How to Get a TEFL Certificate

Teaching Abroad Direct

If you have a love of the English language and want to use your skills to make a difference to the lives of others, you may want to consider teaching English as a foreign language. English is a global language, and one of the most commonly spoken around the world in terms of business and trade. 

Because of globalisation, the demand for English teachers around the globe is very high. In order to teach English to students abroad, you'll need a TEFL certificate, which will give you the qualifications you need to teach prospective students with confidence, and plan lessons.

Teaching Abroad Direct offers TEFL online certificates that you can work towards at your own pace. Our UK Government Ofqual-certified courses are an ideal way to get qualified with the experience and skills you need to go straight into a foreign classroom and begin teaching English, in any country you choose. We also offer a Level-5 TEFL certificate that is internationally recognised and regulated by Ofqual. The course delivers training in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

We've put together this guide so you can discover more about how a TEFL certificate works, and what you can do with one when you’ve achieved it.

What is a TEFL certificate?

A TEFL certificate is a formal certification that qualifies you to teach English to foreign students in a country of your choice. TEFL stands for 'Teaching English as a Foreign Language'. It can open doors to many short and long-term teaching positions across the world, and prepare you to teach students in a classroom. 

For a TEFL course of over 100 hours, there will typically be at least six hours of assessed teaching practice, so that you have the confidence and skills needed to stand up in front of a full class of students, and plan lessons that are inspiring and productive with the materials and resources you have to hand, which can vary depending on the country you are based in. You can also take fast-track four-week courses with similar course content.

What can you do with a TEFL certification?

Once you have your TEFL certificate, you can build on it as you gain relevant experience through teaching English around the world. The first few months of your first teaching job will be spent learning the ropes and planning lessons, getting to know your students and familiarising yourself with a new culture. Once you are more comfortable, planning and producing lessons should come more easily in time.

Any course that is aimed to train and prepare you for teaching English as a foreign language can be referred to as a TEFL certificate course. It will help you secure a teaching job in your country of choice. That said, criteria for teacher selection will vary by country, and some employers may insist on a certain amount of teaching experience alongside your TEFL certificate. 

On the other hand, some may just need your TEFL certificate and your status as a native English language speaker. You’ll also need to check the relevant visa requirements for the country you’re applying to work in. Other factors considered in the selection process may include presentation, personality and academic qualifications.

Getting your TEFL certificate

Having a TEFL certificate can give you the opportunity of getting a better-paying teaching position. It's a qualification that many employers look for and it can mean that more opportunities are presented to you. With a high demand for teachers, employment positions can be very competitive, with high numbers of applicants.

 A TEFL certificate will ensure that you have the relevant training and skills needed to teach English abroad. To get your TEFL certificate, follow the three key steps below:

1. Find the right course for you

Do your research and shop around to find the right course for your budget and your career aims. Take time to read reviews from former students, and research course content and career prospects. 

If you have any questions or concerns, follow these up with the course provider. Their answers may give an indication of how they may interact with you (and how helpful they may be) when you are one of their students.

2. Start applying for courses

You've done the homework. Now it's time to start the application process by going to the websites of the courses you have chosen, and applying. The application process for a TEFL certificate is often more complex than just filling in a form. You'll likely have to go to an interview, and put together a presentation that indicates your career goals, while highlighting previous experience.

You'll need to prepare beforehand. Keep in mind that how well-prepared you are will give the course provider an indication of how well organised you will be as a teacher.

3. Work through the TEFL course

As you progress through your TEFL certificate course, the coursework assigned to you will aim to effectively prepare you for teaching abroad. Your future students will be relying on you to deliver course content in an engaging and memorable way. 

You'll need to commit to your course in the same way that you'll need to commit to your students. Get your priorities in check and work hard to get the most you can from your qualification – it will hold you in good stead in the future.

Getting a TEFL certificate online

With Teaching Abroad Direct, you can get your TEFL certificate and launch your international teaching career. You can teach anywhere you like once qualified, but countries where TEFL teachers are frequently required include:

Our TEFL courses will not only equip you with the resources, skills and knowledge you need to lead a class, but will also offer insight into what employers are looking for once you have qualified. Our courses like the Level 5 TEFL are flexible, meaning that you can fit work and other commitments in around your studies

How long does a TEFL certificate last?

Once you've earned your TEFL certificate, it doesn't expire and there is no need for additional training. You can start work immediately after receiving your qualification, and you have the flexibility to use it in any country of your choice. This means that if you decide to embark on another career path and then come back to teaching English abroad later in life, you can do so with flexibility.

How long does it take to get a TEFL certification?

There isn't a specific amount of time it takes to get a TEFL certification. Depending on the type of course you take, you can get qualified in as little as four weeks. That said, most students usually take around six months to complete their course. 

This is because there is at least 100 hours of coursework to complete, and 6-10 hours of live teaching practice that most courses will expect you to complete. All this work needs serious preparation and commitment, and shouldn't be rushed to ensure you get the best possible result from your qualification.

Before taking your TEFL certificate course, always carry out thorough research and speak to people with experience in the field, so you can get a realistic idea of what to expect from a career as a TEFL.

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