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What is TEFL?

TEFL is the acronym for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language”, which usually refers to courses that prepare teachers. There are several TEFL programs to choose from and not all institutions are accredited, which is why it is important to do research before picking a program. When choosing a TEFL program you may want to consider:

  • Your schedule
  • Online or in-class environment
  • Whether or not its accredited
  • How long the institution has been in business
  • Do they have practice teaching hours
  • Video or live observations
  • Number of written assignments
  • Amount of homework required

Online TEFL
Taking the TEFL online is a great and convenient alternative for those with busy schedules. Online programs tend to be more cost effective, and can be done in the convenience of your own home or where ever you are. The one thing that should be considered when enrolling in a program online is the lack of hands-on experience that you would receive in the real world. However, if your schedule permits, you can volunteer at local immigrant community centers to try to gain some type of hands-on experience.

What type of TEFL degree should I consider?

Depending on what type of career path you’re headed down can play a role in what type of TEFL degree you would like to obtain. For example, you should take a shorter (20-60 hours) if you:

  • Are not sure yet if you want to commit to TEFL teaching permanently
  • want to travel abroad for about a year
  • want to get value for your money in a short time
  • just need to see if teaching is suitable for you

You may want to consider taking longer more strenuous courses (4-5 weeks) if you:

  • want to find a long-term or permanent job abroad
  • are sure that TEFL teaching is the career that you want to pursue
  • have time to commit as well as financial ability

Keep in mind that when traveling abroad, most schools require at least 100 hour TEFL certificates. If your desire is to teach at an English speaking school then a bachelor’s degree in conjunction with the TEFL certification may be required.


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