has changed a lot as almost every employer these days offering a good pay packet and standard working condition expect their ESL teachers to have some type of qualification in English teaching. Choosing a legitimate TEFL certification course according to your need is a real difficult task because any course that trains you for teaching English as a foreign language is considered to be a TEFL course. Part of it is a terminology problem. You can find all the following: CertTESOL, TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, DELTA, TESL, ESL, EFL to name only a few of the names attached to these kinds of teacher training certification programs around the world.

However, to make your choice easier, we bring you the top 5 TEFL certification programs, from which you can take your pick and find the one that's best for you. They range from the online ones that you can do really cheaply and easily to the gold standard in TEFL Training-the CELTA.


CertTESOL-Trinity College of London

“Certificate in TESOL” or certTESOL is a recognized professional TEFL qualification, awarded by the Trinity College, London. This course is particularly designed for those who have little or almost no experience of teaching English. The certTESOL is approved by British Council as a beginner’s TEFL course for teachers and it's roughly equivalent in difficult to a second year undergraduate course.

For more information, see Trinity College of London's website.

The CELTA from the University of Cambridge

The “Certificate in English language teaching to speakers of other language” or CELTA is a globally accredited teaching qualification designed by the University of Cambridge. You’ll learn the crucial teaching techniques during the course spread across 4 weeks. This includes language skills, enhancement of teaching skills, planning of lessons etc. The minimum age of aspirants of CELTA is 20 years and they need to have a 1st degree or equivalent.

The CELTA is often considered the gold standard of TEFL courses and it's widely recognized around the world as a reputable course that produces competent teachers. If you're going to spend the time and money doing a course, this would be one well worth considering.

Check out this blog post if you're interested in doing the CELTA in South Korea.

Will the CELTA help you Get a Job in South Korea?

"Introductory" TEFL Certificate

This introductory or “taster” course is designed for those who want to understand the basics of teaching English. This is an ideal, open-to-all course that prepares students before they take up a costly and lengthier program or a CELTA course. There are various universities that offer this introductory course. University of St. Andrews and University of Limerick are some of the prominent ones that offer this course. You may even do some online research to obtain an in-depth overview of this course and find universities that award it.

A word of advice-be sure not to spend too much time or money on these intro courses as they often won't really qualify you for much. A weekend course that costs a couple hundred dollars? Sure, it's probably a good investment. But if you're going to spend a couple of weeks and a thousand dollars on a course? You'd probably be much better off going for some like the CertTESOL or Celta course that are more widely recognized and valuable.

39 ESL Warm-Ups for Teenagers and Adults

A TEFL Foundation Course

The foundation course is designed to give an idea to the aspiring TEFL teachers about TEFL certification. It helps trainees acquire the required knowledge and hands-on expertise for teaching English to students of every age group, apart from emphasizing the importance of teaching English. The course duration may vary from 20 to 60 hours, which is less than 1/2 of the 120 hour CELTA course. After successful completion of the course, globally recognized certificates are awarded to the trainees.

Be sure to do your course with a reputable university or organization in order for it to accepted by employers around the world.

Online TEFL Certifications

Online TEFL certification courses are gaining popularity these days, thanks to the fast paced lives of students that leave them with no time to attend classroom courses. These online courses give the students much needed flexibility to access the course modules depending on their own schedule and complete the assigned homework, albeit within the stipulated time set by the institution. After successful completion of the course, the students receive certificates, which are accepted all over the world. They may even get placement assistance with some companies who act as recruiters as well.

If you're looking to pad your resume with a cheap course, consider this one from the International TEFL and TESOL Training Academy. They're one of the more reputable ones out there and you can complete the course really quickly.

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Some final thoughts on TEFL Certification Programs

Before you enroll into a course, you’ll have to be sure about certain things like the recognizing body of the course, comprehensive course content including grammar etc. While you’re in the middle of a TEFL certification course, try to do extensive research and connect with as many people as you can to obtain a realistic idea of the scope that the course might provide you with, in a country of your choice in terms of jobs and salaries.

Finally, make sure to build good relationships with your instructors. They likely have a thorough knowledge of the TEFL industry and will be able to give you some excellent advice to help you get started with your career teaching English abroad. Also be sure to add your classmates on Facebook. TEFL is a small world and it's not uncommon for friends to help each other out by recommending jobs that never get advertised publicly.

Good luck on your TEFL journey and leave a comment with any questions that you might have. I'll do my best to help you out.


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