Get Qualified to Teach English Abroad

How to Become an English Teacher Abroad

intro | get qualified | where to go | finding jobs | short-term work | FAQs

How to get qualified in TEFL (TESOL)

While it is occasionally possible to find work without any English language teaching qualifications, it’s not a good idea to dive straight into the classroom without any form of training. There are lots of possible qualifications and they are not all the same so it’s important you chose wisely. Once qualified many more doors will open up to you and you will quickly pay for your training.

In your initial research into the whole TEFL industry you will probably come across numerous different websites and language schools telling you why you should do their course. It is very important to note that not all TEFL qualifications are the same and in fact some are hardly worth the paper they are written on. 

Online TEFL Qualifications

Some people aren’t convinced in the value of online qualifications as they don’t include any actual teaching practice but there are some advantages to doing them:

1) They are much cheaper than other TEFL Courses and are a good option for people who have no long-term plans to teach English other than to do a bit on their travels.

2) If you aren’t sure if TEFL is for you then an online course gives you a good idea of what is involved in teaching English as a foreign language.

3) If you decide to go onto to do a full TEFL qualification then you will come in with a large amount of knowledge which will help you out no end in what will be a very intensive period.

4) You can do it in your own time and fit it around your life whereas in-centre courses usually require you to commit all your energy towards it for the duration of the course.

5) Although employers often demand full TEFL qualifications, online qualifications may help you find work and certainly won’t do any harm.

On the negative side if you’re looking into becoming an English teacher as a career, even if it is just for a few years, you won’t get very far with an online qualification. Getting fully qualified will give you access to a greatly increased number of better paying jobs and enable you to be much better prepared for the classroom.

Get a Full TEFL Qualification

A full TEFL qualification typically consists of a four week full-time course that includes six hours of teaching practice. There are loads of different schools and organisations around the world that offer what on the face of it are very similar courses. In reality although they are similar, the final certificate you get at the end isn’t equal.

The two qualifications that really stand out from the rest are:


tefl qualification

Some courses are billed as CELTA equivalents and are probably just as good at preparing you for the classroom but aren’t as respected by future employers. It is better to do either the CELTA or the Trinity course.

They are very similar and typically involve an intense four week course with six hours of actual teaching practice. The Trinity involves teaching children for at least one class, whereas the slightly more common CELTA doesn’t but in essence they are treated equally by prospective employers. You can do the course in hundreds of locations around the world. It can be a good idea to do it in the place you would like to work once you’re qualified as you may be provided with assistance in finding a job but be suspicious of any course that guarantees you work immediately after you qualify.

There are hundreds of different schools that offer these courses:

Find somewhere to do the CELTA course

Find somewhere to do the Trinity Cert TESOL

There aren’t usually any necessary prerequisites that you need to get on a TEFL course. You don’t need a degree or any work experience but may be asked to take an English test if you are not a native English speaker.

CELTA or Trinity courses normally cost in the region of £800-1000 or roughly $1500. The price varies around the world but the course is basically the same worldwide and you will receive the same final certificate. Once qualified you have an excellent chance of finding work in many countries.

Hopefully now you have some idea of what it takes to get qualified to teach English abroad. However that’s only the start of the road. The fun part is choosing where to go and we cover that in the next section.



This article was published in September 2014.