Do I need TEFL?

An ELT qualification is your passport to teach English anywhere in the world, and this is why you need TEFL.

If you want to teach English abroad and earn any kind of living from it, you will need an English Language Teaching (ELT) qualification – otherwise known as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This will certify that you have trained to be a teacher and understand at least the basics of lesson preparation, class management, language work and activities. These skills will also give you the confidence to stand in front of a group of expectant English learners and deliver a lesson that’s rewarding for both you and them.

As for the level of training you need, that depends on where you want to work. Language schools in popular countries where competition is high – such as the UK, Spain and Italy – will normally require teachers to hold either the Cambridge CELTA or the Trinity CertTESOL, which are the two most prestigious and internationally recognised teaching qualifications. Both of these provide a minimum 120-hour course with valuable teaching practice. If you intend to make a proper living from teaching, this is what you should aim for.

In other countries where demand for jobs is low, in more remote areas or if you only wish to teach on an informal or voluntary basis, you might consider an equivalent or an online TEFL course. These courses are often cheaper and shorter, but they do still prepare you to teach English and may be entirely sufficient for your teaching goals. Note that online courses do not include teaching practice, so these are better if you already have teaching experience.

In summary, you do need to take an ELT course if you want to teach English at home or abroad, but do some research and try to establish what your overall aims are – how long you want to teach for, where you want to teach, how much money you wish or need to earn – and that will help you decide what kind of course you need. Otherwise, the best bet is to take a CELTA or CertTESOL from the outset as this is the highest qualification you can obtain and will enable you to find work anywhere you choose.

Visit Cactus TEFL or call us on 0845 130 4775 to discuss the options available to you and get yourself off on the right footing. 

Cactus TEFL is an admissions and advice service for quality teacher training courses worldwide. We work with the majority of well-known course providers to offer CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL, equivalent and online courses in over 90 locations across 36 countries. You will receive free, impartial advice every step of the way, and you can trust us to help you choose the right English language teaching course for you.

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