How to Get TEFL Certification in 2019​

The Definitive Guide

An Easy and Comprehensive Guide To TEFL

This is the ultimate guide to obtaining a TEFL certification in 2019.

Whether you are a complete beginner, or are already on the way up your TEFL game, you’ll find this guide useful.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

The basics

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

How to get a TEFL Certificate

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The TEFL Job Market

Fundamentals about TEFL certificate

What Is TEFL Certification?​

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, although some people refer to it as TESOL, which is Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages. ( Wiki’s explanation about TEFL)

Why Should You Get TEFL Certification?

Anyone who earns their certification within this field will have the ability to teach English abroad in any area of the world.

This certification is required at most schools around the world, as they want to ensure that the teachers that they hire have received the proper training. It is not necessary for a person have prior teaching experience to teach. Yet, everyone who has earned their TEFL certification will have more advantage when applying for jobs teaching English abroad

Do You Need A Degree To Get A TEFL Certificate?

It depends on which country you plan to teach. For most countries (China included), a bachelor degree is required for obtaining a legitimate work visa. However, there still are some countries where you can teach English without a degree, including Cambodia, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rita etc.  

Can I teach English abroad without TEFL?

You might wonder whether having a TEFL is necessary for you to land a teaching job overseas. Well, actually there are three cases  where you don’t need a TEFL certification to teach abroad.

The first scenario is that you have teaching  experiences. If you’re already an experienced teacher, you might not need a TEFL. For example, in China, TEFL is exempted if you have more than two years’ teaching experience supported by reference letter from your school.

In another case, you no longer need TEFL because you have other certifications. Apart from TEFL, you can also get a TESOL  or CELTA , which are pretty much the equivalent of TEFL .

Lastly, it might not apply to most people but some lucky ones get the working visa or a marriage visa that allow them to work in the country already before jumping onto the teaching career, then you don’t really need the TEFL for visa purposes. However, if you are new to teaching, TEFL will help you grasp some teaching concepts and methods quickly, thus helping you get started with your new profession better.  



TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. However, TESOL is most often used when referring to a person who does not speak English yet resides in an English-speaking country. 


CELTA is a certificate in English language teaching to adults, or what nowadays is referred to as the certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages.  

Anyone who takes the CELTA courses will find that their coursework is tedious and difficult, leaving them little time to do anything else but attend class, do their homework, and study.  A CELTA course still has the same one hundred and twenty hours of class time with six hours of student teaching, but the full-time classes are completed in four weeks.

CELTA courses are pricey, with some of them being way more expensive than the TEFL courses.  The hefty price tag is due to the international recognition of this course, as it is part of Cambridge University.  That means that a person with a CELTA certification on their resume may get bumped a little higher up the list than everyone else.  

However, everyone must remember that this is a class geared towards teaching adults.  Anyone who plans on teaching children while in another country will definitely want the TEFL instead.  

The standards that are included in TEFL certification are as follows:

  • Everyone must have at least one hundred hours of coursework
  • Everyone must have a minimum of between six and twenty hours of actual teaching and observation with a non-native English speaker
  • Everyone must have followed an accredited curriculum from an independent and recognized organization within the field of study
  • Everyone must have received instruction from a qualified instructor
  • Everyone should take their TEFL certification course from an accredited organization that provides job search guidance

In general, TEFL certificate is only a starting point giving you overall theories and practices about teaching English to non-native speakers.

The real world experience always comes as a surprise which requires you to constantly rethink and innovate your methods to suit your students’ needs. 

Some people wonder if TEFL courses are worth it.  While some people would answer no to that question, in reality, the answer is yes.  

Your choice of finding a job will be much less if you don’t have a TEFL certification. Even if you locate a position, you might also suffer a pay cut than your peers who have the TEFL certificate.

Having a TEFL certificate not only allows you to easily find a job anywhere you want, at the same time you  do not need to worry about being scammed. The TEFL certificate ensures that a teacher will be approved for a long-term visa and that they can find a good full-time job.  

when and where can you get a tefl certificate

When To Do TEFL?​​

It is best for a person to take a TEFL course as soon as they know that they want to teach English abroad. This will ensure that they have the time to complete the course before they leave or consider looking for a position.  

While a person may be capable of securing a job when they are in the middle of the TEFL course or even before taking a course at all, it will unnecessarily make your waiting period longer before actually working overseas.

Where To Get A TEFL Certificate? Can You Get It Online?​

While it is possible for almost anyone to get their TEFL certification, no one needs to get it the same way. In fact, there are two options for earning a TEFL certification, you can get it either in-class or through online courses.

They each require the same amount of time to complete, approximately one hundred and twenty hours. You can finish within just a few weeks and then speed up your overseas teaching agenda, or do it over the span of a few months if you are busy with other commitments.  

What are some good websites for researching TEFL?

There are numerous TEFL program options available, so everyone is encouraged to do their research to find the one that will best meet their needs. 

As stated, there are numerous TEFL programs available around the world. Anyone looking for an in-class experience will want to do some research on the International TEFL AcademyMaximo Nivel, the International TEFL and TESOL Training, and Oxford Seminars. Each one has unique features and most people can find exactly what they need through these four. 

Anyone that prefers spending their time learning online also has a plethora of options. However, most people will want to check out Premier TEFLi-to-i TEFL, and the University of Toronto for their online needs.

All three of these TEFL programs can be designed to fit a student’s individual needs, allowing them the time to finish the course with their current schedule.

For more unbiased comparison and reviews, you can also further dig into review websites such as Trusted TEFL Reviews and best online TEFL

What’s the difference between in-class course and online course?

In-Class TEFL Training

Anyone that wants to take the in-class training for TEFL certification will find that they can take the classes anywhere in the world. 

This means that people who want to start their travel adventure immediately can go where they want to live for the next few months or years and take the course there. That option can make it much easier for anyone to obtain a job in the place where they want to live. 

Of course, there are other benefits of in-class TEFL certification and they include the fact that people will have practical experience in classroom settings. Students are able to practice teaching in the front of the classroom using their peers as the students. 

This preparation is necessary for those who may not be comfortable being in the limelight at the front of the room. 

Online TEFL Training

You can also get  your TEFL certificate online, this is quite practical for those who are testing their options before leaving their full-time jobs or moving somewhere else in the world. 

The online classes will allow students to do the work in their spare time and they never need to leave the comforts of their home. This option is also perfect for those who are traveling around the world and stopping at different destinations along the way.

They may be looking for the perfect place to live for a few years and won’t stop traveling until they find what they are looking for. 

That type of lifestyle can be difficult for taking traditional classroom courses, but it is perfect for online courses that can be taken anywhere that a person is currently located. 

How Much Is A TEFL Certification? ​

The online courses are also more affordable, which is great for anyone who cannot afford hefty tuition payments now or in the future. No one needs to worry about practicing interacting with anyone during their online classes, as there are often mentors available to video chat at scheduled times. 

There is really no difference in the classes, as the same material is covered whether a person takes the course online or in-class. 

As mentioned above, the online classes are often cheaper with a cost of a few hundred dollars.

The in-class options are pricier with a cost of a couple thousand dollars, but everyone must remember that they can get more hands-on experience in a classroom setting. 

Online Course Pricing Comparison:​

Depending on your own pace, you can get the TEFL  certificate from online course from 4 weeks to 8 weeks.

Course Duration
Price Range
International TEFL Academy
170 hours
University of Toronto
120 hours
120 hours
120 hours
Medium – Low
120 hours
Medium – Low

How to choose a TEFL course?

Choosing a TEFL course is not always easy, which is why we have created this helpful step by step guide to help everyone find the one that is best for them!

Here are the 5 steps everyone should follow when choosing a TEFL course:

how to choose a tefl certification

Not everyone wants to sit in a classroom for the TEFL course, but not everyone wants to take the online version either.  Thankfully, as we mentioned above, both are available. All a person needs to do is decide which one is best for their current needs.

Once a person knows where they want to do their learning, they will then need to consider the amount of time that they have available to spend for their TEFL certificate.  It may be so easy for a person to simply choose the TEFL course with the fewest number of hours, but that is the worst thing that they can do. Almost all employers want their TEFL certified employees to have at least one hundred and twenty hours of learning completed.  Any less, and a person will find that their chances of getting hired are drastically reduced. That means that they wasted their time with that TEFL course, and they need to start all over again.

Each TEFL course has different requirements, which means that a person needs to be aware of what they are before they sign up for the course.  Some TEFL courses only require a person to be over the age of eighteen and have a high school diploma, while others will want everyone to have a college degree.  

Everyone has their own reasons for why they want to teach English in a foreign country, and they need to know those reasons before signing up for a TEFL course.  Some courses are better than others when it comes to teaching in certain countries, so a person will want to take a course that will give them the best chance at teaching in the country of their dreams.  

Each TEFL course has a different price tag, but that doesn’t mean that the highest priced one is going to be the best option.  While it would make sense that the highest priced TEFL course would offer more than the cheapest one, that is not always the case.  Sometimes the price of the courses is determined by whether they are completed online or in a classroom, while the location of the classroom can also be a major factor.  Tuition for TEFL courses in North America run between $2,200 and $2,800, while they are between $1,500 and $2,100 in Latin America. Europe has a few options that fall under $2,000, but they also have TEFL courses that cost upwards of $5,000 or more. 

Are TEFL teachers in demand?

English is one of the most important languages in the world with more than 1.5 billion people speaking English and a further billion or so are trying to learn.

That’s why, teaching language in any non-English speaking country right now is on a massive popularity streak and is in high demand. So much so, that you could get paid whilst travelling by teaching English. Teaching English is even listed as the number one option for getting paid to travel on Business Insider!

Once you get your TEFL certificate, you are closer to start getting paid while experiencing another culture and travel the world!

How much can TEFL teachers earn?

Every area of the world has their own pay rate and some places pay more than others.

 It is possible for some teachers to earn enough between their pay, free rent, and other benefits that they can save hundreds of dollars each month depending on where they are teaching. 

Teachers in China can earn anywhere from $1,200 per month up to $2,500 per month and their rent is normally included as well.  That allows them to pay only for their food and necessities, which means that they can save the remainder of what they earn. 

The same holds true in countries like Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan, as teachers earn far more than that of what they spend each month. 

It is slightly different over in Cambodia, where teachers earn an average of $1,000 per month. Those teachers need to pay their own rent and tend to break even once they have purchased what they need each month. 

Other countries that teachers will find themselves breaking even in include Spain and Thailand

Once the door in the TEFL world is open for you, your possibilities are endless!

TEFL Teacher Salary Around the World:

The lower range of every spectrum of the salary will normally be the starting point of your salary, and if you are looking at the higher range, you either have to have a few years teaching experiences, or jump to a new position after you’ve been teaching in the country for a while.

Cost of Living
Czech Republic
South Korea
$200 ~$500
United Arab Emirates

*Data source: numbeo, expatistan and TEFLonline

Now that everyone knows the basics of TEFL certification and understands that it is not that expensive or difficult to get, it is time to do some research and start the classes.

After all, who wouldn’t like to live overseas while making a difference in a student’s life and earning money at the same time!

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