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What is a TESOL certificate, who needs it, and how to get it


Thinking of teaching English abroad and travelling around the globe, you couldn't miss the most popular acronyms as TEFL, TESOL, and TESL. And one of the following questions is, "What do they mean?" Most of the employers worldwide use those terms interchangeably, despite, they are different. Before we figure such difference out, you should know that all of them are quite valuable for teaching English, especially overseas. So, if you are looking for a way on how to make your dreams come true, this is the perfect article.

In order to have a legal right to teach people in other countries, you should have some documents. As usual, it boils down to international teaching certificate such as TEFL, TESOL, or TESL, language skills, working experience, and a bachelor's degree. While you can get a job having no experience at all, it's absolutely impossible without the other requirements. Everything takes time, but, when it comes to getting international certification in teaching, it doesn't take too long to get it. Keep reading this article to know everything about TESOL certificate and take the first step towards teaching abroad.


What is TESOL?

In order to become more advanced in understanding ESL and EFL terms, let's break it down. TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, which includes both types of countries, the English-speaking and the non-English speaking. Having this, you prove your competence to teach people of different ages in any place in the world. It is one of the most respected and recognized certificates in teaching. Moreover, it may even compensate the lack of experience, when it comes to applying for a job.

As TESOL includes many options, it allows to teach online and offline in any institution depending on your academic credentials. If you still hesitate what the other courses are for, let's dive dipper to know the difference. It will help you to make the right choice in terms of knowledge you need to work in a certain country. Don't worry if you haven't decided it yet, it won't limit your choice. On the contrary, it will make all possible opportunities to teach people anywhere clear.


The difference between TEFL, TESL, and TESOL

While these terms are used interchangeably, there is still a subtle difference. It doesn't influence many factors except one — the location. As TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language, it includes teaching people in such countries as China, Vietnam, and Thailand. You see the common denominator? The list may be added only with those countries where English isn't the official language.

As for TESL, it's almost similar to TEFL with a tiny remark, Teaching English as a second language allows to teach people in English-speaking countries such as Ireland, Australia, the UK, the USA. In other words, having TEFL you may consider mostly Asian countries, whereas having TESL allows you to choose most of the Western ones. Fortunately, there is no necessity to make such a tough decision. Thanks to TESOL, which perfectly combines both types of teaching, ESL and EFL, English teachers don't have to choose a country depending on the official language. Such certificate makes teaching worldwide possible. It's amazing, isn't it?


Who needs the TESOL certificate and why?

Everyone who plans to teach English must have either TEFL or TESOL qualification, but the best way to have both. There is fat chance that you will get a cushy job having nothing but high English level. Each year the amount of English learners drastically grows, so, it comes with no surprise that there is a competitive labor market. If you don't fit the list of requirements, then another candidate does. Obviously, it's better to be locked and loaded beforehand. In other words, if you know that teaching is your call, make sure to devote enough time to studying a TESOL course.

Even if you have no wish to leave your hometown, this certificate will help you to get promotion and find a school with decent work conditions. It is helpful to know that even if you are a newcomer, you have something to impress a potential employer showing that you are a worthy applicant. Usually, it takes a few months to complete the course. Most of the employers require having at least 120 hours of TEFL/TESOL course. It's the minimum you must get to know essentials about teaching, managing class, and planning lessons. Let's break down things you will learn during a TESOL course.


What is included in the TESOL course program?

The TESOL course program and topics may change from provider to provider, however, there are some fundamental things. As a potential professional tutor you must have a high English level to understand all authentic materials, so no one but you are responsible for it. You should know that a TESOL course doesn't explain how to teach each English grammar rule, it provides some approaches, which will help you to explain any topic in English to your students.

The essential topics in a TESOL course:

  • teaching receptive skills such as listening and reading;
  • teaching productive skills such as speaking and writing;
  • the most effective learning approaches;
  • classroom management;
  • providing feedback;
  • adapting teaching materials;
  • making lesson plans;
  • online teaching.

The point is to teach you how to communicate with your students effectively. Depending on the age of your class, there are different ways of catching students' attention, so you must be ready to change your teaching style with each class you have. It isn't so complicated as it seems. The more time you spend on practice, the easier it will be to apply in a real class.

Thanks to the fame of online education, there is a huge section about it in any TESOL course. So, it isn't necessary to become a typical school teacher if you don't want to. TESOL course will make you ready to adapt your lessons whether you teach online or offline.


How to get a TESOL certificate?

As soon as you have decided to get TESOL certified, you need to choose a way of studying. The good news is there are many types of TESOL courses. The bad news is everything boils down to money. For instance, it costs an arm and a leg to study abroad, but this is hands down incredible experience. On the contrary, online education is one of the most affordable. Before making any decisions think of how much money you are ready to spend on getting certification. The second question is how long you can study or whether you want to combine it with a part-time job. These factors are important, and nobody but you know these answers.


In-class TESOL course

Such training fits you if you need to have classroom surroundings to stay focused. In that case you have classmates to talk to and tutors to turn to. Most of the people prefer it, because of a possibility to communicate with people in-person. Taking into account the fact that such course takes from 6 to 8 hours a day within four weeks, it's hard to combine it with a part-time job. So, be ready to devote all your free time to studying. If you are lucky, you can find such accredited educational centers in your hometown, which means you won't have to spend a fortune on studying.


Getting TESOL abroad

Being wealthy, you may afford to learn TESOL abroad, which is an amazing opportunity. Almost all countries in the world offer TESOL courses that last from 2 to 4 weeks of classroom studying. It requires having a bachelor's degree and the certification that proves high English level. The price depends on the country and the institution, however it starts from $1,000 for the course. Don't forget to take into account such expenses as accommodation, flight tickets, and food. It's likely that you won't be able to do anything else but learning. So, you also have to have a vacation during the course. It definitely costs an arm and a leg, but if you are ready to splurge, go for it!


Online studying

Online learning is one of the most convenient and affordable ways of studying. You can have lessons whenever you want, reading lectures or watching educational videos at any time. You always have a chance to revise some complicated topics to comprehend them better. Also, online way doesn't exclude having practice. Some TESOL courses provide opportunities to practice all skills with real students or write lesson plans according to suggested class. Anyway, you will get rational feedback from a professional tutor. There is also a way to have a nice virtual chat with classmates to talk about some difficulties on your path. In comparison with previous ways of getting TESOL, online studying requires neither certificates nor a degree to enroll in the course.


How to choose quality TESOL courses?

There are so many TESOL courses that it seems to be difficult to choose the only. Moreover, as we know, the course must be well-structured providing essential topics to learn. However, it isn't enough to look through course curriculum to make sure that it is decent and trustworthy. As TESOL course doesn't have the common accrediting body, as CELTA or TKT, it is making the choice even more confusing. In order to know that you will get official international certificate, which will be respected and recognized worldwide, let's break down what is really important to know about TESOL.

There are some factors you should pay attention to before enrolling in the course:

  • duration;
  • accreditation;
  • feedback;
  • tutor and employment support.

As for the course length, there are many TESOL providers that offer crash-courses to study. Firstly and more importantly, we know that the duration less than 120 hours doesn't make any sense. Not only doesn't it help to get a job, you won't even be qualified enough. So, be careful with those who promise you to save some time on TESOL course, if the course takes one day to complete it, it's a red flag.

Accreditation is important factor which proves that your certificate is official and eligible. Otherwise, you take a risk to get a false certificate, which won't make any sense for potential employers. The good news is accreditation it is something you can easily check by yourself. You just need to do some research. Check, whether the external accrediting body is famous around the globe. Find as more information as you can. The company that has nothing to hide will provide all necessary documents about accreditation at your request.

Needless to say, how significant it is to get support and feedback from professionals during the course. It raises your chances to digest information better and put it into practice. Moreover, it's an additional way for you whether the company is trustworthy. Check out its website to know what it does to help teachers with learning. As a teacher, you must know that materials and textbooks aren't enough to excel in learning languages. People appreciate personal approach and help.



As you see, having TESOL certification gives as experienced as newcomers equal opportunities to realize their potential and expand professional horizons. It's cheaper and faster than getting the second degree in teaching. If you are attentive enough, probably, you have noticed that some companies offer employment assistance after the course completion. It means, you won't be alone and abandoned in searching job. It will simplify making resume and applying process, so you will easily find a cushy job for a month.

Getting TESOL isn't a piece of cake, as well as learning English, but as you know, it's quite possible. Fortunately, it won't take much time and money, but it requires your focus, desire, efforts. Once you get TESOL certified, you will be able to travel around being sure that you can easily get a job anywhere. At least there is something stable in any unforeseen circumstances.

We hope, we encouraged you to enrol in online TEFL/TESOL course.

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