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Guide to TEFL

Teaching abroad is an awesome way to see the world, work overseas, and give back to local communities. Teaching English, specifically, has become one of the most popular ways to teach around the world.

As a result, however, the barrier to entry is stronger and the competition is fierce. Subsequently, travelers with TEFL teaching certifications have an advantage over other candidates.

If you want to teach abroad, one of the best ways to secure an international assignment is to take a TEFL certification course that will train you and provide access to teaching opportunities around the world.

A reputable course can:

  • Expand your network with key players
  • Introduce you to friends and fellow teachers who will share the same career journey with you
  • Offer you extended support during the job search.

But how do you choose the right course for you? With so many options advertised on discount listings, travel sites, and across the web, how can you be sure you’ve paid for a trusted program?

Teach abroad candidates (and recruiters!) trust reputable sites like Go Overseas to research and vet TEFL courses, as well as provide expert articles about getting your TEFL certification to teach English overseas.

We’ve created a database of online, in-class, and accredited certification courses that will help you gain the teaching credentials you need.

Necessity

Whether you are considering an online or in-person TEFL/TESOL certification course or an accredited CELTA (Certificate In English Language Teaching to Adults) certification, the question still lies therein: is TEFL certification really necessary to teach abroad?

Technically, you don’t need to be certified to teach abroad. However, those who aren’t certified end up with very limited options. Some would also say that teaching overseas with no academic background or teaching certification is a serious disservice to your students -- and many schools (and countries) will not even consider you as a teaching candidate without it.

TEFL certifications aren’t just a piece of paper. The courses include in-depth training to help you better lesson plan and instruct, not to mention providing hands on teaching experience to add to your resume. Read this teacher’s thoughts on whether a TEFL certificate is worth it.

Costs

TEFL certificate courses can cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the provider and course duration. Some schools and language programs may even offer to pay for your TEFL certification if you agree to teach at their school (though, those schools reportedly pay much less in salary).

You can expect to pay nearly $2,000 if you want to be TEFL certified from a reputable program.

Though other programs may advertise cheaper, discount classes, be sure to review the fine print closely, as those courses may not meet the hour minimum or accreditation requirements of the school you want to teach at.

Choosing Your Course

With an abundance of TEFL course choices available, the options can feel overwhelming. Between fine print, accreditation information, and fees, how do you know what to look for when selecting a good TEFL certificate course? Here are a few key elements to consider when choosing the right TEFL certification course for you:

To learn more about what to look out for when choosing a TEFL certificate course, review our expert guide to selecting a top-level TEFL certification.

Degrees

College degree: Certain countries prefer to hire teachers with a college degree (and some even require it) but not all. Luckily, TEFL certificate programs do not require a degree to take the course and can be used to supplement a degree when applying for teaching jobs in many countries. All you have to do is speak native English or demonstrate advanced English-speaking skills.

If you are seeking a TESOL or CELTA certification course, however, you may be required to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. This certification prerequisite varies per program.

Masters degree: While a four-year degree may be required in many high-paying schools and countries (like Qatar, Japan, the UAE, Korea, and Saudi Arabia), other countries have more lax education laws and hire teachers who don’t have a college degree at all -- let alone, a master’s degree.

Absence of a graduate or Master’s degree in teaching English as a foreign language will not prevent you from securing a job abroad. Having one, however, will definitely help you access bigger opportunities! For teach abroad candidates seeking extensive international experience and high pay, a Master’s degree is definitely worth it.

How Go Overseas Works

Go Overseas is the Yelp/Trip Advisor of abroad programs: here you can browse and discover high school abroad programs to your heart's delight. Just like a trusted travel buddy, we want to help you find the right information and feel excited and confident about your first or next culturally immersive trip overseas. We know sometimes having an abundance of options can be overwhelming, so we have a few tips on how to use Go Overseas to find the perfect transformative travel program for you.

  1. Browse 16,000+ programs: Narrow your search results by using filters, such as program type, location, and length.

  2. Read 35,000+ Reviews: Real people have gone on these programs, and have experiences to share. Read alumni reviews on any program that interests you to get an idea of what it's really like to be on the ground, overseas.

  3. Read 5,700+ Interviews: For any program that really sparks your interest, read personal stories and in-depth accounts from travelers like you. If you'd like to reach out and hear more from the traveler who left an interview, let us know and we'll help connect you.

  4. Browse community photos: Pictures of food, accommodations, adventures, and people (oh, the friends you'll make!) in program community galleries will help you visualize yourself abroad.

  5. Wish List 💙: Not ready to commit to a program? Click the Wish List heart icon to bookmark programs and save them for later. Then, compare programs side by side.

What kind of course would you like to take?

Online Course

Online Courses

Earn your TEFL certificate online and use it to unlock a world of teaching opportunities around the world.

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TEFL/TESOL

TEFL Certificate

Choose between TEFL certification options like TEFL and TESOL to find the career path that's right for you.

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CELTA

CELTA Certificate

A CELTA course will train you to teach English anywhere around the world, accredited by Cambridge University.

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Shutoon English Center, Zhuhai China
María Ignacia Culell
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My name is María, I'm from Argentina and I'm living and working in China. I came to Asia as a traveler interested in discovering a country that had always seemed surprising and intriguing for me. I...
A  Successful Class is a Happy Class
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This course beat my expectation. Yes, I had to handle a lot of new content, but it was kept manageable within four weeks. The other students here came from all ages and many walks of life, making this...
Tank you
Gbadamori Yemisi
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I want to say a big THANK YOU to ITT for helping me to get certified, because I was totally new at this teaching English as a foreign language thing, with no experience whats so ever. Because of this...
Where we do our studies in the beautiful library.
Katie Ray
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I had the most amazing experience with TEFL Iberia! Everyone from the staff to the teachers were happy to help in any way possible. Picking to do my studies in Barcelona was the best decision as well....

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