Finding the Perfect TEFL Course

Finding the Perfect TEFL Course

Are you looking to broaden your horizons and step out of your comfort zone? Look no further than teaching English as a foreign language. This is something you can do if you are a native English speaker, and want to travel around the world and earn money while you travel. In most countries, the minimum requirements are to be a native English speaker, have a TEFL or TESOL course and a valid passport. Some countries insist on teachers having a degree in order to get a work visa but they are few and far between as the right TEFL certification will go a long way to ensuring you land a great teaching position.

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ESL is English as a Second Language, you can be an ESL teacher or an ESL student. ESL is the umbrella term for the industry of teaching English to foreign learners. If you google ESL teachers you will find mountains of information and tips on getting you ready for your ESL career journey, from all around the world.

TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign Language, this is a basic entry level course which you can do at many English language schools around the world as well as online. Most basic entry level TEFL courses do not have any practical section so you will learn the theory and have to get used to the practical side when you start your new teaching job.

There is also what is known as a TESOL which is, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This course encompasses the TEFL as well as Teaching English as a Second Language. A TESOL course will give you are more rounded knowledge of teaching other language students.

Then finally you also get a CELTA, Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, the CELTA is a branch of TESOL which is backed by Cambridge in order to ensure a certain standard. The CELTA is recognised worldwide and held in high regard. It can also be the more expensive option of the courses.

Which ESL course do I do?

The above may seem a bit confusing at first, but you once you get started it becomes clearer. The most important thing you want from an ESL course is the practical hours many courses offer. You can do a standard entry-level TEFL course but this may only be theory-based, not giving you an opportunity to gain practical experience before jetting off to your new teaching job.

This practical experience is great if you have never taught before or need to get comfortable standing up in front of people. Doing the course with a practical aspect makes you feel more at home going into the teaching position and having that experience looks great for prospective employees. You will notice that many of the teaching jobs require teaching experience. Doing the practical hours as part of your course counts towards this teaching experience they require. This will put you ahead of people who have opted to only do the theory.

You can learn more about the differences here: TEFL or CELTA? Pros and Cons of Different Teaching Qualifications

Online vs Offline

Doing the course online is easier if you are working full time as you can choose when you want to do the work and complete it at your own pace. The only problem with doing it online is often you don’t have access or immediate access to an industry professional to answer your questions. The other issue is you may not be able to gain the practical experience you need by doing an online course.

Doing the course offline is the better option. The offline courses are normally run out of language schools and centers, who have TEFL teachers employed there. This means you have access to experienced teachers, you are able to get a feel for the environment and structure you will be working in and finally you will be doing your practical part of the course to real ESL students who go to the school.

The offline and practical option is very beneficial if you feel unsure about teaching and are wanting to try it out before you make your big move. The courses are often done in groups and are a great way to meet people who are looking to teach abroad. I have stayed in contact with many of the people from my TESOL course and we share teaching stories and advice regularly.


Although I do feel the TESOL with 120 practical teaching hours is the best option to make you feel comfortable with teaching as well as for prospective employers, I have also not heard of people struggling to find work when doing an online course. Even if your budget is tight and you are working a full-time job then doing a TEFL course is still very accessible.

Also, note that any experience you have in teaching or training fields will count towards you finding a job. If you have headed up any training programs at work or you’ve been a dance instructor in your free time, this is useful and will help to add to your CV.

The great thing about ESL is how accessible the course is to everyone who is a native English speaker, as well as the fact that it gives you access to live and teach in many countries around the world. Go on sign up, once you have your TEFL you can decide to pursue the teaching at any stage as the course does not have an expiration date.

Want to learn more about teaching abroad? Visit our Teaching Abroad Blog. Or get more on teacher development here.

At Saxoncourt Recruitment, we recommend ITTT for your TEFL, and you can get some discount here.