What Is TEFL Certification? Here’s What You Need To Know!

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If you love the English language and want to change people’s lives, teaching English abroad is an excellent way to do that. This international language is also one of the world’s fastest-spreading languages that many international businesses depend on for communicating with clients and associates across borders.

People also regularly use it to communicate with others when they are out shopping, traveling, dining, entertaining at home, and more.

As a result, more students across the globe want to learn English, increasing the demand for English teachers.

Before setting off to teach English to the masses, you must understand that speaking and teaching English are vastly different. As a native speaker, you’ll enjoy a few advantages, but you must also receive relevant training and qualifications to ensure a rewarding and powerful teaching experience.

Most importantly, you will need the TEFL certification to help you get paid to teach English abroad. But what is TEFL certification? How much does it cost? What are its benefits? I answer these questions and more to guide you in your teaching journey and help you get your TEFL certificate.

What Does TEFL Stand For?

What is TEFL? TEFL is an abbreviation for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This globally recognized entry-level qualification allows certificate holders to teach the English language to non-native speakers.

It also goes by the following names:

  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
  • English Language Teaching (ELT)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Your TEFL certificate will come in handy when you try to secure a job teaching the English language overseas or online. It shows that you are professionally trained to teach the language and meet TEFL’s internationally recognized standards.

What Are the Different Types of TEFL Qualifications?

Here are a few common types of TEFL courses you can use to be certified as an English teacher:

The 120-hour TEFL/TESOL Certification Course

The 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL course stands as one of the most sought-after course formats available. The driving force behind its popularity lies in the requirement of a minimum of 100 training hours set by most schools.

Incorporating a comprehensive array of top-notch materials (ready for print), this course leads to an internationally acknowledged certification embraced by employers across the globe.

Breaking down the 120-hour course into 20 units, each thoughtfully selected and structured, ensures a gradual accumulation of knowledge without overwhelming learners with excessive information at once. The true beauty of this course is its flexibility—study at your own pace from anywhere on the planet, all within a six-month timeframe to complete.

Upon successfully wrapping up the course, ITTT goes the extra mile by aiding in securing a teaching position.

Enroll using my link to snag a generous 20% discount!

The 220-hour TEFL/TESOL Master Package

The 220-hour TEFL/TESOL Master Package emerges as a standout contender among top-notch TEFL courses available. It presents the ultimate solution for aspiring educators, encapsulating three courses seamlessly into one comprehensive package, all accessible through online platforms and offered with the choice of full tutor support or without:

Component 1: 120-hour TEFL course Component 2: 50-hour course focusing on business English (CTBE) Component 3: 50-hour course centered around teaching English to young learners (CTEYL)

With a price tag of just $399 (total value: $899) for the guided version and $349 (total value: $589) for the self-paced variant, this bundled course package indisputably offers unparalleled value for your teacher training journey.

Seal the deal today and enjoy a generous 20% discount off the course fees!

More TEFL/TESOL Course Options

Best TEFL Course for New Teachers120-hour online TEFL/TESOL course

Best TEFL Course for Certified Teachers50-hour CTBE course and 50-hour CTEYL course

Best TEFL Course for Career Seekers: 250-hour TESOL Diploma Course

Best TEFL Course for Teaching English Online: 170-hour Teaching English as a Foreign Language with Online Specialization

Best Overall TEFL Course220-hour TEFL/TESOL Master Package

Read more details in my blog post detailed the 10 Best TEFL Courses for Teaching English Abroad or Online!

How Much Does TEFL Cost?

There are three different ways to get TEFL certified:

  • Taking a home-based on-site program
  • Attending an online course
  • Getting a certification abroad

These options offer various benefits and disadvantages. They are also priced differently.

The least expensive option is to take an online course which typically costs $300 to $500. On-site programs are slightly more expensive, often ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.

Getting certified abroad is more challenging and expensive. This route will cost a minimum of a few thousand dollars in addition to travel and accommodation expenses. But the plus point of earning your TEFL certificate in an immersive setting—educationally and culturally—may make the extra cost worth it.

A TEFL certificate can help you land a paid internship overseas, offsetting your initial investment.

Benefits of TEFL Certification

Becoming a TEFL-certified English teacher has many advantages:

Enhanced Teaching Skills

A TEFL certificate gives you the tools and resources to improve your English language teaching skills. It also helps you teach students from various backgrounds. This helps you provide a more engaging classroom experience for you and your students so they learn better.


Many English teaching jobs, including those offered by TEFL certification schools and agencies like the International TEFL Academy, require a TEFL certificate. So, having one will give you a competitive edge in the job market and make you more attractive to recruiters.

Global Job Opportunities

The best part about getting a TEFL certificate is you become eligible to teach English overseas to global students. It also allows you to travel abroad and satisfy your wanderlust.

Confidence in the Classroom

TEFL certification programs offer hands-on training that involves teaching English students in real life. It helps you gain practical experience, build an arsenal of lesson planning tips, as well as learn classroom management and teaching methodologies while improving your confidence as an English teacher.

Higher Earning Potential

A TEFL certificate helps you secure well-paying jobs as an English teacher instead of having to choose low-paying or volunteer positions.

Cultural Immersion

Teaching English is more than just grammar and vocabulary—it also covers phonetics and speaking styles. Certification helps you immerse yourself and your students into local cultures by mastering idioms, expressions, and accents.

Moreover, when you travel abroad to teach English, you will discover other cultures and lifestyles, making TEFL certification attractive for culture vultures.

TEFL also offers handy resources that can help you manage the transition to a life overseas. It provides training in cultural sensitivity so you can effectively communicate with your students and peers.

Personal Development

Besides improving your teaching skills and exposing you to different global cultures, TEFL also helps you build skills in the following areas:

  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal

Cultivating these abilities will enhance and aid your personal development.

Networking Opportunities

TEFL offers a fantastic opportunity to meet other people who are also working toward their TEFL certificates. Most TEFL programs have a small group of trainees, allowing you to connect with them and discover diverse perspectives and cultures.

These networking opportunities can also help you befriend someone who is going to the same country as you, giving you extra support and confidence as you navigate new lands.

Opportunity To Make a Difference

A TEFL certificate will help you make a positive impact on people’s lives. A 2019 Wall Street English survey reported that 18% of participants who learned English experienced increased happiness at work. Meanwhile, 12% said they felt generally happier while 50% of English speakers reported that their language skills led to a 25% jump in earnings.

Preparation for Future Teaching Roles

TEFL allows you to improve your proficiency and fluency by giving you constant exposure to the English language. It also gives you experience abroad which imparts valuable professional skills for teaching roles in the future and helps potential employers take notice of you.

Tips for Choosing the Right TEFL Certification Program

Now that you’re ready to take a TEFL course, here are a few tips to help you select an excellent certification program:

Accreditation and Recognition

Look for accreditation and recognition when researching the best courses. Non-accredited courses typically do not fulfill the basic quality standards required by employers and offer low-quality education. So, you may not get hired by reputable schools even after completing a program with a non-accredited provider.

An accredited TEFL certificate offers professional-level training that will make you eligible for a TEFL position globally while improving your job opportunities.

Program Content and Curriculum

The best TEFL programs help you master theory and practice by offering enough course content and teaching practice hours. Pick a program with a minimum of 100 training hours and six hours of teaching practice.

Experienced and Qualified Instructors

The course you choose must have qualified university-level instructors on board to help you receive high-quality training. They must possess at least a master’s degree in TESOL or a similar field as well as extensive TEFL and teacher-training experience.

Alumni Feedback and Reviews

Check out feedback and reviews from a course’s alumni to help you understand their learning experience and how it benefited them.

Linda’s Tip: International TEFL & TESOL Training (ITTT)

When I decided to move to South Korea to teach English in 2015, I took my TEFL/TESOL courses through International TEFL & TESOL Training (ITTT).

ITTT has different TEFL/TESOL courses you can take online or in-class. You can pick the one that suits you, whether you’re just starting or you already teach and want to learn more.

When you finish your course, you get a hard-copy certificate that says you’re qualified to teach English. That certificate works everywhere, so you can teach in different countries or even online!

ITTT has graduated nearly 200,000 teachers from around the world. They all care about helping you connect with people through language. If you want to teach English and make friends from different places, ITTT is where you can start.

You can save 20% on all TEFL or TESOL courses from ITTT when applying via my link.


What is a TEFL certificate? TEFL equips you to teach English to non-native speakers worldwide and secure a teaching position anywhere.If you liked reading this post on “What is a TEFL certification?” check out my comprehensive guide to teaching English in Asia or learn about the best places to teach English in Asia.

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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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