Having a TEFL degree can lead to an extremely rewarding career path. There are several different options when choosing what kind of TEFL degree or certification you want. The key difference between the degree and certification programs is whether they prepare you for a position in other English speaking countries or overseas.
Keep in mind that TEFL courses prepare you for teaching positions overseas. This is why it can be quite different from teaching at home, as there is no evaluation, certification, accreditation body for these programs. However there are programs offered through independent organizations.
Although having a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL degree may not be required by all countries, not having a Bachelor’s can narrow your choice of countries down quite a bit. Some countries such as Spain require at least a Bachelor’s degree in order for you to obtain a visa.
If your desire is to teach in an English speaking country such as the United States, Australia, or Great Britain, you should be aware that these countries usually require more qualifications for their teachers. English speaking countries will probably require a Master’s degree in TEFL or a certificate from a college/university. The type of TEFL course you take from these universities can be transferred toward your Master’s course soon after.
It is also preferable to have a Master’s degree in TEFL because it gets into the theoretical aspects of teaching English as a foreign language. Although it is possible to obtain a teaching position without a Master’s, most employers find it more favorable if you are at least working towards that goal. There are training courses offered by Universities and colleges alike that offer TEFL certificates, and employers seem to prefer these types of certificates over others.
TEFL degrees can also be obtained online through independent organizations. The main difference between TEFL courses at universities and online is that there is a limited amount of teaching practice obtained online. This could be combated simply by volunteering to teach at an immigrant community center or something similar. TEFL training programs offer various hours of training, ranging anywhere from 40 to 120 hours. Most employers require at least 100 hours of training, and preferably a small amount of experience.