TEFL Certificates: Where to Begin?

Although not always required, obtaining some type of teaching English as a foreign language certificate, be it through an online course or attending a series of in-person classes is the first step you can take to kickstart your career teaching English overseas.

Premier TEFL

In addition to increasing your chances of securing a job, completing a TEFL course will also give you other benefits:

A taste of what the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of an English teacher are.  Moving abroad to teach English is a significant life change, so it’s important to make sure the job is something you’ll enjoy doing.

  • Skills to add to your CV. Highlight the new skills and knowledge you learned during your TEFL course on your CV.  If you completed a course with practical elements, such as teaching a class or observing a lesson, add that too!
  • Confidence. Starting any new job is scary, so the more knowledge and experience you have before starting, the less anxious you’ll be on your first day.
  • Position to bargain for more money. Salary negotiations are not uncommon when discussing contracts for a TEFL position. Leverage your new qualification and ask for more money when possible.
  • Get ahead of the competition. Not everyone is going to have a TEFL certificate or equivalent, so having it one shows your dedication to the field and makes you more desirable that other candidates applying for the same position.

A good TEFL course will teach you the fundamentals about teaching English abroad, from classroom management to lesson planning, from teaching grammar properly or techniques you can use to increase the amount of spoken English in the classroom, your TEFL course will prepare you, in some capacity for the job ahead.

Types of TEFL Certificates

The are a many different TEFL courses and qualifications all with different price points and learning outcomes, so it’s important to choose the course best suited for your needs.

TEFL Certificate (in-class and online)

There are countless ways to obtain your accredited TEFL certificate and an ever growing number of companies to choose from. Unfortunately, the industry has made the whole system overly confusing and it’s difficult to know where to start. Some companies offer certificates up to level 8 (whatever a level 8 is supposed to be), others by the hours completed (but how are you supposed to know how many hours is enough?).

A TEFL level 3 or a 120-hour course is the best entry point in my opinion. It covers the basics of what you’ll need and is more than acceptable by most overseas employers. It’s also one of the more affordable options.  

Even though the content of the longer courses is useful in some capacity, the majority of these courses have been created to make money and don’t account for much in the real world.

If you find the level 3 or 120-hour not enough, you enjoyed it so much that you want to learn more, and of course, you can afford it, you can always upgrade and do a more advanced certificate later. 

I’ve taught English around the world, and a basic 120-hour TEFL always served me well in many different countries and when applying for teaching jobs online.

It’s possible to complete your TEFL course online or in-person. Each of the options have their own pros and cons.  

The main benefit of doing your TEFL course in-person is getting some hands on experience and meeting like-minded invidiuals with the same goal.

The main benefit of doing an online course is the flexibility. You can complete the learning modules and assignments in your own time, anywhere you want.

When I completed my TEFL back in 2013, I was working full-time, so chose an online TEFL program that I could complete in the evenings and on weekends.

TEFL Abroad

The most exciting way to kickstart your life as a TEFL teacher is to go abroad to complete your TEFL in a new, exciting location!

From tropical islands in Thailand to historic cities like Prague, there is no shortage of companies that offer accredited TEFL courses abroad.  The price tag on these courses tend to be higher than your typical TEFL certificate, but many offer guaranteed job placements at the end of the course.


TESOL or teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is a term more frequently used in North America, as, for example, a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language in the United States is normally be referred to as TESOL.

In real terms, there is little difference between a TEFL and a TESOL certficate, but if you’re looking for a position in your home country, holding a TESOL may position you at an advantage.

Celta & Delta

A CELTA, or Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, and Delta, or Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults are the gold standard in the TEFL world.

These courses are globally recognized and respected, awarded by the University of Cambridge and will make your CV stand out from the competition.

As the courses are designed to prepare participants to teach English to adults, the focus is grammar, planning, teaching professionalism and a deeper knowledge of the English language.  

However, if you have no desire to teach adults, then the CELTA/ DELTA is not suitable, and you’ll be paying too much compared to what you receive. In fact, the vast majority of English teachers around the world do not hold a CELTA or DELTA and secure teaching jobs just fine.

I highly recommend using Premier TEFL to get TEFL certified –

Premier TEFL


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.