If you've been following this blog series, you should have now chosen your TEFL course provider. Once you have a provider you like, choosing the right length of TEFL course becomes the next mountain to climb. So, here goes!
Choosing the right course for you will depend on many factors, including previous experience, where you want to teach and how much time and money you have. There are also no hard and fast rules as to which course you must take, there are a lot of options out there.
Initial TEFL qualifications
These can range from a practical 20-hour weekend course to 100-hours of online TEFL training.
Two or three-day TEFL courses
In the UK, more first-time EFL teachers take a weekend course than any other TEFL certificate. The course should give you everything you need to get started, it follows a similar curriculum to the longer 4-week courses mentioned below, but obviously not to the same depth. It should include mini-teaching practices. The courses are run over two days at weekends or over three days during the week.
Why take this course?
If you are looking to just get started in TEFL or are thinking of travelling and picking up work or already have teaching experience then this course might suit you. The qualification will allow you to find work in many schools worldwide (though not all) and if you haven't taught before it is a small investment to find out if teaching English abroad is something you actually want to do. If you are a trained primary/secondary school teacher, your experience is going to be the most important attribute and you just need an alternative methodology to your CV.
Correspondence courses in TEFL were around long before the internet, but now online TEFL courses are a lot more interactive. With opportunities to interact with other students online, use video observation and get more immediate support from your tutors, the quality of online training has improved significantly over recent years. However, some schools will still not accept a purely online qualification, so many providers offer the chance to combine online with practical training.
Why take this course?
For many it is a matter of convenience and a low cost and low commitment way to find out if teaching English is for them. Others will use online training to further develop what they have learnt on a practical classroom course. Some take the online course to get their first job abroad. For places such as China, South Korea and other parts of Asia an online TEFL certificate is all that is required.
Career development courses
The longer courses can be taken in the classroom or via correspondence. While some may take these courses as their first training in TEFL, they are quite demanding in terms of time, money and brain power. It might be better to do a shorter course first and embark on these longer courses when you are sure it is what you want to do.
These courses are run by Cambridge (CELTA), Trinity College (TESOL) and numerous self-accrediting organisations. CELTA and Trinity are the main ones and if you are going to invest in a 4-week course, I would make sure it is one of these.
The 4 week-course involves a more in-depth study of what you would find on a shorter course. There will be assignments as well as 6 hours of teaching practice and many more of observing other teachers. Since the courses are more rigorous and demanding, the pass rate is a lot lower than that of shorter courses.
Why take this course?
Some will take the 4-week course as a first qualification to make themselves more competitive in the job market. However, many take the CELTA/Trinity course as a way to hone their skills of ELT teaching, as well as building their CVs and experience. Many schools in the UK ask for CELTA/Trinity qualifications as a minimum.
This course is for those wanting to take a further step up the EFL career ladder, and many of the top schools are looking for Diploma qualified experienced teachers to take up management positions.
The course is geared towards research and written work. The aim is to improve practical teaching skills and you would need to have substantial teaching experience before embarking on a course like this. The quickest you can do the course is 8 weeks. It can also be taken partly by distance learning, but this will take up to a year. The Cambridge DELTA course and the Trinity DipTESOL course are the most popular.
Why take this course?
If you have a good number of years in teaching English and are looking to get jobs in the top schools, either as a Director of Studies or teacher trainer, then you will need this. However, it will take some serious investment in both time and money.
MA in TEFL
A Masters in TEFL /ESOL is often more for the academically-minded EFL teacher. There are many debates as to what is more worthwhile, the MA or the DELTA. On the whole the DELTA is more practical, since many MAs do not include a teaching practice element. The MA is more focussed on theory.
What you choose to study will probably be determined by where you see your career going. There is a wide variety of choice out there but courses can be expensive and time consuming, so make sure you've fully researched what will be expected of you before committing to a course which might end up being too advanced for your needs. After all, if you start with one of the shorter courses and then realise you want to make your profession in TEFL, there's nothing to stop you going on to do more studying later.
Our TEFL Experts have over three decades of experience in the world of teaching English as a foreign language and have helped thousands of students get the skills and certificate they needed to start a great new career.
Here are the answers to many of the questions we are often asked about TEFL. From how you qualify to eligibility, finding work and everything else in between!
If for some reason your question and answer isn’t listed, please get in touch with us and our TEFL Experts will be happy to help.
What is TEFL?
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is teaching English to people who do not speak English as their first language. This is largely done abroad; however, increasingly many people are teaching English here in the UK. You will also find other acronyms like TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), which are both very closely related to TEFL.
Am I too old/too young to do a TEFL course?
Age doesn’t matter, honest! People of all ages come along to do our courses.
Can I add on further TEFL courses later?
Of course, you can. But, we like to encourage you to enrol on the higher level courses, which is cheaper than adding on courses later on. It’s up to you.
Can I book my TEFL course with a £50 deposit?
Yes. If your course is more than two weeks away you can pay a £50 deposit to secure your place on the course. The remaining balance will automatically be charged to your card two weeks before the course start date. If your course starts within the next two weeks you will need to pay the full amount at the time of booking. If you don’t want your balance payment to be taken automatically, give us a call and we can arrange a way more convenient to you.
Can I take the course if I have a disability?
Of course. If you require any special arrangements to take either the classroom or online course, please get in touch and we will be happy to help you.
Can TEFL Org UK set me up with a job following the course?
We are continually setting up arrangements with schools overseas, so keep an eye on the TEFL Jobs Centre to see what jobs are available. Once you enrol on a TEFL Org UK course, you will be able to call us any time to discuss your TEFL job options, just make the call. You’ll also have full access to the TEFL Jobs Centre, so you can apply for your dream TEFL job!
Do I need to purchase any textbooks for the course?
You don’t, but we recommend a grammar reference book since this is the most essential resource any teacher can have. There are a number on the market. Ones we have used when we were starting are Practical English Usage by Michael Swan or A – Z of Grammar by Geoffrey Leach. Just bring a notepad and a pen to the course.
Do I need to know grammar?
You don’t need any prior knowledge. You’ll get an introduction to grammar on the course, plus you can take our grammar course to really build your confidence in English grammar.
Do I need to know the local language?
Absolutely not! Even if you do speak the local language, DON’T use it in the classroom. The whole point of having native English-speaking English teachers is that you provide a feeling of total immersion in the classroom and the students are forced to communicate in English. Of course, learning the language helps in your life outside the classroom.
Does the certificate expire?
No, it doesn’t. But, realistically, employers might be less attracted to you if it has been more than a couple of years since you took your course and have done no teaching in that period. You may want to take a shorter weekend course to refresh your memory if you haven’t used your TEFL certificate for a long time.
How do I apply?
You can apply online through our secure payment system or over phone or even by post. You can use credit / debit cards, PayPal or cheques. To make it even easier, we will also accept a £50 deposit to reserve your place.
How long do the courses take?
The weekend course is done over one weekend! The online courses will depend on how much time you set aside for completing it. Two or three months should be more than enough to cover the online course and the grammar course, although some have completed them in 6-10 weeks.
How many people are in each course?
For the weekday and weekend courses there is minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 people per classroom.
I have a qualification with another provider - can I still apply for a job with you?
The positions we offer are only available for TEFL Org UK graduates. However, have a look on TEFL.com or ESLcafe if you’re looking for jobs without a TEFL Org UK certificate.
Is there international TEFL accreditation?
There is no one single awarding body for TEFL. Most course providers provide their own accreditation or seek accreditation from accrediting bodies that are not TEFL-specific.
On average, how long does it take to complete the online course?
Usually between 6 – 10 weeks.
What is the difference between TEFL Org UK courses and other courses?
TEFL Org UK courses have been written by some of the most experienced teacher trainers in TEFL. Having over 25 years of experience between us, we have designed the courses to give first-time TEFL teachers everything they need to become the best they can be.
What is the difference between the online and weekend course?
What you learn on both of the courses is pretty much the same. The weekend course is practical and fast-paced whereas the online course is more theoretical and you can progress through the course in your time, plus you have one-to-one tuition. Many TEFL students take both courses so they can see the theory of the online course put into practice on the weekend course.
What qualifications do I need to apply for a course?
We believe that if you can speak English then you have the potential to teach it. Therefore, we only ask that you are a native-level speaker of English and that you have the enthusiasm to learn something new. No other qualifications or experience is necessary.
What support will I get on the course?
All our courses are tutor-guided so you will receive the support you need. You can access the TEFL Org UK forums and community and discuss aspects of the course with others in the same position as you. You will also have access to our help desk should you have any queries about your course, and you can call us at any time.
When will I receive my certificate?
After completing your course, your certificate will be sent for printing. You should expect to receive your hardcopy certificate within five working days after passing the course. A digital version of your TEFL certificate will also be available to download from your student account.
If in the rare case that you don’t receive your certificate within 28 days then please contact our admin team at email@example.com
Where are TEFL Org UK courses held?
TEFL Org UK courses are held throughout the UK, if you think we should be holding a course somewhere we are not, then please let us know.
Which course should I take?
There are a number of different courses, but a simple rule is that the more you learn, the more prepared and more confident you are. Also, your CV will look more competitive if you have a 130-hour course rather than a 20-hour course. However, some already have the confidence and just need the basic weekend or online course (perhaps with the grammar course too). It really depends on you. All our courses will find you paid teaching work overseas. If you have any doubts, then give us a call.
Will a TEFL Org UK certificate get me a job?
Yes it will, and much faster if you are open-minded and willing to travel. TEFL Org UK graduates are teaching all over the world. See where they are teaching by visiting the TEFL Org UK community.
Will I be able to apply for jobs straight after the course?
You can apply for work as soon as you make the decision to go abroad and do it; just log on to the TEFL Job Centre after enrolling on a course and you can begin your search.