10 Things You Need to Know About TEFL

The British Council estimates that by 2020, 2 billion people across the globe will be speaking English. With the demand for English teachers throughout the world ever-increasing, there has never been a better time to get involved with TEFL. In line with National Careers Week, we have compiled a list of everything you need to know about TEFL, from accreditation to salaries, set to inspire and prepare you for a TEFL career!

1. What course to take

Choosing the right TEFL course can feel like an impossible decision at first. In order to find the right course for you, it’s important to consider the length and type of course.

Firstly, TEFL courses are measured in hours; the more hours of TEFL training you have, the more competitive your CV will be. The length of TEFL courses can vary with our courses ranging from 20 to 198 hours. We generally recommend 120 hours of training as this tends to be the minimum number of hours employers will look for. 120 hours will not only make you eligible for a wide range of jobs, but it will also provide you with the appropriate skills and knowledge, ensuring you’re as confident and well-versed in TEFL as possible.

Secondly, you should consider the type of course. If you have previous experience teaching English or would just like to complete a course from the comfort of your own home, then an entirely online-based course may be for you. For first-time teachers, we would recommend enrolling on a course that contains a classroom element. This works to give you a real, hands-on, practical understanding of what your first TEFL lesson is going to be like.

2. Accreditation

It’s important to consider accreditation when choosing a TEFL course provider. Be suspicious if a course is considerably cheaper than the majority of TEFL courses on the market as this will usually mean that the course provider is not accredited by any reputable awarding bodies. With little or no accreditation, this can mean that the qualification isn’t recognised by certain employers. More often than not there are hidden costs involved with budget TEFL courses. For instance, you may have to pay a substantial sum of money just to receive a certificate at the end. Take a look at our blog post on the subject – Should You Buy a Groupon Course?

There is no single accrediting body for TEFL, but we are the organisation with the most accreditation. This means our courses are assessed regularly for quality, ensuring you qualify with internationally recognised certification.

3. Visa Requirements

Visa requirements can differ from country to country, which is why we advise students to check out the visa requirements of the country they want to teach in before making any concrete decisions. Whilst a TEFL certificate is essential for teaching English abroad, there are a number of other factors that determine whether you are granted a working visa or not. You can find out more about visa requirements here.

4. Is a degree required?

Whilst you don’t need any formal qualifications to enrol on a TEFL course, a visa requirement for a number of countries is a BA degree or above/equivalent. Most Asian countries are affected by this, along with the Middle East and some South American countries. If you don’t have a degree, don’t worry – there is still plenty of countries you are still eligible to teach in. Check out our blog post on How to TEFL Without a Degree to find out more.

5. Where to Find TEFL Jobs

As a TEFL Org student/graduate, you will have full, lifetime access to our TEFL Jobs Centre, where we list teaching positions on behalf of employers. With exclusive access to the Jobs Centre, you can obtain employers contact information, allowing you to go on and apply for work. You are not limited to just our site, there is a whole range of TEFL job sites worth checking out. Find out more in our blog post on Where to Find TEFL Jobs.

6. Career opportunities

There are both short-term and long-term opportunities available with TEFL. If you’re looking for something more temporary, summer camp positions come up with contracts ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months.

The typical contract length that we see come through our Jobs Centre is 12 months. It is not uncommon for employers to extend contracts too, so, if you are looking for a more permanent position, there is always the possibility that your teaching contract will be renewed.

Some people assume there is no career progression with TEFL, that it’s just something young people do to travel for a year or two. This just isn’t the case. With experience and professional development, there is always the opportunity to climb the career ladder and work your way up to more senior roles. If you are considering TEFL as a long-term career, check out our blog post on Long Term TEFL Jobs and Where to Find Them.

7. Where you can TEFL

All of our certificates are internationally recognised, so you can travel and work across the globe. With a TEFL certificate, you will be eligible to teach abroad, in the UK and online.

If you are considering moving abroad to teach, take a look at our post on Where You Should TEFL in 2020 for some inspiration.

If you are looking for a flexible job that allows you to pick your own hours, teaching English online could be perfect for you. The online tutoring industry is rapidly growing, with more and more online TEFL positions becoming available. Take a look at our blog post on  Reasons to Teach English Online.

8. How much you can earn

TEFL salaries are dependent on a number of factors. Firstly, the country you are teaching in plays a part – some of the highest paid teaching positions are in Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Whilst some positions may offer higher salaries, the living costs within the country may be higher and vice versa with lower paid positions.

Secondly, salaries can also vary across schools/institutions. For example, private schools and international schools may pay higher than a language centre or university. Another determining factor is experience. If you have extensive teaching experience or other teaching qualifications (such as a PGDE), then you may be eligible for higher paid teaching positions.

You can also earn a decent living teaching English online, whether this is full-time or part-time. You can find out more about how much you can earn teaching English online here.

9. Age Restrictions

There are no strict age restrictions with TEFL, however, there are some things to bear in mind when applying for TEFL positions. Firstly, the assumption that TEFL is a young person’s game is far from the truth – you can TEFL at any age. However, the majority of Asian countries have strict retirement laws, so if you are over the age of 60, you would be unable to find work in these countries.

Whilst you can be 16 to enrol in a TEFL course, it can be tricky finding paid employment under the age of 18. If you are under 16 and are planning to pursue a career in TEFL, you might want to try building up your experience by volunteering first. For more information, check out our blog post on Are There Age Restrictions With TEFL?

10.  Scam Employers

The vast majority of positions advertised are from legitimate employers but there are some people out there trying to exploit eager EFL teachers looking for work abroad, so it’s important to be aware of the tale-telling signs. Our blog post on How to Avoid TEFL Scams and Bad Employers highlights everything you should look out for when applying for teaching positions. Be sure to exercise caution throughout the application process and, if it doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and walk away.

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