Are there differences between CELTA, TESOL and TEFL? Also, What Kind of Certification Is Required for You To Teach English Language Abroad?

Are there differences between CELTA, TESOL and TEFL

Most foreigners feel Teaching English language overseas is an option to earning a living abroad. if this is your thought, you may choose to go in search of how best to live oversea with English teaching on google. In order for you to really earn a living teaching English, you must first get yourself acquainted with the various English programs, courses, recruiters and requirements needed for you to teach English in each case.  The many available English programs such as ESL, TEFL, EFL, TESOL, CELTA, etc for foreigners have varying and unique requirements.  This raise confusing question like:

  • Are there differences between CELTA, TESOL and TEFL?
  • Should I take CELTA Instead of TEFL or ESL course to be eligible for jobs?
  • What kind of certification is required for me to teach English language?

Well your questions are normal and common for persons who want to learn about teaching English as option to earn a living overseas. TEFL academy counselors get these kinds of questions frequently and have provided quick and easy to understand explanations to help you with your choice.

First, let’s begin from the basics:

A grip on the core terminology of an English program goes a long way. Using the right terms for your search can help you get the core and cut of unnecessary complicating jargons. So, here are list of acronyms that are frequently used to guide your search for English course teaching choice abroad. Use these acronyms to find that fantastic opportunities that you seek.

  1. ESL - English as a second language

ESL means English as a second language. ESL is English learning/teaching in a country that English language is used as the official language. People who will go for ESL are recent immigrants and foreign exchange study students who have to learn English to be able to communicate. To such people, English is a second language, and it is different from the official language of country where they came from.

  1. tesol2EFL - English as a foreign language

EFL on the other hand, is English education taken in countries where English is NOT the official language. Students who go for EFL are student who want to learn a foreign language from their own countries. They daily speak their countries official language and encounter English only in the classroom.

  1. TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language

TEFL is the popular acronym used for English teaching overseas. Anyone who wants to earn a living from teaching English language overseas would need a “TEFL certification”. TEFL certification is the basic certification that all aspiring English teachers are required to have before applying to teach English in any language school overseas.
Please note this! “TEFL” is not a name for any single company, body, certification, or institution.  Rather, TEFL is an acronym. There are numerous TEFL schools, training programs, and TEFL certification options of degrees. The quality of TEFL degree, duration of study also varies. More needs to be known about choosing a TEFL course or school, check here for 7 things you need to check before choosing a TEFL/TESOL Training School

  1. TESOL – Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

TESOL is like TEFL. TESOL is also a kind of certification that English teacher aspirants need to have before they can put forth employment application to language schools. These two acronyms can be used and are used interchangeably. TESOL typically refers to English teaching to none-native speakers particularly. Being TESOL certified has great benefits in North America. TESOL is commonly used in North America that TEFL when referring to English teaching to foreigners whose native language is not English but are residing in English speaking countries like U.S.

Therefore, if you need a master degree to teach English language in local schools as second language level, TESOL will be a best option of certification to go for. TESOL the domestic English teaching certification common in Australian, Canadian and British English training centers because these countries government has selected TESOL to be used. Unlike in US and Europe, there is no regulated domestic approval on any kind of English teaching certification. So TEFL or TESOL is accepted, but TEFL is most commonly use.

  1. CELTA - Certificate in English Language Teaching to AdultsCELTA is a special aspect in TEFL certification. CELTA is a compressed TEFL training for adult who want to have English language teaching certification.University of Cambridge’s “non-profit assessment organization” and Cambridge English Assessment awards CELTA certification.

CELTA is a short term course of about 4 weeks, which entails intense 120hours TEFL certification training. CELTA providers sometimes give job placement to CELTA certified adults, but note that this job placement is not a must; not very CELTA certified adults are given job offer.

Although I read that having CELTA is important - is this true?

If you have being to ESL site for jobs search, you could have probably seen CELTA/Trinity as a required condition or its equivalent in some schools. When you read CELTA in the stated condition, it does not necessarily mean it is the only required certification, unless when spelt out as the only one the applicants must present. For example, Trinity besides CELTA is a known brand and can be alternative to CELTA. Trinity certification can be obtained from Trinity University in Ireland.

Or maybe you have read in forums or blog articles, or someone mentioned it to you that CELTA is what you need or should have? Well, bluntly speaking, saying that is misleading or misinforming you. It’s like saying you can only get a recognized degree from one particular named college or university. What you actually need is a brand of TEFL certification and there are thousands of them out there. CELTA is just one of them.

Some people on forums only say things that they think is true or is the fact without in-depth research or verifications of their believed notions. Some persons who say CELTA is a must have, may have obtained CELTA and want to show off and make you feel that they have the best and required certification. Just like people who attended good universities like to pose and boast, saying “we are the number 1”!

Also, do not allow bloggers who say “This particular TEFL certification is the best”, to deceive you. Any recognized TEFL-certification brand is worth it. None is higher than the other. Rather your attention should be on how credible and experienced is the school you need to obtain your brand of TEFL certification.

At International TEFL School, we certify about 3000 students or more in a year. These students complete an accredited TEFL that is not particularly CELTA. However, we do offer CELTA classes in Hawaii. Most of our graduates worldwide have obtained lucratively overseas English teaching jobs with our various TEFL certifications in over 80 countries.

Therefore, to say CELTA is the TEFL-certification you should have overseas an English teaching jobs is a false!

CELTA is a widely respected and recognized kind of TEFL certification. But there are some reasons why it possibly will not be the right TEFL for you. As can be obviously seen from the full name, CELTA is exclusively an adult kind of TEFL training. Since only adults can go for CELTA, this implies that CELTA will soon fading away and will become less relevant with time. Lucrative English language job markets overseas may not need CELTA anymore, especially in locations where youths are larger in number compared to adults, as it is in Asia.

A lot of CELTA providers depend majorly on previously attained reputations to serve prospective teachers. Most of these CELTA providers do not give job placement or guidance job search services to those who have just completed the CELTA training. Some only offer local job appointment to assist selected few CELTA grandaunt. It means that, if your CELTA training is in Japan and you want to use your certification for English teaching in Germany, you may not be lucky to get the right guidance for your English job search in your new location. This is because CELTA job assistance is local and not worldwide.

Therefore, you should ask yourself this, “Do I actually want to find my way into the international English teaching job market alone, without a proper guide to success?” if you do not want to do be on your own out there, then, a  CELTA providers that does not offer widespread job assistance is surely not for you.


So What Kind of Certification Should You Go For?

After getting acquainted with English certifications and terminologies, the next natural question most people do ask is “So What Kind of Certification Should You Go For”? is it  Trinity, TEFL, CELTA or TESOL?

The basic acronym on your English certification is not important! You can go for Trinity, TEFL, CELTA or TESOL, but be sure that the particular course you take under any of these named acronyms for English certification is such that meets the international standards. You can compare your chosen course with the course standard set by leading international bodies like the world known British Council. A standard certification course should have:

  • Not less than 100 hours of coursework and training (this is equal to a 4week, full time serious or compressed course),
  • Not less than 6 hours teaching-practice with real ESL students (not- acting students).
  • The course should be taught by university lecturers that are experienced with at least MA in Linguistics, Teaching English as ea foreign language”, or a lecturer with CELTA or broad professional experience in English language teaching and training.
  • The course should make use of accredited curriculum that is externally scrutinized by credible independent organization in English and language teaching field.

Please Note! The price of a TEFL course brand should not be a reason why you change your mind about going the course, because out there, are so many cheap TEFL courses that are far less than the set standards. It is even better to have no English certification training than to go for near to zero standard types, unless you really do not need the certification for English teaching purposes. However, if you wish to use your TEFL certification for teaching lucrative and international teaching jobs, then it is best for you to go for worldwide accredited and recognized  TEFL-certification course of great competitive standards.

Also, ensure to take your TEFL from schools that give complete and widespread job-search help that opens you up to job opportunities, recruiters, and immediate interviews or work. Some schools will has easy visas application guide included in their job search service offers.


 Job placement help and search supervision is an important factor in deciding the exact TEFL course to do

Few Tips for Choosing a TEFL Course

TEFL, CELTA and TESOL and other English certifications can be offered factually in hundreds of schools with different price tags for each course. The general price ranges are between $200 –to- $4,000. Here are few tips that you can use to easily know the proper certification to go for that will worth every penny spent.

  • There are basic mistakes that you should avoid when searching for TEFL school to attend. See the outlined Mistakes to Avoid in your search here
  • Ensure that your course option is of international standards. That is, minimum of 6 hours of real teaching practice using ESL students and 100hours of coursework.
  • Pick a school that offer internationally accredited courses and can assist you in job search by dedicated staff when you complete the training and have obtained your certification
  • Jot down the points about all a good school for TEFL certification should have as read from your search, then put a call through to your chosen school and inquire about all the points that you have jotted down, note the short falls as you call the each of the schools on your list of schools. This will guide you to your proper choice of school. Also add enquiries about visas, job markets available, and hiring seasons to your list of questions to ask each school representatives.
  • When any school representative does not show confidence or stammers about the provided answers to your questions, do not trust such school. A good TEFL training school already knows the required standards and should confidently tell prospective about available guidance services that they offer in addition to TEFL certification training for overseas English teaching.
  • It is best to Talk With an International TEFL School Representative or  Advisor for detailed realistic and straightforward answers oversea teaching and TEFL certification.


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