A reader recently asked:
I would like to become a TEFL or ESL certified teacher. Is this certificate necessary to teach abroad for an educated American?
If so, where is the best place online to study and affordable?
I was laid off so I don’t have extra income, but this is my dream to stop working for corporations and do something I’ve always wanted to do. I enjoy helping people.
A TEFL certification is not a requirement to teach English in many countries, but knowing HOW to teach well is a nice idea. It is only fair to your students who are spending money to sit in a classrrom with you.
You asked about an online course and you’ll find that China, Korea and Japan – three of the world’s four largest EFL employers accept them – so you will be in good shape. I am a fan of the TEFL Boot Camp course, but that’s my bias. I wrote it. Fair warning!
There is a good amount of free information about teaching and how to teach on that website. Give it a read even if you don’t wish to sign up.
I quite understand that the price of in-classroom courses can be prohibitive when you are first starting out and some colleges and universities do offer such courses, but they are often as costly as the commercially priced TEFL training schools that can run about US$1500-2500. Add in the cost of not working for four to six weeks and room and board and it can begin to get expensive.
That is not always true though – so keep your eyes open!
Taking a course just for the certificate is not a bad thing. It does helps fluff up the resume and says you are at least interested enough to learn more and spend a bit of money to do so.
Why not consider teaching in Korea, where you can save some serious money or even China where you will work a bit less, can have a university position and see a bit more of the world?
If you want a certification with a guaranteed placement offer – try TEFL Internships for a placement in China.
TED’s Tips™ #1: It can be a lot easier than you think to actually get started teaching English abroad. The most difficult part is making the decision to do it.