A Step by Step Guide on How to Get a TEFL Certification


Overview of TEFL Certification

As the world becomes more connected, the need to have a common language for communication becomes important. Since English is spoken in several advanced economies, it has become the common medium that everyone needs to communicate in. Besides, several Multinational Corporations demand common everyday communication to happen in English. Several professional standards at workplaces require that all forms of communication including clients be in English

Apart from that, several economies realize the importance of English in communication in states where there are many languages spoken. For that reason, English-medium schools are fast gaining popularity. This means that there is a need for qualified English teachers.

While most schools hire local teachers who qualify their criteria, private coaching institutes, several schools, and other accredited training institutes require that their English teachers be certified. This is the same in the case of institutions that abide by international standards as well.

Every training institute that offers courses for international qualifying exams like TOEFL and IELTS needs teachers who are TEFL certified. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. In some countries, TEFL could also be called Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

There are no notable differences between TEFL and TESOL. However, in common parlance, TESOL is used to teachers who provide English education to non-English speakers in English-speaking countries. TEFL could involve teaching English abroad, particularly in non-English speaking countries.

Is This Course Right for You?

If you want to pursue TEFL certification, you need to be ready to teach English abroad. TEFL requires considerable time and financial resources invested to achieve the certification. The only option after this is teaching. Most people go about the world, teaching the language to different people in different countries for a period of time. The other alternative is to teach English online. Most online tutors need to teach the same course and the same syllabus to numerous students over and over.

So, you should not only have an affinity towards the English language, but patience to continue in the teaching profession. Because you’d be dealing with Non-English speakers, you’ll need patience for them to understand the various syntaxes of the English language. You should have the patience to teach the same subjects and syllabus to a lot of people.

Basically, in deciding whether this course is for you or not, you have to decide if you’re in or not. If you’re in, you should be in with both feet planted in the same boat. You can’t consider this as a side gig because of the amount of investment you put into achieving this certification.

What are the Eligibility Criteria and the Certification Process for TEFL Certification?

TEFL-certified tutors need not have any prior experience or degrees in teaching. As such, there are no eligibility criteria to become a TEFL-certified tutor. The pay rates per hour or per session will obviously vary depending on the amount of relevant experience you have after your TEFL certification. But, to get TEFL certification, you don’t have eligibility criteria.

The process of certification for this course is simple, as well. You need at least 100 hours of learning or coursework. You also need anywhere between 6 and 20 hours of practicum.

This means you should have at least 6 to 20 hours of live teaching work. Practicum may also include observation of non-native English speakers. However, role-playing with native English speakers or fellow TEFL classmates is not allowed under practicum. For the purposes of this certification, any individual preparing for TEFL certification counts as a classmate and is disqualified from participating in the practicum.

You also need to get your certification from an internally accredited training institution. While this is not compulsory, most private institutions require the training from an accredited institution to consider the candidate for teaching at their institution.

Most training providers give the certification free of cost to their students. Some go the extra mile and offer all prospective employers access to a portal where they can type in the student’s unique identification code to verify the candidate’s credentials.

What is TEFL Certification Cost?

The cost of TEFL certification depends on a lot of factors such as

  • The number of hours of training
  • The mode of teaching
  • The extent of involvement of the tutor
  • The depth of each mode of training

To qualify for TEFL-certified jobs, you need to get at least 100 hours of training. Anything less than that would qualify as an introductory or basic level and might not be enough for jobs. If you want university-level online training, you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $1500. 

This fee would again depend on the number of factors such as

  • The number of hours that you’ve chosen the training for
  • Some courses do not involve a tutor. You take self-assessing exams to check your grade and attempt the exam. These courses are towards the lower end of the spectrum.
  • Other courses have a tutor involved. This tutor would advise you on your performance, give you assignments, grade your quizzes, and help you study. For this mode of teaching, the fee might be higher. The fee here would also depend on the extent of personalization the tutor offers for you. So, if a tutor focuses only on you, you’d have to pay higher than if the tutor focuses on an entire class of students that involves you.
  • Finally, there are highly interactive, instructor-led courses that are useful for more career-minded teachers. Usually, these courses are useful for teachers who are looking to earn credits for a master’s degree in TESOL as well. These courses might not have substantially higher hours but are university-level, and hence, require more dedication. These courses could range anywhere between $1000 to $2500.

As might be clear by now, instructor-led courses are more expensive than the courses offered by fly-by-night online courses with no verification or accreditation. In-person teaching ranges between $1500 and $2500. This is useful for students who want to complete their practicum or onsite for better standing. Most high-paying countries require the highest of certifications. In that case, in-person training would be more helpful.

Usually, certificates are provided as part of the course. However, some trainers might charge a fee of $50 to $75 for providing hardcopy of the certificate.

What are the Salary and Job Opportunities for This Certification?

TEFL certifications do not expire. However, completing continuing education and updating skills is useful for receiving higher pay. The salary depends on the experience you have with the certification. It also depends on the kind of certification you have, and what you have done as part of that certification. The salary will depend on the certification requirements, the expectations, and the kind of schools you’d be teaching in. 

Salary alone is meaningless if you don’t consider the cost of living. Some countries, like the Arab countries and Japan, offer free boarding as well. The salary for ESL teachers can vary between $600 and $4000. Once again, these figures are not absolute and can vary depending on the country you’re in.

Where to Get Online Resources for This Certification?

Several websites like TEFL Course, Udemy, TEFL Online, Online Teachers’ Training, International TEFL academy offer the required course. You can choose what form of training you want – online or in-person, as needed.