The 2020 guide to choosing the right TEFL Certificate for you

  • What is a TEFL certificate – the top 6 things to know in 2020!
  • There are so many English teaching certifications - which one is right for me?
  • How many hours should my TEFL course be?
  • What do I learn on a TEFL course?
  • Where’s the best place to teach English in 2020 with a TEFL certificate?
  • Why do I need to get a TEFL Certificate to Teach English in China and in other countries?
  • 5 ways a TEFL Certificate helps you Teach English Abroad in Chin
  • When should I get a TEFL Certificate - before I look for a job or after I find one?
  • What the requirements to get a TEFL Certificate?
  • How long do TEFL qualifications last?
  • How much do TEFL courses cost?
  • What are the different types of TEFL course?
  • Top 5 questions to ask when choosing the right TEFL certificate course
  • What’s the right TEFL Course for me?
  • Can you fail a TEFL course?
  • What do I do after I’ve finished my TEFL course?
  • What else can I do with my TEFL Certificate?

There is a whole lot of information about TEFL certificates online, and finding up-to-date, accurate information isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve compiled the only guide you need to choosing the right TEFL certificate for you in 2020!

The teach English abroad industry is

  • Global

  • Fast-paced

  • Never stays still for long

Visa requirements for teachers change, TEFL courses develop, and new markets emerge in exciting destinations, so we’ve created this guide to help you in 2020!

Meanwhile, the number of English speakers around the world is set to hit an all time high is 2020, with two billion people around the world speaking English or learning to speak it. Demand for business English training is forecasted to grow 19.26% from 2018-2022. An extra 2 million students around the world are expected to enrol in international schools by 2024 and the Chinese Ministry of Education estimates that the ELT market totals one third of the country’s 1.4 billion population.

Growth in International Schools

Image Copyright: ISC Research 2019

In the ever changing TEFL world, there’s only one thing that’s for sure: demand for English teachers around the world in growing, and TEFL certified teachers are more valuable than ever before.

Perhaps you’ve started looking into teaching English abroad and are wondering what a TEFL certificate is. Or maybe you’ve already found a TEFL job and need a certification course that meets your visa requirements. Wherever you are in the process, there’s never been a better time to get TEFL certified and this guide is here to help you!

What is a TEFL certificate – the top 6 things to know in 2020!

  • 1 A TEFL certificate is a qualification that is recognized around the world.
  • 2 Gaining a TEFL certificate means you are qualified to teach English as a foreign language.
  • 3 TEFL certificates are awarded upon successful completion of a TEFL certification course.
  • 4 In a TEFL course you will learn educational theories, English language terminology and practical tips and tricks to help you in the classroom.
  • 5 You can take TEFL courses online or in many locations around the world.
  • 6 A TEFL course can take anything from four weeks to 12 months to complete.

There are so many English teaching certifications - which one is right for me?

When it comes to teaching English abroad, there are a lot of different acronyms to learn (EG: TEFL, ESL, CELTA, TESOL and more! 😱). Here’s what you need to know about TEFL, ESL, TESOL, CELTA and TESL.

First, your cheat sheet for all these acronyms:

Acronyms What it stands for:
TEFL Teach English as a Foreign Language
ESL English as a second language
EFL English as a foreign language
TESOL Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages
CELTA Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults
TESL Teach English as a Second Language

Next, let’s jump into the differences between these!

What’s the difference between EFL and ESL?

  • EFL stands for English as a foreign language.
  • EFL students do not speak English as a native language, they are learning English either for enjoyment, for school or for their job.

  • They live in non-English speaking countries, and might not use English in their daily life outside the classroom.

  • Teachers who move overseas to teach English normally work with EFL students.

  • ESL stands for English as a second language.
  • ESL students have to use English all the time in their daily life, even though it’s not their native language.

  • ESL students often live in English speaking countries.

What’s the difference between TEFL, TESL and TESOL?


TEFL stands for Teach English to as a Foreign Language.

TEFL courses are for teachers who want to teach English overseas in non-English speaking countries. If you want to teach English in China, for example, you’ll need to do a TEFL course because you’ll teach EFL students there.


TESL stands for Teach English as a Second Language.

TESL courses are for teachers who want to teach English in English speaking countries to non-native speakers who live there. Teachers who do TESL courses often want to teach immigrants, foreign students or refugees in their home country or another English speaking country.


TESOL stands for Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Completing a TESOL course means you will be qualified to teach both EFL + ESL students.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these different acronyms. However, when you’re researching teach English courses and jobs abroad, you’ll often find that TEFL used as a catch-all definition to describe them all. Many courses listed as TEFL certification are actually TESOL certifications because they will qualify you to teach ESL students as well. Before you sign up with any course it’s a good idea to check this with the course provider.

TEFL vs TESL vs TESOL Comparison Chart
TEFL course TESL Course TESOL course
Length 120 hours 120 hours 120 hours
Intensity Self-paced study Self-paced study Self-paced study
Delivery method In-person Online Blended (online & in-person) In-person Online Blended (in-person & online) In-person Online Blended (in-person & online)
Price $300-$1000 USD $300-$1000 USD $800-$1,200 USD
Who can I teach after the course? Adults Children Teens Children Teens Adults ChildrenTeens
Job placement – where can I teach with the course? Global Placements English Speaking Countries (EG: USA, UK, etc). Global Placements & English Speaking Countries

Find a Job teaching English Abroad in China!

Speak to one of our recruiters about what TEFL course is right for you!


What’s the difference between TEFL and CELTA?


TEFL stands for Teach English to as a Foreign Language.

The acronym TEFL refers to the whole teach English abroad sector, including TEFL courses that prepare teachers to teach English overseas. TEFL courses are recognised globally and will make you highly employable abroad.


CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults.

The acronym TEFL refers to the whole teach English abroad sector, including TEFL courses that prepare teachers to teach English overseas. TEFL courses are recognised globally and will make you highly employable abroad.

The CELTA is the most widely recognised TEFL certification course, and always includes some face-to-face lessons. Depending on the CELTA course, some study may also be online.

However, when choosing a certification, it’s worth knowing that CELTA is not the only respected TEFL certification. There are some key differences between the CELTA and other TEFL certifications, and you should focus on choosing a course that suits your needs.

TEFL vs CELTA comparison chart
TEFL course CELTA course
Length 120 hours 120 hours
Intensity Self-paced study High
Delivery method In-person Online Blended (online & in-person) In-person Online Blended (online & in-person)
Price $300-$1000 USD $3000 USD
Who can I teach after the course? Adults Children Teens Adults
Job placement – where can I teach with the course? Global Placements Global Placements
-TEFL is for teaching English in non-native English speaking countries.
-TESOL is for teaching English in both non-native and native English speaking countries.
-TESL is for teaching English in native English speaking countries.

How many hours should my TEFL course be?

Accepted TEFL courses in most countries are for at least 120-hours long. You can also choose to add more hours, if you want to.

100 hour vs 120 hour TEFL courses

Respectable TEFL courses provide TEFL certification that is recognised globally and often necessary to gain working visas for countries such as China, and many others. The minimum number of hours for TEFL course that is accepted in most countries is 120 hours of study.

One hundred-hour TEFL courses, although still plenty of work, are not recognised or accepted as legitimate TEFL qualifications by many schools. As such, doing a 100-hour TEFL course may be a waste of your time and money so we don’t recommend it if you are looking for a job teaching English abroad.

How long does it take to complete a 120 hour TEFL course?

Great question! The time it takes to complete your TEFL studies will depend on the course you choose and your lifestyle 😉. As a rule, it’s best not to rush your studies. You will have to learn, understand and use many new skills which take time to master. We’ve provided a rough estimate below for in-person and online TEFL courses based on our experience.

Full-time & In-Person 120-hour TEFL courses

Full-time, in-person 120-hour TEFL courses normally take four weeks to complete. As well as the course hours there will also be assignments and homework to complete.

If studying in-person, TEFL courses hours are often Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. This means eight hours of study, five days a week. If studying online, courses are normally self-paced, but you can choose to study full-time and complete your TEFL certification in four weeks. This will mean finding time for 30 hours of study each week.

Part-time and Online 120-hour TEFL courses

Part-time and Online 120-hour TEFL certificate courses can be studied in-person, online or both. They normally take around 12 weeks to complete, factoring in 10 to 12 hours of study each week. If you’re studying in-person, these hours will be pre-arranged. If you’re studying online, you can choose your own hours!

Example study schedule for completing an online TEFL Courses in 12 weeks:

  • Weekday Study Schedule

    Mon & Thurs: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
  • Weekend Study Schedule

    Sundays: 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Weekly Total

    10 study hours per week

Helpful tips:TEFL courses can be demanding and good organisational skills will help you stay on top of your workload. Try to get into a study routine, whether you choose to study a little everyday, or set aside a specific time to study each week.

120 hour vs 150+ hour TEFL courses

Some TEFL courses can be longer than 120 hours. The benefits of taking a 150-hour TEFL course are that you get more study time, and can often choose specialist modules to help hone teaching skills in different areas like, teaching young learners, teaching business English or teaching English to speakers of specific languages, such as Mandarin. You do not have to complete a 150-hour TEFL course to gain TEFL certification or get a job teaching English abroad, but doing so may increase your confidence and better prepare you for life in the classroom.

100 hour vs 120 hour vs 150 hour Comparison Chart
100 hours 120 hours 150 hours
Cost $200+ USD $350+ $500+
Meets criteria for all global teaching positions
Course delivery method online, in-person, blended online, in-person, blended online, in-person, blended
Typical time to complete (full-time) three weeks four weeks five weeks
Typical time to complete (part-time) 10 weeks 12 weeks 15 weeks
Includes specialised modules

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What do I learn on a TEFL course?

Any good TEFL course should give you the theoretical and practical training you need to feel confident teaching English, even if you have no prior teaching experience. Most courses will cover similar core topics.

  • Lesson planning

    You’ll learn how to plan and write a detailed breakdown of what you’re going to do in each lesson, and how this aligns with your learning goals for your students.

  • Managing the classroom

    You’ll master techniques to build a good rapport with your students as well as keeping them motivated and focused in the classroom.

  • Understanding grammar

    You’ll understand how to explain different grammar concepts and the right technical terminology used to describe how we structure the English language.

  • Using learning materials

    You’ll become proficient in choosing and creating the right materials to help animate your classes.

  • Identifying learning styles

    You’ll learn different techniques to teach reading, writing, listening and speaking in the classroom.

  • Teaching language skills

    You’ll learn different techniques to teach reading, writing, listening and speaking in the classroom.

  • Real-life teaching practice

    Some TEFL courses include a practicum which gives you a chance to observe other teachers in the classroom and teach yourself.

Where’s the best place to teach English in 2020 with a TEFL certificate?

English teachers are increasingly in demand around the world, but where are the best destinations to teach in 2020?

Top ten most popular countries to teach English in 2020

Country Most popular for 2020 Potential savings / month USD Peak hiring period
Japan 1st $700 All year
China 2nd $1,750 All year
Spain 3rd $0 January, March, September
South Korea 4th $1,600 All year
Thailand 5th $700 March, September
Vietnam 6th $600 All year
UAE 7th $800 January -March
Taiwan 8st $500 February, July
Mexico 9th $0 All year
Germany 10th $800 January, September

Source: Google Trends

These might be the most searched-for countries because they are popular, but they also all have thriving TEFL industries and many exciting opportunities for English teachers. Let’s take a closer look at the top five.


Japan has been a popular teach abroad destination for a long time, and still offers great opportunities in 2020.

English is a compulsory subject in public schools from age five and many teachers work in Japan as part of the government’s public schools program, JET. Many teachers also teach in private language schools catering to a large market of young and adult learners.

TEFL teachers are often drawn to work in Japan because of the unique opportunity to experience Japanese culture. Many mainstays of Japanese culture, such as Japanese food, manga, and Japanese fashion, are now well-known and loved around the world.

Hiring for teaching positions in Japan happens in throughout the year. However the application process can take longer than in other destinations, even up to six months.
The average monthly salary in Japan is $1,500-2,500 USD, and many, although not all, teaching contracts include a return airfare and housing (or a housing allowance). Teachers with contracts that do include housing and airfare can save $800 USD each month. Teachers without these benefits will find it hard to save such large sums as the cost of living in Japan is higher than in other Asian countries.
The main requirements to teach English in Japan include a Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate and a passport from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.
South Korea

These suggestions are based on current TEFL markets and trends but there are many more countries around the world where you can teach English. The best place for you to teach English will be one that suits your budget and teaching preferences as well as your travel, culture and lifestyle aspirations.

Top ESL Jobs in China

Why do I need to get a TEFL Certificate to Teach English in China and in other countries?

Being a great teacher requires a unique mix of people skills, subject knowledge and professional confidence. Even though you speak English fluently, you need to learn how to teach to be an English teacher.

Getting TEFL certified prepares you for your new job

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking in many circumstances, but especially when that job means being face-to-face with a room full of students relying on your professional skills. Now imagine going into that situation with no idea how or what to teach. Sounds stressful, right?

Learning the basics of how to teach on the job will be time consuming and demanding for you and your students. Doing a TEFL certificate course is the most reliable way to get the professional skills you need to make a success of your career as an English teacher from your first day in the classroom.

Getting TEFL certified means you can get a work visa

In China and many other countries, your ability to get a work visa will depend on the skills you can bring to your profession. In the TEFL world this often means that being TEFL certified is a visa requirement for English teachers who want to work abroad.

You may know of other English teachers who have moved abroad to teach without any teaching certifications, but remember, visa standards change frequently. Getting a TEFL certification from an accredited course is the simplest way to make sure you qualify to teach English wherever in the world you want to.

5 ways a TEFL Certificate helps you Teach English Abroad in Chin

  • Communication Skills

    Mandarin and English are two very different languages. Your TEFL course will teach you how to communicate with students you don’t share a common tongue with, no matter how little English they speak.
  • Preparation to Teach

    Teaching jobs in China are varied. You might work with one very specific age group or a huge variety. Never worked with kids before? Worried about teaching business English to adults? On your TEFL course you’ll learn behaviour management techniques that are proven to work with learners of all ages.
  • Connect with a Network of Teachers

    One of the hardest parts of finding a teaching job in China is deciding where to start. Demand for English teachers in China is soaring and there are thousands of roles to choose between. One of the best ways to find a role that suits you is to ask for advice. On your TEFL course you’ll make a network of knowledgeable tutors and peers who can support in your job search and throughout your time as a teacher.
  • Meet legal visa requirements

    Put simply, there’s no way to work in China without a TEFL certificate. To qualify for a z-visa that legally allows you to teach English in China, one of the requirements is that you must have a TEFL certificate from an accredited TEFL course. Look out for TEFL courses that have authentication for Chinese work visas too.
  • Confidence to Teach

    Moving to China is a big undertaking! Your first few days there will be a whirlwind of new friends, foods and experiences, and it may take you a while to find your feet. Getting a TEFL certificate will mean there is one aspect of your new life you can feel confident in from day one: your teaching skills.

Start today and Teach English Abroad in China!


When should I get a TEFL Certificate - before I look for a job or after I find one?

There is no best way to find your first TEFL job but there are benefits to getting TEFL certified before and after you start your job search and we’ve listed them below!

Finding an English teaching job before you’re TEFL certified

Every country, and in some cases every job, has different TEFL requirements. Nearly all schools request that you have a TEFL certification from a reputable course, but that still leaves you with a lot of variables to choose between in terms of price, duration, and delivery method. Without a specific job in mind, it can also be hard to know if you need to learn specialist knowledge (such as teaching business English, or teaching very young learners) on your TEFL certificate course.

👍 Two of the main benefits of finding a English teaching job before you start a TEFL course is that your school or recruiter will be able to advise you on the right course to take for the job you want (or already have!) and it may be less expensive or cost you nothing at all. Some schools may even pay for your TEFL course, or provide TEFL training as part of your job contract. If you have already done a TEFL course it is highly unlikely a school will reimburse your TEFL course fees.

Steps to finding a TEFL job before you’re TEFL certified

Finding an English teaching job after you’re TEFL certified

If you know which country (and city!) you want to teach in, the exact job you want to do and you don’t mind spending a bit more money, completing your TEFL course before applying for the job might be for you! Although possibly more expensive, doing things this way around may speed up the recruitment process for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll be in a position to apply for the job while you are studying, and, secondly, once you accept a TEFL job there may be no visa delay (if you have completed your TEFL course).

Some TEFL courses even come with the promise of a job offer upon completion, or come with document authentication for specific countries to help speed your paperwork through.

How to find a TEFL job after you’re TEFL certified

What the requirements to get a TEFL Certificate?

As there are so many different TEFL courses the specific requirements for each one can vary. However, most courses have a few requirements in common.

For most TEFL courses you do not need to:
have a Bachelor’s degree
be a native English speaker
have any previous teaching experience
be able to speak another language

However, these are common requirements for TEFL jobs in some parts of the world. Holding a Bachelor’s degree is a visa requirement for English teachers in many countries, including China.

For most TEFL courses you do not need to:
be aged 18 or over
speak English to a high level. Native fluency or idiomatic fluency are often required and you might need to provide a qualification to prove your level or do an interview and written test with your course provider.
get a student visa if you study for your TEFL course in another country

And that’s it!

The only other (non-official) requirements for a TEFL course are an interest in teaching and good study skills.

How long do TEFL qualifications last?

In short, TEFL qualifications last forever 🙌!

Once you have successfully completed your TEFL course, your TEFL certification never expires. This gives you the freedom to use your qualification however you can choose. You might decide to teach English in summer camps once a year, or take breaks to teach English throughout your career whenever you get itchy feet. If you don’t decide to pursue TEFL as a long-term career, being TEFL qualified gives you the option of an easy way to earn additional income through tutoring in-person or teaching english online.

Unlike other teaching qualifications, you do not have to validate your TEFL certificate with professional experience. This means that once you are qualified you can start your first TEFL job weeks, months or years later! Whenever suits you!

How much do TEFL courses cost?

TEFL courses can cost anything from $300-3,000 USD. The type of TEFL course you take will affect how much it costs. In-person TEFL courses are the most expensive, and online TEFL courses are the cheapest.

You’ve probably seen the variety of costs in TEFL courses online already and may be struggling to figure out which ones are the right ones for you! If that’s you, we’d recommend to find the best English teaching job overseas for you first and then speak to your school or recruiter on which TEFL course is the best for your new position. See above in our Steps to finding a TEFL job before you’re TEFL certified for more info on this!

What are the different types of TEFL course?

There are three main types of TEFL courses: in-person, online or blended (meaning a mix of in-person and online). While it’s important to choose a learning style that will work for you, the delivery method you choose will also have a direct impact on how much your TEFL course costs.

Online TEFL certificate course from a recruitment company

This is the least expensive TEFL certification option. Teaching Nomad’s 120-hour TEFL course costs $298 USD.

One benefit of doing an online TEFL course from a recruitment company is the recruitment companies are experts in placing teachers in jobs in every country around the world and the visa process for each location. These companies are likely to be able to authenticate your TEFL certificate and provide direct access to jobs when you are certified.

TEFL courses from recruitment companies are completely self-paced and you often have from six months to one year to complete the course once you start.

In-person TEFL certificate courses

In-person TEFL courses are the most expensive type of TEFL course. The CELTA costs around $2800 USD.

However, in-person TEFL courses can be worth the money as they provide a lot of learning support, a structured learning process and a real life space to network, discuss ideas and share resources. In-person TEFL courses are often intensive--they normally last four weeks, meaning eight hours a day of study five days a week, with assignments and homework on top, although some part-time in-person TEFL courses are available. Lesson times are always timetabled by the course provider.

Blended TEFL certificate courses

Taking a blended TEFL course means that some of your study will be in-person some will be online. Blended TEFL courses are priced at the high end of the scale. The blended CELTA course costs around $2950 as tutors are available outside regular working hours.

Blended TEFL courses are a good compromise if you need flexible study hours but also want some real life support and external structure for your studies. While the online component will be self-paced the course provider will define regular deadlines for assignments. Courses generally last around 13 weeks. Up to 80% of blended TEFL courses are normally completed online.

Online TEFL certificate courses from a university

While these are the most expensive online TEFL courses, online TEFL courses from Universities are much cheaper than in-person options. The University of Arizona costs $635 USD and includes notarization and authentication of your TEFL certificate which ensures it can be used for your work visa application (and speed up the visa process for you!).

One of the biggest benefits of doing an online TEFL course from a university is that you can then add the university name to your resume. Many schools will be impressed by this, but it’s important to check that your Online TEFL Course University can authenticate your TEFL Certificate (there are some out there that can’t) and see that the course content complies with the visa standard for the country and city you are moving to! Again – we recommend that you check with your school or recruiter to be sure the TEFL course meets the requirements for your new position first.

University courses tend to be more theoretical than other online TEFL courses. This approach can be useful, but as the TEFL is a professional training you need to make sure you’ll learn practical skills to use in the classroom too.

How do different 120-hour TEFL certification courses compare?

How do different online TEFL course compare, side-by-side? Let’s take a look 🔎

TEFL course Delivery method Price$ USD Self paced Length Start date Authenticates TEFL Certificate for your visa
Teaching Nomad 120 hour online $298 yes 2 weeks - 6 months anytime Yes
University of Arizona online $550-635 yes Up to 6 months anytime Yes
My TEFL online $299 yes 3 months anytime No
I-TO-I online $323 yes 10 weeks anytime No
PREMIER TEFL online $366 yes 6 months anytime No
Teaching House CELTA in-person or blended $2800 no 4 - 10 weeks depends on location No
The Language House in-person $1525 no 4 weeks monthly No
Toronto OISE TEFL online $1295 yes Up to 12 months anytime No

What’s the best online TEFL Certificate to teach in China?

For teachers who want to work in China, getting an online TEFL certificate that provides authentication for a Chinese visa can help smooth the application and visa process. These TEFL certificates also qualify you to work in other countries around the world.

Teaching Nomad 120 Hour

Teaching Nomad 120 hour is a trusted TEFL course provider. The course is entirely online, self-paced and students can complete it in as little as two weeks, or up to six months. And it has one of the highest course completion rates! A Chinese visa-approved TEFL certificate is sent within 48 hours of successful completion of the course, and Teaching Nomad can also support candidates through the visa process. Career China has placed graduates from the Teaching Nomad 120-hour course in teaching roles in over 60 cities across China.

120 Hour TEFL/TESOL Certificate at CESL

The University of Arizona’s Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) runs a 120-hour TEFL/TESOL certificate that is online and completely self paced. Students can enrol and start the course at any time and have up to six months to complete their TEFL studies, with the option to add a 20 or 40-hour practicum if they choose. The CESL TEFL certificate is internationally recognised and provides authentication for Chinese work visas.

Find your new teaching job at one of our reputable schools!

Our Featured Schools in China

Top 5 questions to ask when choosing the right TEFL certificate course

When choosing the right TEFL course for you think about your learning needs and future goals. And, make sure the course fulfils the requirements for authentication!

Is the TEFL course reputable and recognised?

Do some research on course providers that interest you to make sure they are trustworthy and reputable. Research TEFL course reviews online and have a good look around any course provider’s website and social media channels. Their company’s online footprint should reassure you that they are legitimate, transparent and invested in your success. Try contacting course providers to see what kind of response you get. Communication should be swift, professional and supportive.

Beyond this, contact your school or recruiter to ask for their advice on which TEFL course to complete. Their responses should give you confidence and a clear direction on which course to complete.

Is your TEFL course 120 hours or more?

Remember, your TEFL course must provide enough hours of instruction to qualify for accreditation--this means 120 hours, minimum.

What’s your budget for a TEFL course?

Once you’ve narrowed down a few reputable courses, it’s time to start assessing the practical side of your studies. First up, how much do you have to spend on your TEFL course? Getting TEFL certified can cost anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the course you choose.

Although you can start teaching (and earning) immediately after you gain TEFL certification, it’s still wise to choose a course that’s budget friendly. Moving overseas can mean big start-up costs, like buying new homeware, putting down a rental deposit, or spending a lot of time socialising to make new friends. It’s best to start any overseas move with a financial buffer, if you can.

How much time do you have to complete the course?

Many TEFL courses can provide a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to the duration of your studies, especially if they are online. In-person courses might be less flexible, but they can work well for people who like to have a clear time-table provided, and a non-negotiable end date.

However you choose to study, don’t leave everything to the last minute. Set daily, weekly, or monthly goals and stick to them.

How would you like to study for our TEFL course?

Think about the conditions you need to get the most out of your studies. For some this will be a room full of people to bounce ideas off, other’s need peace and quiet to think things through alone. And, of course, some need both.

Studying online provides an accessible and convenient way for many people to complete TEFL courses, especially if they are working, traveling, or at university while completing the course. But if you want to start meeting people in the TEFL world face-to-face or need external motivation to finish the course, studying in-person may be better for you.

What’s the right TEFL Course for me?

Finding the right TEFL course depends on where you are in your life – maybe you are getting ready to launch your career, or in your second job and wanting a change or you are currently teaching in your home country and want to explore – so we’ve broken it down for you below so you can make the right choice for you!

What’s the best online TEFL course for a new graduate?

As a new graduate your study skills are top-notch. This means you can save money by taking a self-directed online course. These courses can also fit neatly into your schedule whether you’re committed to finding a teaching job ASAP, or fitting your learning in around other commitments. Try Teaching Nomad 120 hour TEFL certification course.

What’s the best online TEFL course for a working professional?

As you’re working you need a flexible course with a long deadline, so you can fit study around your job. As cost is less of an issue for you, you may want to choose a course with the option of adding specialisation modules either to highlight your current skills (such as Business English) or add new ones to your skill set (such as teaching kids). Take a look at the University of Arizona certificate.

What’s the best online TEFL course for a teacher?

You already have plenty of classroom experience, and teaching qualifications so won’t need to invest as much time or money in a TEFL course as some other candidates. However, it might be nice to add a respected name to your resume and reduce the amount of visa admin you have to do. Take a look at The University of Arizona TEFL certificate.

Can you fail a TEFL course?

It is possible to fail a TEFL course, but the chances of this are very very slim if you choose the right course and stay organised and motivated throughout your studies.

How hard are TEFL courses?

Most people who fail TEFL courses do so because they lose motivation and fail to complete the course, rather than because their TEFL course is too hard for them. Having said that, getting TEFL certified does require some hard work and you will need to dedicate some time to your studies. If you do this, and stay organised, you are very unlikely to fail.

If you find there is an assignment or a module you struggle with, make use of your tutors. They are there to help and advise you. Most schools will also allow students to retake modules or assignments that they don’t pass first time.

How to succeed on your online TEFL course

There are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your TEFL studies.

  • Make sure you have enough time for your studies

    A 120-hour TEFL course will take at least 120-hours to complete. There may also be assignments and extra reading to do on top of this. Take a look at your average weekly schedule and make a realistic plan for how much you can study each week, and be generous with how much time you allocate. Remember you might be able to get through some of the subject matter quickly while other topics will take longer to get your head around.

  • Make a schedule and stick to it

    You stand a stronger chance of passing your TEFL course if you do a little often, rather than trying to cram everything in two weeks before the deadline. Putting yourself under pressure to turn work out fast rather than actually taking your time to learn will be a waste of your time and your money. Avoid this by breaking up the workload. At the beginning of your TEFL course work out how long you have to get TEFL certified, and divide the course content over this period, giving yourself small daily, weekly, or monthly targets to hit.

  • Think of ways to motivate yourself

    Get a wall chart and tick things off as you complete them, watch travel videos about the destinations you want to work in, start job searching and dreaming about your new life overseas, or give yourself a treat every time you get some studying done. Staying motivated is crucial to success in self-paced study, so think about what motivates you and use it to your advantage.

  • Focus on what you need to do to pass

    The amount of information you get on a TEFL course can be overwhelming, but remember, you don’t need to learn every grammar point or master every behaviour management technique right now. Focus on what you need to do to complete the assignment that’s right in front of you. The rest of the knowledge you need to be a great teacher will build over time.

  • Seek out support and advice

    Studying online can be a little lonely, so make sure you reach out to other students and your tutors when you can. Both will be able to offer you advice and support throughout your studies.

  • Choose the right course

    Most importantly, choose the right course. There is no point in you signing up for a course that doesn’t make you feel excited to start studying. If you know you hate studying alone, but the best option for you is to study online, make sure you choose a course that allows for some human interaction like online tutorials or student forums. If you prefer to learn by watching videos rather than reading, try and find a course where this is the focus. Think about what you need to get the most out of your studies, and choose a course that matches your learning style.

What do I do after I’ve finished my TEFL course?

You’re TEFL certified--congratulations! What you do next will depend on where you are in your job search.

If you’ve already got your English teaching job:

Let your recruiter or school know you’re TEFL certified

If you’ve already started the job application process with a recruiter or school, let them know as soon as you’re TEFL certified!

Each recruiter is different, but at Career China, as soon as applicants have their TEFL certification we continue with the visa process. If you’ve taken a TEFL course that’s Chinese visa approved, you’re one step ahead already. You could be on a plane to China to start your new job within weeks!

Start packing and preparing for your departure!

You’ve done all the hard work so you can relax and start preparing to move to your new home 😊

If you don’t have an English teaching job yet:

Start searching for an ESL teaching job

If you haven’t started looking for a TEFL job yet, now is the perfect time.

You’re TEFL course has probably given you some ideas about the kinds of students you’d like to teach, now you’ll need to decide where you’d like to work. If this is a hard choice to make, think about your ideal salary, lifestyle, languages you’d like to learn, and what your goals for the future are to help you decide. Your TEFL community can also be a great source of information. Ask people you studied with or seek out online communities to find out what it’s like to live and work in different places.

When you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, it’s time for the real search to begin. So, where do you start?

If you’ve done a TEFL course with job placement, your course provider should work with you to identify which of their available teaching roles would be a good fit. If you’re course doesn’t provide job placement it’s still a good idea to ask your tutors and fellow students for advice. They may be able to recommend great schools to work for and reliable sources for finding TEFL jobs.

However most TEFL teachers find jobs through searching on online job boards. These can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have your criteria pinned down--there are thousands of TEFL jobs around the world afterall. Try and make your search as targeted as possible, or you can use a recruitment agency for expert advice and a helping hand to guide you through your job search.

Start applying for English Teaching jobs

If you’ve already found a few teaching positions you’re interested in, now you’re TEFL certified, you’re ready to start the application process.

Most applications for TEFL jobs are done online. You’ll need to polish your resume and possibly write a cover letter to send along with your application.

If your application is successful, you’ll move on to the interview process. Interviews for TEFL jobs are normally done by phone or video call. Depending on how you apply for a teaching role you may have to do two interviews, one with a recruiter and one with the school you’ll be working in.

One tip to ace your TEFL job interview--make sure you highlight what you learned on your TEFL course. Of course, you’re going to put your TEFL certificate on your resume, but the interview is a chance for you to show who you are as a teacher, even if you don’t have that much experience yet. Try talking about the experience you gained of your TEFL course, the aspects that interested you the most and what you were good at.

What else can I do with my TEFL Certificate?

Getting TEFL certified is just the start of an adventure that could take you anywhere.

Teach English Online with a TEFL certificate

As soon as you’re TEFL certified you can start teaching English online, wherever in the world you are based and wherever you want to travel. Teach online jobs are highly flexible--they allow you to choose how many hours you want to work each week, and when you are available to teach. As such they are a great way to build up funds before you move overseas, or earn some extra money on the side while you’re studying or working.

Get an ESL summer job with your TEFL certificate

You might have got a TEFL certificate dreaming of exotic travel adventures overseas, but don’t overlook employment opportunities where you are right now.

English speaking countries have all kinds of English teaching opportunities often in major cities that are a big draw for international students. Getting an ESL summer job can be a great way to earn money and put your new teaching skills to use, without the pressure of a big move abroad at the same time. And, ESL classes can also help you scratch a travel itch in their own right. Being in a classroom with students from different countries all over the world is a cultural learning opportunity for everyone--the teacher included!

Volunteer where you live and overseas with a TEFL certificate

Getting a TEFL certificate can also put you in a great position to apply for volunteer TEFL positions. This can be a way to contribute to your local community or a way to travel to remote destinations where it’s harder to find TEFL jobs. Either way you can be sure your language teaching skills will make a big difference.

Go travelling with a TEFL certificate

If you haven’t decided where you want to teach yet, but you’re itching to hit the road, why not start travelling right now? You can use your travels as a way to test out different locations that you might want to live and teach in one day.

Having a TEFL certificate can also give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to earn money as you travel (as long as you stay on top of your working visa wherever you are). Don’t rule out teaching in English-speaking countries either. Australia is set to be a huge ESL destination in 2020.

Add your TEFL certificate to your resume

Having a TEFL certificate on your resume shows that you are self-motivated, curious about the world, able to see projects through, and committed to furthering your career. It will be of interest to employers when you apply for jobs in education, intercultural contexts, language based roles and positions where people skills are valuable.

Launch your career today and Teach English in China!