Congratulations! You’ve just made the decision to move abroad and teach English, and now youre wondering what your fist step should be. Apply for a passport? Update your resume? Buy a plane ticket?
Nope. First things first, you need to get your TEFL certification.
TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and it is damn near impossible to get a ESL job without one of these certificates from an accredited program. (And you probably don’t want to work for a place that would hire you without one…) It basically is a fancy piece of paper that proves you are adequately trained in how to run an ESL classroom. A good program should teach you the basics of lesson planning, the essentials of English grammar, and classroom management techniques.
You have three main options when it comes to the style of program you choose: online, in person, and in a foreign country. Online and in person courses are exactly what they sound like, you either take the class online (and submit assignments electronically) or you attend classes in a brick-and-mortar setting.
The third option could be right up your alley if you’re a “dive right in” kind of person. Basically, you take the in-person class, but you can do it in a foreign country. One program I know of is the International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) that has classes offered all over the world, including Thailand, India, Egypt, Italy, France, England, and several others. I don’t actually know anyone who has done this sort of program, but it sounds like an amazing opportunity. The idea is that you take the class in one of these countries, and then the program would help you find a job.
I personally got my TEFL through an online program, TEFLonline. This was mainly due to the fact that the in-person classes available near my hometown didn’t work with work schedule at the time. It’s offered through BridgeTEFL, which is accredited through several different palces. Some countries will care a lot about where you get your TEFL through, others will care less, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you get your certificate through a reputable program. Google is your friend, use it to search out reviews and make sure you’re picking a good program.
The type of program you pick will really just depend on your preferences, your location, and your budget. To a degree, the country you want to teach in may be a factor as some countries prefer one type of certificate over another. You can check out this handy chart to see what each country wants, what kind of work you would be looking at, and what each country typically offers as part of a contract. For example, my position here in Korea accepted my online certificate, paid for my flight, and gives me a housing stipend as part of my salary. But if you really want to go to a country that offers none of those things, still go do it! It’s your adventure, enjoy it!
The only other thing to consider when picking your TEFL program is the number of hours. Every TEFL institute will offer a variety of classes, and the higher the hours, the more that should come included in your certificate. Some offer extra classroom practice or grammar certificates as part of the extra hours. You just have to do your research and pick the one that best suits your needs, your learning style, and your wallet. Because more learning hours pretty much always means higher costs.
But don’t fret! TEFL programs have sales and specials all the time, so if the program you like best is a little too pricey right now, just give it some time. There will probably be a sale or discount before you know it.
Picking the program you like is the hard part. It can take a few hours to really do your research and pick the best one for you. But once that’s done you just sign up and get started. Before you know it, you’ll have your TEFL certificate in hand and be one step closer to being an ESL teacher in a new country!
So there you have it, my tips and information on how to pick the right TEFL course for you. I’m excited for you to be taking this step! Do you know what kind of class you’re going to pick? Have you decided what country you want to go to? Let me know in the comments below.