There are several different types of ESL programs, when wanting to get an ESL teaching certificate you must decide what kind of ESL teacher you want to be. Some ESL teachers are based in the USA, teaching English to immigrant children, college students, or adults; however, other ESL teachers live in a foreign country and help foreigners learn English. The requirements vary greatly based on the type of teaching you’d like to do, so you should make this decision before you begin the certification process.

Before we discuss ESL certifications let me talk about certifications in general. Typically to teach any subject in English speaking countries you need two things:

  • bachelor’s degree or higher
  • pass your state’s certification exam

After you meet these two requirements, it’s up to you to choose which field of specialization you would like to teach in, such as; ESL, ESOL or EFL. If you choose an ESL based career you should consider obtaining either:

  • TEFL- Teaching English as a foreign language refers to teaching English to students whose first language is not English. TEFL usually occurs in the student’s own country, either within the state school system, or privately, e.g., in an after-hours language school or with a tutor. TEFL teachers may be native or non-native speakers of English.
  • TESOL-Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, used in English as a Foreign or Second Language (EFL/ESL). This term is used to identify the educational training of teachers who wish to teach English to non-native speakers. There is a wide range of training programs around the world – ranging from short term certificates to doctoral programs.
  • IDELT – International Diploma in English Language Teaching is offered worldwide ONLY at BridgeTEFL Authorized Training Centers, which have been evaluated and recognized as meeting our rigorous standards and quality assurances. All IDELT graduates at any of our Authorized Training Centers worldwide will be issued an official certificate from BridgeTEFL headquarters upon course completion.
  • CELTA- Certificate in Teaching English Of Other Languages is an initial qualification for people with little or no previous teaching experience and is one of the most widely taken qualifications of its kind. Over 10,000 people each year choose CELTA to open up a whole world of exciting English language teaching opportunities.
  • TESL- Teaching English as a Second Language – a term that refers to teacher training programs in ESL.

Please keep in mind that you depending on whether you want to teach abroad or in an English speaking country, you may not have to have a Bachelors degree in order to teach. Often times, the only requirement when traveling abroad is that you have one of the ESL teaching certificates mentioned above and that you are a native speaker. Once you’ve chosen the best program for you the process is quite simple. Sign up, complete your course and finally have an ESL teaching certificate.


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TESOL means “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, which is essentially the same thing …